Level One (Functional Osteopathic Academic Pathway) – Generic info.

Our Blended Learning (online plus a single 4-5 day practicum) format saves you time and money, and reduces the stresses associated with studying and Travel.

Level One of the Functional Osteopathic Academic Pathway has been designed for students to learn the essentials, the groundwork of the profession. It gives students an opportunity to receive an excellent foundation to a career in animal functional osteopathy/therapy with highly experienced osteopathic lecturers who teach the classics of osteopathy – modified to the animal patient. They will learn functional anatomy including, arthrology, osteology, myology, and movement analysis. Gait analysis, together with a thorough active and passive assessment routine. Students will also be taught how to communicate with other professionals, write veterinary reports and appropriately request both consent and referral. 

From a treatment perspective, students will be taught soft tissue, articulation and stretching techniques, which are suitable for many canine/equine patients. 

Ultimately, students will be taught how to work effectively with animal patients, owners, and other veterinary professionals. At the end of Level One, we expect our students to be able to treat happy, healthy dogs/horses safely and effectively. We do not however, endorse that graduates of Level One, who have no other therapeutic veterinary skills, treat without the support and guidance of a more experienced practitioner. 

In fact, we recommend that graduates work with a more experienced practitioner or closely with a veterinary surgeon until they complete Level Two. This is for the safety of the animals they treat, and also to ensure that they are working in-line with regulator’s expectations, which is to work within one’s scope of practice.

At AOI, we separate equine and canine courses for four good reasons:

  1. Not all students want to work with both large and small animals.
  2. Horses and dogs are not the same. They are exposed to very different day to day stresses and environments.
  3. Practically, it is essential that students get exposure to hands-on training with horses or dogs , as appropriate, so that they are safe and competent within their scope of practice, by the time they complete the course.
  4. Pathologically, their risks and presentations are COMPLETELY different and you cannot safely treat an animal if you’re working blind. We would never treat a human without a working hypothesis and so, it stands to reasons that we should do the same with animal patients.
  5. From a behavioural perspective, they are radically different to work with (one is a prey animal and one a predator) and appropriately communicating with your animal patients can make the world of difference to how you treat and how effective you can be.

OUR STRATEGY IS BETTER FOR YOU ALL ROUND
As a result of COVID 19 and its effects on everyone, we have reviewed and adapted our educational strategy. This means that the Functional Osteopathic Academic Pathway Level One and Level Two are now being delivered via blended learning (online videos and presentations, with high quality live practicums). Under this format, students can study the online elements of the course, to suit personal commitments and then attend consolidated practicums. This radically reduces flight costs for international  students. Our Academic Pathway is validated by the ESO.

Why is Formal Training So Important?

Many people think that “seeing the odd canine patient is safe”. It is not! That is because it’s not what you know (or necessarily do) in animal practice that harms, it’s what you DON’T know or do. In some cases, leaving a horse untreated for 2-3 days may lead to irreversible and fatal outcomes, so if you can’t identify clinical emergencies in animals, please don’t treat them! That’s why we teach equine and canine separately and why we strongly dissuade practitioners in human practice from dabbling with animals. For one thing, this is against the OPS (if you are an osteopath), as you are not working within your scope of practice and you are misleading the general public.

Horses and dogs are NOT the same creatures. They suffer from vastly different pathologies, live very different lives and any good osteopath knows that a wide range of external and internal factors affect the health of any creature.

We teach our students how to work effectively with animal patients, the owners and veterinary professionals. This is because, not only is it a legal requirement to work within your scope of practice, but also because the commercial landscape of animal therapy is changing rapidly and is ever more complex. Corporate companies are buying out small veterinary practices and setting their own boundaries. This means that anyone wanting to work in animal therapeutics needs to have a strong and competent skill set, in order to compete for the in-house veterinary based jobs that arise.

It is for this reason, that whilst we utilise blended learning, our courses also contain many hours of cases study practice and hands-on training. Nothing can replace hands-on practice in a clinical discipline and we strongly dissuade prospective students from seeking courses that offer quick solutions to a qualification. Regulations surrounding animal therapy maybe limited, but any professional practitioner should acknowledge that an education worth having will ensure that students receive a robust academic back-drop, with plenty of hands on practice from an experienced team of osteopathic lecturers. Only in this way, can a practitioner become safe, competent and reflective, with a solid understanding of functional and osteopathic principles.

If you would like to find out more about our programmes please contact us for more information