The Association of Animal Osteopaths was created to support practitioners who use osteopathic techniques on animals. From a historic perspective, animal osteopathy is a young and growing profession, and the regulation of it varies significantly, country to country. In some regions, animal osteopathy is now being taught as an undergraduate degree, with no demands whatsoever, to first undertake human osteopathic training. In others, it is an expectation that one would first train on humans before going on to postgraduate study [in animal osteopathy]. 

This has, and continues to be a contentious topic, which is why AAO has taken a neutral position as an information provider and register for those who wish to join together with their international colleagues for the betterment and unification of animal osteopathy and the welfare of the animals that we all love. 

In line with the position, AAO’s Code of Conduct embraces all that should be important to any professional practitioner and it is for this reason that all who ask to join the AAO must sign a declaration agreeing to the Code and its contents.

AAO Code of Conduct - for practitioners

Those who have registered themselves (with AAO) as a practitioner of animal osteopathy, have signed to agree to the Code and its contents, and as such, are held accountable as a professional whilst listed on the AAO’s Find a Practitioner page.

Registrants of the AAO agree to raise standards across the profession, by endorsing and agreeing to the following code: 

  • Practice only on animals after you have completed a recognised course of study with a professional educational establishment, which includes face-face practical classes and assessments, and which is accredited or validated by an external institute. 
  • Treat only animals that you have been trained to assess and treat – and remember your limitations. 
  • Use titles only as suitable for your state and country. Where the title osteopath is held only for those with a human trained background, practitioners must instead use a title such as manual therapist or functional practitioner. 
  • Work within your scope of practice at all times and refer back to the animal’s veterinary surgeon whenever pertinent. 
  • Hold suitable professional indemnity and public liability insurance, as expected by the state, region or country of your practice. 
  • Work within the legal boundaries of the state, county or country in which you practice and abide by all relevant legislation. 
  • Maintain clear, accurate and appropriate records, such as would be appropriate in a vet-led-team or as legally required (in your country of practice).
  • Always place the animal and its welfare at the heart of your assessments, treatments and actions. 
  • Complete and update all clinical notes in a timely fashion to ensure clarity and correctness. 
  • Keep all records in accordance with the laws of your country and ensure data protection is adhered to, as appropriate. 
  •  To promote your services in a professional and appropriate manner, using clear concise information that is not in breach of any advertising standards nor misleading to the general public. 
  • Develop and demonstrate a life-long approach to learning and professional education, aiming to complete no less than 25 hours of CPD (animal specific) training per academic year. 
  • Foster a positive and supportive working practice within your community and the professionals with whom you work.  
  • To optimise professional relationships and act as a resource centre for those wishing to learn more about animal osteopathy and its benefits. 
  • Run one’s clinical business in line with all local laws and regulations. 
  • Act in accordance with your professional role, so as never to abuse your position of trust. 
  •  Adhere to the AAO’s Code of Conduct at all times, so as to uphold the name of the profession. 
  • To inform the AAO immediately if you are no longer in clinical practice. 
  • To inform the AAO immediately if any complaints are made against you as a practitioner.