Faye Andrews MSc Animal Osteopathy
AOI past student & supporting lecturer
Faye graduated with an MSc. Animal Osteopathy in 2018, So, we asked her to share his story with us, to give you an insight into his experience as an animal osteopath. We hope you find it useful.
Like many children, I had a love for animals from a young age. This consequently led to me considering life as a vet, until I realised the rather negative aspects of a veterinary care, that quite frankly, put me off. Thankfully, as a result of my sporting background, I found an interest in osteopathy, and pursued my goal by selecting the correct GCSEs and A-Levels in order to get me there.
Fast forward 12 years and I had accomplished an osteopathic degree. But, the love of animals was ever present. In fact, I kept wondering why, if humans could receive post operative care and general treatment, could animals not. I knew very little about animal therapeutics at the time, but was desperate to find a way to utilise my osteopathic training in the animal field.
It wasn’t until my first dog had to go to the vet at the age of 7-8 months that things started to fall into place. My vet told me to go and treat my dog! Not sure of what or how to treat a dog, I took to the books and spent hours reading up on anatomy and biomechanics, but I realised that I needed more than a home study approach to fill the required gap. As a result, I looked for an animal osteopathic course, but initially found nothing that lived up to my high standards of expectation, educationally.
A few years later, Dustie and Eleanor produced the MSc course in Animal Osteopathy at the ESO, ticking two boxes for me… superior knowledge and a high standard course and I’d always fancied doing a Masters degree!
Truly, I couldn’t have asked for more. The team were extremely knowledgeable, friendly and fully supportive of each individual on the course. The course was in depth and covered everything from anatomy and biomechanics to neurology, pathology and orthopaedics. In addition, we covered animal behavioural science, something I am extremely thankful for, given I was having to work with horses to complete the MSc, and I’d never really been around them!
I cannot recommend AOI courses highly enough. Through their support and guidance, I have gained a further skill set, that I absolutely love. Not only has it opened doors for me for further study (I have just completed a certificate in raw dog food nutrition), I also get to work with animals on a regular basis. I am also fortunate enough to teach animal osteopathy with the AOI, which helps me to further spread my passion for the animal osteopathic industry.
WHAT HAVE YOU ENJOYED MOST ABOUT LIFE AS AN ANIMAL OSTEOPATH?
The feeling of relaxation when working with animals. I love being an osteopath and treating my human patients, but there is something different when it comes to working with the animals. There is a calmness and a deep appreciation for what you do. The benefits that the animal can receive from osteopathic treatment is palpable and there is no hidden agenda as far as the animal is concerned.
Being an animal osteopath has allowed me to vary my working days between humans and animals. Which, after 12 years in human only practice, helped to freshen things up.
WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY PRACTICE AND WHAT IS YOUR AREA OF INTEREST?
I own my own practice called Bodywise Osteopathy, My practice is based in Kingston, Surrey but also offer home visits depending on the location in Surrey. I am happy to treat any animal but have a specialist area of interest in canine orthopaedics and rehabilitation
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL ANIMAL DAY IN PRACTICE LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?
Each day varies week to week. One minute I’m treating humans and the next I’m treating an animal. No two days are ever the same and that’s what I like most about my job.
WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE FOR STUDENTS OF ANIMAL OSTEOPATHY?
As with any course you get out what you put in. The more reading around the subject you do, the better informed you will be. The MSc. course was full on and tough, but it was the most enjoyable three years of my life. Not only did I learn so much from the amazing lecturers, I learnt a lot about myself too.
Advice for practical sessions: Keep calm and allow yourself to be at peace with the animal, animals are highly sensitive and the calmer you are around them, the better the treatment and results will be.
Use the lecturers, they are more than willing to help you reach your dream and are always there for support and to answer questions away from the lecture room.
WHAT WAS THE MOST NOTICEABLE BENEFIT AS A CROSS-SKILL TO HUMAN PRACTICE?
Having been in human practice for so long, it’s easy to slip into bad habits. The animal osteopathy course reaffirmed to me that as an osteopath, my palpation skills are superior to any simple description given by a patient’s owner. Human patients are all too quick to tell you where it hurts because they think that’s where the pain arises, but we can fall foul of treating that area that hurts, rather than looking further afield. In the same way, when working with animals, you have to trust your learnt skill set and your ability to palpate what may not be visible or obvious to an owner. This is especially important in AO because animals can’t tell you where it hurts and words from owners can be naively misleading if that’s all you go off.
Contact Faye via Bodywise Osteopathy