Our Mission, Objects & Treatments
The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) is a Professional Network of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and represents the interests of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy.
Animals, like people, respond to physiotherapy. The purpose of physiotherapy is to restore and maintain mobility, function, independence and performance. ACPAT members are fully qualified Chartered Physiotherapists (MCSPs) who have also trained in physiotherapy and rehabilitation for animals.
Chartered Physiotherapists working with animals are specialists in delivering individual physiotherapy programmes to animals. Many ACPAT members also work in human physiotherapy in a diverse range of specialities.
Many of our members are involved in post graduate research up to PhD level, teaching physiotherapy students and delivering high quality training to other para-veterinary professionals.
Our Mission Statement
ACPAT is a dynamic, progressive organisation, developed from within the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, which aims to:
- Lead the field in the development of high quality innovative physiotherapeutic intervention in the treatment of animals
- Raise the standards of animal physiotherapy and promote excellence through ongoing education, evaluation, research and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
- Raise the profile of the profession and promote the benefits of animal physiotherapy to the physiotherapy profession, the veterinary profession, the general public and other animal professionals/organisations
- Continue the development of expert knowledge and specialist skills to meet the needs of this client group and their owners
- Protect and advance members interests through sound communication and clinical guidance
- Reinforce strong collaboration with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, The University of Liverpool, The University of the West of England and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, BEVA, BSAVA and establish links internationally
Physiotherapy Treatment from a Chartered Physiotherapist Working with Animals
Chartered Physiotherapists have all trained in human physiotherapy and worked in practice before upgrading to work with animals. The considerable experience gained in the human field develops skills which are largely transferable to animal physiotherapy. Their experience and specialities are diverse and therefore treatment programmes may be highly specialised.
Chartered Physiotherapists working with animals are specialists in delivering individual physiotherapy programmes to animals. Many ACPAT members also work in human physiotherapy in a diverse range of specialities. Many of our members are involved in post graduate research up to PhD level, teaching physiotherapy students and delivering high quality training to other para-veterinary professionals.
All Chartered Physiotherapists abide by the standards for fitness to practise set by the Health Care Professions Council (HCPC) * and the Code of Professional Values & Behaviour set by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). This ensures they adhere to the highest standards of health and safety, record keeping, professionalism, competency and all maintain full public and professional mal practice indemnity.
Your Physiotherapy Appointment
All treatment of animals is undertaken following veterinary referral or consent. You should expect to be asked to give your written consent for physiotherapy to any animal you own or is under your care. Your physiotherapist, with your permission, may also discuss the case with any other person involved in the care of the animal.
All Chartered Physiotherapists are required to keep accurate records of a full veterinary and husbandry history for each animal. The assessment will vary for each animal, but may include observation, movement/gait assessment, palpation (hands on). For horses, this might include a ridden assessment.
Physiotherapy covers a huge range of treatments. Chartered Physiotherapists have specialist knowledge in anatomy and biomechanics, physiology and pathology. They use the detailed assessment to tailor treatments to each animal condition and the stage of the problem.
The main types of treatments that a Chartered Physiotherapist may use are:
- Hands on techniques – manipulation, massage, myofascial release, trigger point release, reflex inhibition techniques, specific stretches
- Electrotherapy - Ultrasound, laser, muscle stimulation, TENS, interferential, pulsed electromagnetic energy, H wave etc
- Exercise therapy - rehabilitation programmes, core stability exercises, sport specific training, Hydrotherapy
- Advice and education – handling and posture advice, exercise advice, education of conditions and management
The range of conditions treated is vast but the most common are:
- Orthopaedic conditions – conservative or post surgical management
- Neurological conditions
- Sports injuries
- General muscular, joint and spinal pain and injuries
- Performance problems or enhancement of the sporting or working animal
Physiotherapy practice in animals is expanding into other specialist areas such as respiratory care, orthotics and balance disorders. If you have an unusual case and want to know if a Chartered Physiotherapist can help, please contact us for advice.
* Chartered Physiotherapists who only work with animals are not required to be registered with the HCPC but they are still professionally regulated by the CSP and ACPAT and are expected to maintain the same professional standards as set by the HCPC.