Postgraduate Diploma Veterinary Physiotherapy

Veterinary Physiotherapists are part of a multi-disciplinary team supporting animals (primarily horses and dogs) through injury, disease, fitness acquisition or post-operative recovery; they are also actively involved in the maintenance of wellbeing and welfare. It is a growing discipline, with more veterinary surgeons recognising the benefit of working alongside veterinary physiotherapists for the benefit of the individual animal. Understanding the mechanisms of injury and disease, the processes of operative interventions and the requirements of the animal for rehabilitation and repair are what make this highly technical career so exciting and fulfilling.

Postgraduate Diploma Veterinary Physiotherapy is recognised by the Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP), accredited by the Animal Health Professions’ Register (AHPR) and supported by the National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists (NAVP). Students will develop the skills needed to support veterinary surgeons in the rehabilitation of a variety of species, with a particular focus on equine and canine patients. It also focuses on supporting equine and canine athletes both during competition and for recovery.

The course will be run on a part-time basis over two years, with the majority being delivered at weekends (11 weekends for the 1st year, 19 weekends - including internal placement weekends on site - for the 2nd year). There will be the occasional Friday that requires attendance, such as academic Induction and examinations.

Applicants will normally hold a 2.1 or 1st class Honours degree in Animal Science or a related subject (Equine Science, Zoology, Bioveterinary Science, Veterinary Nursing) or a therapy degree (such as, Equine Sports Therapy, Animal Therapy or Human Sports Therapy) .

Applications will take into consideration:

  • Your academic profile
  • Your academic/professional references- relevant reference letters to be sent alongside your qualification for your application, from employers and/or lecturers
  • Your practical experience - relevant reference letters to be sent alongside your qualification for your application, from professional providers who supervised your placements (see below practical experience needed to de evidenced)
  • Your equine handling skills - practical task videoed and sent for evaluation
  • Your answers to formal questions during the interview that will take place over the phone or online

Academic profile
When applying, you will be asked to produce a personal statement and name 2 referees from whom you will require recommendation letters on the pro-formatted template we will provide. Alongside your application, you must send copies of all your qualifications. Applications must be complete in order to be processed.

Practical experience evidence
We would like to see evidence of a minimum of:

  • 150 hours for equine
  • 100 hours for canine

done under the supervision of professional providers ready to vouch for your skills. Ideally the placements are done prior to the interview (letters from the providers, on headed paper, stating the date and length of the placements, the animal handling activities undertook and the skills developed, are to be sent with your application. Alternatively, proof of competition (equine or canine), BHS qualification must be sent for evaluation.

References for placements must be sent to Admissions by the 15.06.23. If placements have not been done prior to the interview, reference letters confirming that you have secured your placements must be submitted by the same date. All placements must have been effective before the beginning of the course. Placements must be less than three years old to be taken into consideration. We are looking at practical hands-on placements, not observational ones.

Applicants could consider:

  • For equine: a yard, a riding school, a sanctuary, an equine vet practice
  • For canine: kennels, dog groomer, dog walker, dog day care, RSPCA, Dog trust, small vet practice, hydrotherapy centres

Owning a dog or a horse does not constitute evidence of practical handling.

video evidence
You will be asked to send a video evidence of your practical skills. The task, simple but aiming at evaluating how safely you handle a horse, will need to be videoed by someone. The video must be less than 10mns. It must not be edited and does not necessitate running commentaries. Video evidence needs to be sent before the interview date you will be attending. Failure to submit the video before the set deadline will result in losing your interview slot. Not being able to perform to adequate standards will result in no potential offer being made.

There will be two interview dates for this recruiting cycle: 05.04.23 and 12.07.23

An interview with the academic team will form part of the admissions criteria for entry onto the course. The interviewer, knowing your level of handling skills after evaluating your video evidence, will discuss your practical experience and ask more formal questions as part of the interview.

It is recommended that applicants hold a recognised qualification in either canine or equine massage.

Applications from mature students from a relevant academic background will also be considered on an individual basis.

A large proportion of the material will be delivered via traditional lecture sessions, laboratory practicals (including dissections), practical animal sessions (for surface anatomy, individual animal assessments, therapeutic interventions and also for the acquisition of animal handling skills), seminars, discussion forums, via visits, visiting speaker sessions and online learning activities .

In addition to module delivery time, each student will need to undertake a clinical observation day in the first year and clinical placement days in the second year. These constitute an important part in developing clinical reasoning skills. There are 10 placement days, which will take place on Writtle premises (internal placements) and 2 external one-day placements. For the external placements, students will need to be prepared to travel as the providers are based all across the country. You will also need to be flexible about dates, as you will need to fit around dates when the providers have suitable clients for you to work with.

Employment opportunities
There are a range of jobs within the equine and canine industries and associated ancillary industries that would suit a graduate from this course.

Primarily however, this award is aimed at those either wishing to establish a career as a veterinary physiotherapist as a self-employed practitioner, or working for a veterinary practice.

The course is designed to develop the skills of the student to support veterinary surgeons in the rehabilitation of a variety of species and will in particular focus on equine and canine patients. It will also focus on supporting equine and canine athletes both during competition and for recovery.

Alternative roles may include those based in the business sector, such as within insurance, sales jobs for companies (providing products such as equipment), feed companies, and breeding companies.

Educational progression

Students also have the option to continue with postgraduate studies by completing a postgraduate dissertation to be awarded an MSc.