Animal therapy was almost unheard of in the United States, until horse races in the ‘60s became popular and horses needed treatment after sporting events. Today, Animal Therapy is growing in popularity, so no matter where you are with your career, if you’re seeking a new path, animal physical therapy may be your calling.
To become an animal physical therapist, there are a few educational paths to take, but essentially, the main difference is simply that your patients are animals and not people. You can work as an animal therapist with a Masters or Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy, or with your Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine, plus state licensing.
Animals therapists help animals who have had surgery, been injured or suffer from chronic pain. Animal therapists not only speed up an animal’s recovery time but also improve their overall quality of life, all while making new friends in the process.
In the past, if an animal were to break a bone, the limbs would be immobilized with a cast, splint or brace, but after further research, therapists gathered that by allowing controlled mobility, the increased blood flow would speed up the recovery process.
Whether you have a soft spot for furry friends or are simply looking for a change of pace, here are five techniques in animal therapy that may interest you.
5 Therapy Techniques For Animals
1. Exercise Rehabilitation
Ready to train with some pooches? This type of rehabilitation benefits animals with musculoskeletal and neurological system disorders, plus, helps patients in need of conditioning or weight loss. Through a customized exercise program, animals can improve strength, flexibility and balance—all enhancing mobility and delaying any potential disease progression.
2. Aquatic Therapy
Get your paws wet as hydrotherapy courses help your animal with hip or spine disorders. With equipment ranging from underwater treadmills to headed pools, animal muscles will benefit from various water exercises. This therapy is especially helpful to animals recovering from operations or suffering from obesity because the water alleviates pressure from the joints.
3. Massage Therapy
How would you like to massage some furry friends? Massage Therapy uses deep tissue techniques to increase circulation, reduce muscle spasms and relieve tension. This is definitely the most hands-on of animal therapy techniques and especially wonderful if you have empathy for suffering animals.
4. Ultrasound Therapy
If you can handle the occasional squirm, you may be a good animal ultrasound tech. This type of therapy helps soften and break down tissue surrounding joints and only requires a 10-20 minute session about three times a week.
5. Heat Therapy
Be a warm heart for animals dealing with separation stress or decreased mobility with age. Designed for older animals suffering from things like arthritis and anxiety, heat therapy is an alternative to dosing an animal with medication. Just like a warm bath is soothing to our muscles, heat therapy has the same effect on animals.
If you’d like your next patients to be furry with pointed ears, check out some additional information here. Happy healing!