Canine Spine: Level II Module 3


Module 3 is a compulsory part of the Level II pathway. It includes functional anatomy, mechanics, relevant pathological and orthopaedic analysis (and differential diagnosis) with osteopathic considerations and testing. Successful completion leads to a Certificate of Completion from the AOI – when taken in isolation or as part of the Level II Diploma in Osteopathic Approach to the Canine Patient, which is internally validated by the ESO.

This page contains of lot of information. All of which you MUST read if you are serious about applying. This shortcut list is just for ease, for those seeking quick answers to key questions:

  • The module covers the canine spine and all its associated anatomy, introduction to paces and biomechanics and pathological/orthopaedic considerations. It also covers osteopathic considerations and appropriate testing;
  • It is a Level II module;
  • It is open to osteopaths and non-osteopaths with the necessary skills and qualifications;
  • It includes an online element AND a 1.5 day practicum in the UK;
  • You must complete ALL aspects to be given a completion certificate;
  • There will be assessments – theory and practical;
  • You will need to come to the UK for the practicum;
  • It costs £475 for 1.5 days of high quality practical plus all online content, assessments and certification. Flexible payment options are available.

As a result of COVID 19 and its effects on everyone, we have reviewed our educational strategy. This means that the Level II pathway, will be delivered online and (where applicable) via dual modality (with practicums).  Under the new format, students may apply to one module at a time or they can study the online elements of all compulsory elements and then come to the UK for one consolidated practicum, which would run over 2 weeks plus two days with two weekends in between for respite and revision. This radically reduces flight costs for international  students. Successful completion of the compulsory Level II pathway leads to a Diploma in Osteopathic Approach to the Canine Patient, internally validated by the ESO.

Who can apply for the Level II Diploma Pathway):

This course is for any AOI level I (or past equivalent) graduate or experienced canine osteopaths. It is also open to physiotherapists/chiropractors and veterinary/animal therapy professionals, who fulfil all level II entry criteria. In addition, all applicants must have successfully completed Modules 1 and 2 of this pathway. A conversion course is available for those wishing to enter level II modules directly, but have not followed the AOI’s level one programme. Please click HERE for more information. Proof of prior experience and education is essential (without exception). All delegates should provide evidence of insurance, which allows them to study/work on/with animals.

Level II Pathway Students – Prerequisites for application

Attendees who want to attend the Full Level II Pathway (with an intention of attaining certification, must have successfully completed one of the following:

  • AOI’s Canine Level I – MCP pathway (no other pathway considered); or
  • AOI’s Level (or Stage) I CPD courses – condensed or standards; or
  • The ESO Canine Foundation Course; or
  • Have provided AOI with mapped evidence of existing knowledge base with proof of certification from another educational provider.

Level II applicants must only start Level II modules if they can guarantee they have the following as a minimum:

  • A solid musculoskeletal and biomechanical knowledge of the canine model;
  • Sound competence in the canine musculoskeletal assessment process;
  • Sound competence in the canine musculoskeletal treatment process (articulation, stretching and soft tissue);
  • An ability to critically consider common orthopaedic conditions;
  • An ability to critically reflect upon one’s own limitations and work with other veterinary practitioners where required.
  • An unquestionable ability to know the indications and contraindications of treatment and when an animal should be seen by a vet with immediate effect.

Application Notice:

If you apply for the Level II Pathway, informing us that you are up to the required standard, and during your studies, your grades, theoretical and/or technical skills indicate that you are not, we will require that you  put your Level II learning on hold and undertake the appropriate Level I modules before continuing. This is simply to guide the student accordingly, so successful completion is more likely. No refunds will be made for the modules that you have or are completing at the time. As such, please ensure that you apply for the right level and do not “up-sell” yourself, to bypass Level I. Doing so could be costly and is not professional. We will always do our very best to support your journey, but we do expect all applicants to be open and honest about their level of competence.

What is dual modality?

Dual modality is simply a term used to describe a course that has two forms of delivery: Online and face to face practicums.

Why study Module 3?

Below you will see the answer we give when students ask what the difference is between osteopaths is another manual therapists. The benefit of this module, in particular, is highlighted in the example below, because the better your understanding of functional anatomy and orthopaedic pathology, the greater your ability to extend your scope of differential diagnosis and therefore your working hypothesis. Ultimately, this means that you will be able to treat a wider audience of patient because you’ll learn to think outside the box; assessing and critically appraising all aspect of the case and any associated factors.

