Terms & Conditions of Membership

The AAO endorses best practice and education in the field of animal osteopathy. It is not a regulatory body. In the UK anyone calling themselves an animal osteopath (or similar variation) should be registered with the GOsC. This is because the title osteopath is protected by UK law and the addition of the word animal to the title, does not change the law. Therefore, anyone claiming to call themselves an animal osteopath in the UK should abide by the OPS which stipulates that one must only work within their scope of practice and in a safe and competent manner.

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. The GOsC can, and will, prosecute individuals who practise as osteopaths when they are not on the GOsC Register. For information about what to do if you think someone is practising as an osteopath but is not on the Register, see our Protection of title page.” GOsC website 2014
The AAO asks full members to declare that they work within The Veterinary Surgeon’s (Exemptions) Order 2015 and to provide documentary evidence of referrals from vets on joining, and our expectation is that our members will work within the Act on every animal they treat. This requirement is for the protection of animals, for the osteopath’s own protection and for the protection of the reputation of osteopaths working with animals in general.

For Full Membership you will need to be able to demonstrate the following:

  • That you are in animal practice on a regular basis and only work within your scope of practice;
  • That you work within the law, working only with veterinary referral and/or consent;
  • That you have fulfilled 14 hours of CPD – at least 50% with others – and all must be animal related;
  • All CPD with others must be supported by certification or by signed documents from those in attendance;
  • If you include self study you must provide a critical reflection document that outlines how your study has advanced your clinical skills;
  • That you are registered with the GOsC;
  • That you hold up to date animal related insurance in accordance with your practice;

Failing to work within the Act i.e. obtain a referral from a vet before examining or treating an animal:-

  1. is illegal and puts an osteopath so doing at risk of prosecution and/or complaint to the GOsC;
  2. invalidates professional indemnity insurance, putting an osteopath at risk of potential large financial loss should an animal be harmed, or perceived to be harmed;
  3. potentially compromises the reputation of the osteopath with veterinarians, other animal paraprofessionals, insurers and owners should it become known they are working illegally and without insurance;
  4. potentially impacts on the standing/reputation of osteopaths working with animals in general amongst the public, veterinarians & animal paraprofessionals;
  5. is not compatible with being a full member of the AAO.
It is the osteopath’s responsibility to ensure that they are working within the law, the only way to assure this is for the osteopath to contact the vet directly for the referral.  It is inappropriate and bad practice to place this responsibility on the animal’s owner. Additionally, any referral from the vet if by telephone should be recorded on the animal’s notes with date/time/name of referring vet, or copies of written referral (email/fax/letter) attached to the notes, for both new clients and existing clients with a new problem or episode. Osteopathic assessment and treatment should not take place in the absence of veterinary referral.

The AAO aims to support any member who is reported to us or the GOsC. However, we will only work within our position as a special interest group and as such, can only offer professional guidance and mentoring*

If an AAO member is reported to us or the GOsC for having failed to comply with the OPS and The Veterinary Surgeon’s (Exemptions) Order 2015, the AAO may: 

  1. Put your membership on hold during the investigation period.
  2. Remove you from our member’s list during the investigation period.
  3. Cancel your membership if the outcome of the investigation is such that you lose GOsC registration.

* Fees will be charged to any individual who requires private mentorship during an investigation.