Finding a canine rehabilitator – a veterinarian, licensed veterinary technician, or licensed human physical therapist with special training in canine therapy – differs from state to state. Veterinary state practice acts may limit the treatment of animals to only veterinarians, while physical therapy state practice acts may prevent physical therapists from working with animals, even if they have canine physical therapy training.
For information on veterinary state practice acts, talk to your veterinarian, or contact the American Association of Veterinary States Boards at (877) 698-8482 or online at www.aavsb.org for a directory.
If you find a physical therapist who can practice on animals, make sure he or she is willing to work with your veterinarian for your dog’s best all-around care.
While the law permits veterinarians and veterinary technicians to perform physical therapy on animals, they may not have the specific education to do so. Presently, only the University of Tennessee offers a university-based certificate program in canine rehabilitation for veterinary and physical therapy professionals. The program, jointly awarded by the school’s College of Veterinary Medicine and the Program in Physical Therapy, has certified more than 70 practitioners nationwide. To find a certified canine rehabilitator in your area, talk to your veterinarian, or visit www.utc.edu/canine for a list of program graduates.
Don’t confuse canine physical therapy with canine mass age therapy, which is taught by human massage therapists to anyone regardless of profession and education and offers different therapeutic benefits.