Frequently Asked Questions

How long do appointments take?

During your first appointment, I will take a full history of your animal before performing a thorough static and dynamic assessment. These initial appointments usually take up to 1.5 hours. Follow on appointments take around 1 hour for horses and 45 minutes for dogs, however complex cases may take a little longer especially if discussing and demonstrating a rehabilitative exercise programme.

Why does my vet need to give consent for physiotherapy for my animal?

The Veterinary Surgeons' Act states that complimentary therapies may only be performed under direction of a qualified veterinary surgeon. This law ensures that only properly qualified practitioners attend your animal, and that an ongoing dialogue takes place between your vet and therapist to ensure that safe and effective care is provided for your animal. This law applies to all musculoskeletal therapists. Full details of this legislation can be found here

How soon can I ride, work or compete my animal following treatment?

I usually recommend a restful day following routine physiotherapy (with the exception of specially tailored pre-competition treatments) as your animal may feel a little sore or quiet. Ideally, I like to leave 5-7 days between seeing an animal for the first time and any competitions, to allow them time to adjust to changes in their musculoskeletal system.

How should I prepare my animal for physiotherapy?

Your animal should be clean and dry ready for treatment, ideally in a quiet area away from too many distractions; other pets should be detained from the area. Horses will need to be undercover in the event of wet weather and ideally on a level, non-slip surface; a stable is ideal if available. Dogs and other small animals need a comfortable mat to lie on in a warm area.

I don't have any special exercise equipment, how will I manage the exercises you prescribe?

It's amazing what can be achieved with a bit of imagination! Mops, brooms and garden canes make excellent cavaletti poles for dogs, using logs or crushed cans as pole raisers. For horses, fence posts and potties make good substitutes. Old flower pots and garden canes make good weaving poles, and you can often find excellent 'equipment' out on a walk or hack - bollards and trees for weaving, kerbsides for stepping up/down and of course hills! Keep hold of an old seat cushion - these make good 'wobble boards' for dogs and other small animals. All rehabilitative exercise programmes are designed to fit in with you with consideration of available time and resources.

What is your approach?

Having started out as an equine sports massage therapist, my approach to physiotherapy is mostly manual, with massage, stretching and gentle mobilisations forming the basis of all treatments. I use electrotherapies as an adjunct to manual therapy to treat specific injuries and provide further pain relief, and regularly apply kinesiotape at the end of a session - more can be read about the effects of these therapies here. I am a firm believer in the importance of remedial exercise and will usually leave you with some exercises to perform with your animal - ranging from a detailed and comprehensive plan for rehabilitation cases to a few simple stretches which will benefit all animals.

How often should my animal see a physio?

This depends entirely on the animal; every case is different and there is no set rule of frequency. Treatment plans range from intensive weekly sessions for animals with deep rooted issues or those recovering from injury or surgery to maintenance sessions every few months for an animal with few issues and not competing at a high level.