Expert Interview: Veterinary Physiotherapist

If there’s anything I truly believe about caring for our sports dogs, it’s that we need a team. Yourself- the owner, a trainer, veterinary physiotherapist, canine massage therapist, vet and someone to make sure they are getting the best nutrition possible. I have decided to interview some of my own dogs team to give you an insight into what they do and how they could help your dog too, even if they are not a sports dog.

Atlantic Veterinary Physiotherapy

First up I have interviewed Lynsey Adams who runs Atlantic Veterinary Physiotherapy based on the North Coast. Lynsey has assessed and treated my own dogs on numerous occasions and also was a big help in the rehab of young Cody, the spinning spaniel puppy foster. You’ll see my questions to Lynsey in bold and her responses in italics below.

What exactly is Veterinary Physiotherapy?

Simply it is where physiotherapy treatments including manual therapy (such as massage, pressure point release, joint mobilisations), electrotherapy (such as laser, NMES), tailored exercise programmes and advice or education are provided to benefit an animal rather than traditionally a person.

What got you interested in Veterinary Physiotherapy?

I always had an interest in working with animals but I thought I would end up working in a caring profession with people. Growing up I adored animals, I had dogs and cats as well as a small yard of horses. As a teenager my horse was injured and I had an ACPAT physio treat him. From that moment I knew that was the profession for me. I loved the potential mix of working with people and animals. 

What training did you go through to become a Veterinary Physiotherpist?

As I decided to go down the ACPAT route I initially completed my BSc Hons Physiotherapy starting to work as a physio in the NHS. I then went on to complete my PG Dip in veterinary physio at Hartpury College which took a further two years of study before starting my own veterinary physio business as an ACPAT category A member. I felt it was important to qualify in this route to provide the best possible care. Many people do not realise that unlike Physiotherapy, Animal Physiotherapy is not a protected title so a professional can claim to be one with very limited knowledge or training.

Atlantic Veterinary Physiotherapy
How is Physiotherapy beneficial for our sports dogs?

Like any athlete, having a physio working with you and your dog will allow them to reach and maintain top function and fitness. Any mild injuries can be spotted early and strengthening/ flexibility programs can be provided to reduce the likelihood of sport based injuries. 

Is it just for sports dogs?

No, I regularly treat a variety of dogs from pups to elderly dogs with a wide variation of needs. Dogs may be recovering from injury, surgery or even struggling with age-related diseases, degenerative diseases or obesity.

What signs can we look out for that may mean our dogs could benefit from Physiotherapy?

It is often difficult to spot signs of pain or discomfort in dogs especially those with high energy levels. You may see uneven weight bearing, a limp when walking or trotting or a change in behaviour (e.g. avoiding steps or not wanting to jump on /off furniture, new episodes of aggression or licking of joints) or something as simple as a change in sitting or lying posture.

Atlantic Veterinary Physiotherapy
What kind of treatments do you offer?

At AVP we offer a wide variety of treatments depending on your pet’s needs. We use soft tissue massage, manual therapy/ mobilisations, myofascial release, low-level laser therapy, electrotherapy (TENS/ NMES), stretches and home exercise programs. We also work closely with other professions and can signpost you to other services if needed.

What does the process look like, from getting in contact with you to the appointment?

Once you get in contact we will send you a message or phone you to discuss your pets needs. We will then contact your vet (with your consent) to gain consent for treatment. Following that we will organise a date and time that suits for an initial assessment and treatment to be carried out. We usually treat dogs in their home environment but other arrangements can be put in place if needed.

How can we contact you?

You can get all our information on Atlanticvp.com however you can email us on contact@atlanticvp.com, call us at 028 7087 8182 or WhatsApp us on 07849535134

Where should someone look to find a Veterinary Physiotherapist if they are in an area that you don’t cover?

There is a “Find a physio” feature on the ACPAT website which is very useful for finding your nearest ACPAT Category A physio. There is also the RAMP register which incorporates a mix of veterinary professionals with a variety of qualifications.

Finally, what piece of advice would you give to help us keep our sports dogs fit and healthy?

Although it is difficult to find the time, try to incorporate a warm up and cool down into all training and competitions to reduce the chances of sports injuries.

Thanks so much Lynsey for taking the time to talk about Veterinary Physiotherapy. I have linked her website a few times in the text, make sure you check it out!

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