AAO & Animal Osteopathy

dressage de rapace

Members of the AAO work tirelessly toward a better future for animal osteopaths and the profession as a whole. Over the years animal osteopathy has gone from strength to strength, but the profession is changing and so the AAO was created to ensure that the profession has a strong and competent Association to support the future.

AAO projects include: 

  • Maintaining a strong presence within the Osteopathic Alliance
  • Meeting regularly with the GOsC to ensure both parties are aware of changes and challenges.
  • Working closely with ACPAT and the animal section of MCA, to build strong relationships with other statutory regulated professionals who branch out into animal practice.
  • Supporting animal osteopathy through the RAMP project to ensure that animal osteopaths are properly represented
  • Building solid relationships with osteopathic schools around the UK to enhance educational opportunities and help raise  the skill sets of animal osteopaths.
  • Increasing the visibility of animal osteopathy and AAO via social media and direct communications.
  • Securing a regular slot within the iO journal for animal osteopathic topics.
  • Regularly showcasing of animal osteopathy at events
  • Supporting and encouraging research within the field of animal osteopathy
  • Visiting osteopathic schools to run lectures on animal osteopathy for the next generation.

We also ensure that all our members are actively supported through some of the more challenging times in their careers and when help is needed we provide it through mentorship and guidance.

The history of the AAO

The Society of Osteopaths in Animal Practice was founded in 2004, after discussions with the General Osteopathic Council outlined a need for support for osteopaths wishing to study/work in this specialist field of osteopathy. Several of the founder members still sit on the AAO committee today and have many years of experience in education and practice.

AAO committee members aim to work toward better educational offerings for osteopaths and also increased visibility for the profession through the building of professional bridges and national PR. Today, there are Masters programmes and postgraduate courses run around the world to help those wishing to become animal osteopaths. This demonstrates a significant change in the market and the demands placed upon us by external sources.

AAO supports and encourages members to work only within their Scope of Practice and requests that all members comply with our Code of Practice. This ensures to the best of our ability that all animals treated by an animal osteopath (who are members of the AAO) are cared for appropriately and professionally.

The AAO is run by a committee of osteopaths who work on a purely voluntary basis. All treat animals as part of daily practice and teach in various locations around the globe. The intention of the Association is to bring together osteopaths from all over the UK who treat or have an interest in animal osteopathy. By joining together, we create a united front that can support the profession moving forward, whilst also ensuring that national standards are created and upheld.

We request that all AAO members comply with the Veterinary Surgeon’s Act 1966 (Exemptions Order 2015), which states:

The Veterinary Surgery 1966 (Exemptions Order 2015) allows for the treatment of animals by physiotherapy, provided that the following conditions are satisfied:

The person providing the treatment is aged 18 or over.

The person is acting under the direction of a qualified person who:

a) has examined the animal

b) has prescribed the treatment of the animal by physiotherapy

From the RCVS website: http://www.rcvs.org.uk/advice-and-guidance/code-of-professional-conduct-for-veterinary-surgeons/supporting-guidance/treatment-of-animals-by-unqualified-persons

Osteopathy for Animals & Birds

Osteopathy can be used to treat all animals and birds, from elephants to swans. Whilst the GOsC does not directly regulate animal osteopathy at this time, practitioners calling themselves ‘Animal Osteopaths’ must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council, because they use the term “Osteopath” within their title. In the UK this title is a protected by law under the Osteopaths Act 1993. This means that anyone pertaining to be an Osteopath should manage themselves professionally and responsibly at all times.

The title ‘osteopath’ is protected by law. It is against the law for anyone to call themselves an osteopath unless they are registered with the GOsC, which sets and promotes high standards of competency, conduct and safety. We can, and do, prosecute individuals who practise as osteopaths when they are not on the GOsC Register. From the GOsC website 2013. 

Osteopathy uses a range of techniques to help influence the natural healing process of the body. Using the muscular-skeletal system to affect the function of the tissues, osteopathy helps to improve mobility, flexibility, circulation and general health. Some Osteopaths may also give exercises to strengthen an area after injury or to aid general fitness.

Animal Osteopathy – What to expect in a session 

After consent from your vet has been cleared with your osteopath, sessions will normally consist of a consultation (including the taking of the animal’s medical and training history), an active and passive examination and a treatment based on the working diagnosis that your osteopath concludes. Amount of treatment required will vary from patient to patient and can only be confirmed by the visiting osteopath. The same applies to the length of each session, as all animals are different and some require more treatment than others. Speak to your chosen osteopath for more specific information.

How do I become an animal osteopath?

At present, one can only become an Animal Osteopath having trained as an osteopath (for humans) and registered with the General Osteopathic Council (GOsC). Once registered, you would be expected to take postgraduate studies in animal osteopathy and other relevant veterinary subjects to work with animals. Whilst it is not a current requirement for animal osteopaths to do specific postgraduate training, AAO is working hard to ensure that courses are available to Osteopaths who wish to work in this field and want professional and reputable qualifications. For more information on courses, please click on the course tab.

Please note: It is illegal for anyone to use the term animal osteopath if they are not registered with the GOsC because the word osteopath is a protected title, with or without the word ‘animal’ before it.