Veterinary physiotherapists work with injured animals, or animals with movement problems, to help reduce pain and improve their health.
£18,500 Starter - £65,000 Experienced
38 to 40 a week (on call as customers demand)
Where to start
You can get into this job through
a university coursean apprenticeshipspecialist courses run by private training organisations
You'll need one of the following qualifications:
- a degree in veterinary physiotherapy
- a degree in human physiotherapy approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy
- a postgraduate course in veterinary physiotherapy
- a postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Physiotherapy through Canine and Equine Physiotherapy Training
For a degree, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English, maths and science, 2 or 3 A-Levels, or the equivalent, including biology. You may need a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study.
You can start by doing a physiotherapist Level 6 (degree) apprenticeship. You will then complete a postgraduate award in veterinary physiotherapy.
You'll usually need 2 to 3 A-Levels, or equivalent, preferably including biology, for a degree apprenticeship.
You could train in animal massage or animal hydrotherapy, if you do not have a degree but want to work in a related area.
Professional and industry bodies
You can join the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy for professional development and training opportunities.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- sensitivity and understanding
- to enjoy working with other people
- customer service skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- analytical thinking skills
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- to be flexible and open to change
- knowledge of psychology
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
What you’ll do
On a day-to-day basis you could:
- attend clinics to see animals in need of physiotherapy after operations or an accident
- visit animals in zoos, farms and homes
- talk to owners and keepers to take the animal's case history
- plan exercise programmes
- use manual and electro-therapy methods to reduce pain and help with movement
- apply massage and hydrotherapy techniques
- give advice on changes to animals' environments
- write reports on the animal's progress
You could work at a veterinary practice or at a university.
Your working environment may be physically demanding.
You may need to wear a uniform.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a senior physiotherapist, or a specialist physiotherapist for breathing conditions or problems affecting the nervous system.
You could also set up your own animal physiotherapy practice or move into research.