Prerequisites to Module 3

Students can undertake this module as part of the Compulsory Level II Pathway which leads to a Diploma in Osteopathic Approach to the Canine Patient. As such, the prerequisite to this course is to have successfully completed the Level I Pathway (or have evidenced that you are already of Level I standard) and that you have completed Module 1 and 2 at Level II. This is because each module leads neatly on from one to the another encouraging autonomous thinking, criticality and a self reflective mind. All of which are important in the clinical setting. We also reiterate at this stage of learning, that any student who attends this course, must have maintained their anatomical knowledge. This is to ensure accuracy of technique and thus, safety of all those you treat. If you cannot recall your canine anatomy easily, we would urge you to do so in advance of this module. 

AOI will not be held responsible for costs incurred as a result of student naïveté. As a professional we expect you to do all the necessary research BEFORE booking any dual modality course – especially if you are coming into the UK as an international visitor.

When is Module 3 likely to be released?

Module 3 is likely to be released as a dual modality course in the first quarter of 2021. However, as this module makes up the COMPULSORY element of the Level Two Pathway (for those wanting to achieve Level II Diploma status). This module is only open to those on the Level II Pathway. As such, it will be released when students are nearing the end of their Module 2 studies. Please note: International students who are wishing to consolidate their Level II practicums (to reduce travel costs), may do so, but this must be agreed at the start of educational circuit. This means that a student could fulfil the online elements of Modules 1-6 and then come to the UK for all the practicums and module 7, which (in total) will be run over a two week and two day period (with 2 weekend breaks in between). 

  • Advanced functional canine spinal anatomy and biomechanics (cervical, thoracic, ribs, lumbar, caudal and sacral),
  • Common canine spinal orthopaedic/pathological conditions,
  • Advanced tissue specific palpation to enhance your assessment of the canine spine
  • Advanced testing of the spine (joint, muscle, ligament, tendon) to enhance your assessment of the canine spine
  • Understanding your spinal findings and drawing conclusions to enhance the creation of high quality and effective treatment and management protocols
  • High practical content with demonstrations and practical,
  • Low student to dog ratio (1 between every 2-3 students),
  • Low tutor to student ratio (maximum 1:9 students).

Total number of study hours (to include: all taught online content, 1.5 x practical day, assessment, assignment and self-directed study): 48 hours
Price:  £475.00 (flexible payment options available).

What is the difference between osteopaths and other manual therapists?

Many people ask what the difference is between an osteopath and other manual therapists. One of the core answers is the way we think and what we do with the information that we attain from the dog, owner and other professionals. For example, an osteopath might come up with the same working hypothesis as another manual therapists, but, if an osteopath concludes that the reason behind the pattern of pathological disease or dysfunction is caused by external factors – such as external stressors instigated by the owner (or its environment), the osteopath would work as hard to change that factor – via education or referral, as they would to treat the symptoms. This is because osteopaths understand the basis of functional medicine, which is, that everything (from within or from without) can cause dis-ease. One fine example of this is the cortisol reaction caused by stress and all the physical symptoms that occur as a result (weight gain, heart pathology, diabetes etc.). As such, true osteopaths believe that treating nothing more than the site of pain (or dysfunction) is merely patching up the symptoms, it is not treating the “whole” patient nor the CAUSE of the dis-ease. This module will teach you how to evaluate a patient’s “whole picture” and what to do with the information. It’s also an immensely useful module to review as your depth of knowledge increases. This is because the more you know about canine medicine and anatomy, the greater the field of opportunity to be a truly osteopathic practitioner. We hope you enjoy!


Those who successfully complete this module will be awarded a digital AOI Certificate of Completion. Students who go on to complete ALL compulsory modules of Level II successfully, will be issued with a Level II Diploma in Osteopathic Approach to the Canine Patient internally validated by European School of Osteopathy.

Practical session requirements:

Students must also have the capacity to come to the UK for the practical sessions and assessments. Without this, no certification will be issued. As such, student require both the time and financial resources to attend the UK based practicum within 24 months of their commencement of the Diploma Pathway. Consequently, Diploma Pathway students will be given first refusal on practical dates (as opposed to any students who have purchased the module as a standalone event).

