Many of you may have already stumbled across the uplifting tale of Wonky the Dog. The puppy, who was sadly abandoned by her owners and dumped on the street, has recently been in the news because she has learned how to walk on her own four paws despite suffering with a chronic joint condition known as ‘knuckling’ from birth. The neglect she suffered in her early years caused this condition to worsen over time, but, with a little help from the team at the Dogs Trust in Leeds, she now lives an almost-normal life, despite her under-developed limbs. It’s a story that’s tugged at the heart strings of millions across the UK and prompted over 600 people to call the centre and offer Wonky a loving new home.
Animal Physiotherapy TechniquesPhysiotherapy treatments for animals are similar to those used to rehabilitate humans. Specialists will commonly use the following techniques to address a wide range of conditions:
- Manipulation and mobilisation techniques for joints and tissues
- Massage therapies
- Electrotherapies – including ultrasound and laser therapy
- Remedial exercises, including stretching, wrapping, polework and taping for effective rehabilitation
When Should An Animal Receive Physiotherapy?Almost any animal could benefit from physiotherapy treatments if he or she is:
- Suffering from spinal problems such as disc disease (or, in the case of Wonky the Dog, flexural deformities
- Suffering from problems with their joints due to a degenerative condition or a form of arthritis
- Struggling to live a normal life after sustaining an injury to a muscle, ligament or tendon, including a fracture
- Coping with a neurological condition such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease or degenerative myelopathy
- Classified as obese
How Do I Move Into A Career As An Animal Physiotherapist?Establishing a career as an animal physiotherapist is physically demanding but extremely rewarding. If you’re already working as a qualified physiotherapist, you’ll normally be able to move into a career with animals by simply completing a qualification. This is because many conventional human physio practices are transferable. Existing veterinary surgeons and nurses will also be able to take a course to develop their skills in this field if they wish, and there are now also plenty of courses for those who are not already qualified but have previous experience of working with animals. Compare what’s on offer from various universities to find a course that suits your level of knowledge and experience.
Evelyn Jacobs often writes fun and informative physio articles on behalf of the team at Stretch, a clinic which offers physiotherapy in Chelmsford for the benefit of patients suffering from injuries or health complaints.