Equine & Canine Level I (for osteopaths, osteopathic students and other suitable practitioners) – now accepting applications.
Animal Osteopathy International is a dynamic initiative which focuses on professional training, postgraduate education, accredited pathways of learning, and international collaborations for the betterment of new generations of practitioners and discerning owners who want to know more about their pets/animals.
We welcome students from all professional backgrounds who want more than a grass-roots education, and owners who want to know more about their animals. We offer courses that suit animal osteopaths, veterinary professionals, MSK animal practitioners and also engaged owners. For more information, click on the “Course Information” and pick the courses that are right for you.
Our Masterclass Pathway dual modality courses are released throughout the year. Typically, two level cohorts per year. OEI courses however, can be joined at ANY time.
Our teachers are all in animal practice, with decades of collective experience. Meaning that they offer up to date information and experience for all with whom they teach. We also support graduates of our own, who wish to become AOI teachers and are always happy to engage with other animal organisations or charities.
AOI believes in high quality, so our online cohorts will still be limited in size. This will ensure that our Masterclass Pathway, dual modality course will offer the same level of attention that we have delivered on any face to face course previously. For more information about the level I equine course, please click on the link below.
Animal Osteopathy International “We deliver high quality education for the betterment of animal welfare and because we want o produce graduates who are safe and competent. We have trained hundreds of students and owners over the last decade, producing some of the finest MSc. animal osteopaths in the industry. I am very proud of that fact” Dustie Houchin – Animal Osteopathic Consultant to the European School of Osteopathy, Kent, UK.
What is Animal Osteopathy?
Animal Osteopathy (AO) is a highly integrated form of manual medicine for animals. which is founded on a solid understanding of functional medicine and osteopathic principles which identify the impact of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors on an animal’s life.
However, as you can see below, animal osteopaths in the UK are required by law to first speak to your animal’s vet, to ensure that animal osteopathy is deemed appropriate course of action. Some vets may insist on an initial consultation (which legally they have a right to do). However, many are happy for the practitioner to report back to the surgery after the initial consultation, when further treatment options can be discussed.
Animal Osteopaths take into consideration the following factors when initially evaluating a case:
- Presenting picture – signs and symptoms;
- Mechanism of injury (what caused the problem in the first place);
- The animal’s medical history (past and present);
- The animal’s environment (what is usual and any reported changes). This also includes relationships, training styles, loss of a companion etc.
- Activities (how and when are they exercised. Any changes?);
- The animal’s size/weight ratio, their typical diet, any changes in eating habits and bowel and bladder movements;
- Overall status of the animal’s welfare (reviewing and addressing all areas of the five freedoms).
- Any signs that the case is way outside the remit of osteopathy and requires an immediate referral to the vet.
Animal Osteopaths in the UK are legally obliged to work under the referral of a vet for remedial cases.
It is a legal requirement of all Animal Osteopath in the UK to work under the guise of the Veterinary Surgeons act (1966), veterinary surgeons (exemptions order 2015). As such, any professional animal osteopath will ask for your animal’s vet details in advance of any assessment or treatment. Failure to do adhere to this is breaking the law and is likely to void any insurance that you or the practitioner has in place.
Once an AO practitioner acquires a veterinary referral and has undertaken a full case history (as outlined above), they will typically undertake the following assessment process:
- Overall observations (how your animal behaves and interacts. What their skin, coat, eyes etc. look like);
- Active assessment – watching how your animal moves;
- Passive assessment – seeing how the body functions passively;
- Osteopathic testing – to evaluate the flexibility, stability, mobility of certain key areas;
- Once the above assessments and examinations have taken place, your AO practitioner may refer back to your vet for further investigations if it deemed inappropriate to continue with osteopathic treatment before more information has be acquired. This isn’t commonplace in a typical remedial case, but a good practitioner should always seek to do what is best for the animal and should never work outside their scope of practice.
If, after the assessment and evaluation process, osteopathic care is deemed appropriate, your practitioner will discuss the line of action they intend to take and the treatment that they consider to be most appropriate. Animal osteopathy includes a wide range of treatment modalities, which range from the very subtle (such as cranial osteopathy) through to direct mobilisations. However, we would remind readers that whilst cranial osteopathy may appear subtle and gentle, it can have powerful lasting effects. Such effects (and those associated with any other form of treatment that has been administered), should be discussed with you in advance, so that you can support your animal as required after treatment.
In addition to treatment, your AO practitioner will provide you with an outline of their treatment and management plan, so that you know what to expect, how long the process is likely to take and what costs could be involved. Furthermore, you should be given home advice as pertinent and, where appropriate, rehabilitation exercises. Sometimes this require owner’s to purchase items such as a wobble board, balance pad or TheraBand exercise bands.
Typically, an AO practitioner, would treat an animal 2-3 times under a consider treatment plan, before reconsidering their approach. This is to allow the animal’s body to adapt to any treatment that has been performed and recover from any minor side-effects that they may have experienced. However, if within this time, the animal’s picture worsens (or remains exactly the same), it would it’s typical for the practitioner to do one of two things. 1. Fully reassess the animal and re-adapt their treatment plan or 2. Refer back to the vet for further investigations and a second opinion. It would be unprofessional for any AO practitioner to continue treating an animal who is not making positive progress.
If you have any concerns relating to a practitioner, you are welcome to reach out to us, or go directly to the Association of Animal osteopaths (AAO).
We are here for practitioners who want to excel in practice, learn more than the basics and be able to offer exceptional quality to their animal patients and owners.
We have a blog post page to keep you up to date with news, courses and information that might be of interest to you. We have segmented theses for clarity and ease of use.
Finally, though not exhaustively, we support the work of trusted professional lectures who speak and run courses of their own around the world. Such teachers include: Dr Anna Crane (USA), Michael Laloux (Spain), Gillian Higgins (UK) and Margrit Coates (UK).
Our owner courses offer those without access to a therapist, a chance to learn safe, gentle techniques that support their canine and equine friends in times of need.
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