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 academic profile, practical experience (evidenced via reference letters), equine handling skills and a formal interview.

On admission, we would like to see evidence of a minimum of practical experience comprising:

  • 150 hours for equine
  • 100 hours for canine

Practical experience hours need to be completed under the supervision of professional providers able to vouch for skills. Owning a dog or a horse does not constitute evidence of practical handling.

An interview with the academic team will form part of the admissions criteria for entry onto the course. The interviewer will first assess handling skills during a practical test. Then, the interviewer will discuss practical experience. Finally, more formal questions will be asked as part of the interview procedure.

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 practititoner, 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.