Students are also responsible for the necessary acquisition of any visas that they need to enter the UK and we urge all students to visit the UK government website BEFORE booking on this module, to make yourself fully aware of any additional costs, travel restrictions, COVID testing requirements or quarantine periods that may be enforced as a result of your travel to the UK. We also suggest that you acquire suitable travel insurance to suit your needs.

Please note: The course does not cover the cost of travel, food or accommodation. It includes only light refreshments on the day of the practicum and the teaching content itself. Please dress appropriately and brings laters and an all weather coat if you are not used to the cooler British weather.

Location of the practicum:

Dorset/Hampshire region (New Forest District) UK. There is a chance that if student numbers in any given country exceed 16, that we will consider sending the teaching team out, instead of student into us. BUT this must never be assumed at the start of a cohort, as we cannot know, until we confirm student numbers (which can vary year on year). If this option becomes available in any given country, you will be informed. Please do not keep asking us.

Online component

Your online lectures will cover the following topics:

  • Functional spinal anatomy;
  • Biomechanics with osteopathic integration of orthopaedic and pathological conditions.
  • Online assessment to test your knowledge and learning.

Practical component (must be taken once you have successfully completed the theory element of the course, online.

During your practicum in the UK, you will learn the following:

  • Advanced tissue specific palpation to enhance your assessment of the canine spine;
  • Advanced testing of the spine  (joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons) to enhance your assessment of the canine spine;
  • Understanding spinal findings and drawing conclusions to enhance the creation of high quality and effective treatment and management protocols.

Bookings for Practicums

AOI cannot be held responsible for any losses made as a result of accommodation, transportation or flight bookings (or any associated costs – such as visas). As such, we recommend that bookings are only made, where a full refund option is available or where you, the student, is willing to uphold any lost fees/charges. We also recommend that you take out suitable insurance for the duration of your visit to cover all eventualities. This is because we are living in exceptional times where (sadly) nothing can be guaranteed. Further information about travel can be found below.

Module structure, online format and internet requirements:

This course will be delivered online, via our platform AND via a face to face teaching practicum in the UK – unless student numbers dictate otherwise. Students will also be made a part of the online community via Facebook where Facebook LIVE drop-ins will take place for questions. For our generic AOI group page click HERE

Because this module will be partly delivered online, students must be able to ensure internet connectivity. AOI will not be held responsible for internet failure or that of poor signal, so if you lose connectivity, you will only be able to watch the replay of any live events. 

International Students – English Proficiency

We are happy to take national and international students but all students MUST be proficient in all aspects of the English language (both written and spoken), so as to ensure that you can make the most of the course and its contents. The AOI will not be held responsible for any language challenges that arise and no refunds will be made on these grounds.

Dog Models: 

Although we can try to locate canine models for students, we actively encouraged delegates from the UK to bring a well-behaved dog with them, to maximise the learning experience. Dogs must be happy and healthy, and comfortable being handled, whilst in the same room as other dogs and people. All dogs should have their own public liability insurance in case of accidents and must be able to sit quietly when sitting through the theoretical sections of the day. If you cannot bring a dog with you, please ensure this is mentioned at the time of application.

Important information: Please read below…

Please note that minimum numbers will be required in order to run the practical session for this module in the UK. That being 6 students. If minimum numbers are not met, AOI reserves the right to cancel the event (within 30 days of the expected date) but will reschedule the event. If for any reason, AOI has to cancel the course within 14 days, (due to extreme circumstances – such as COVID – or a failure on the behalf of our third-party facilities), you will be issued with a new date for the practicum event as soon as the AOI can reschedule it. As a result of the uncertainty that we all currently face, we do not advise that you book any hotels, flights or travel arrangements in advance without cancellation options. AOI will not be held responsible for any costs incurred as a result of such pre-booking because we firmly recommend that you only do so with appropriate insurance or cancellation cover in place.

If you like to apply for  this course, please email us on for an application form or to ask specific questions. If you would just like to join our mailing list so you know when the course goes live, please put your email below. We look forward to having you onboard!

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Our pathway courses are internally validated by the European School of Osteopathy. For more information on the ESO, go to: