Introduction to Canine Therapy - (15 credits)

Canine physical therapy is widely used to manage both companion and athletic/working dogs. It includes maintaining performance, enhancing wellness and optimising rehabilitation following injury/surgery, or to manage an ongoing condition. The therapist requires a high level of academic knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, including correct function and dysfunction. It also requires practical skills such as empathetic handling and therapeutic techniques, to formulate a safe and effective program. This module will be an introduction into the canine therapy industry which will explore the available careers in canine therapy and the multidisciplinary team that therapists may be associated with. The idea of ‘working as a therapist’ and what forms a therapist's session will be discussed. A broad range of concepts will be addressed for a career in canine therapy, which will be introduced through using both theory-based lectures and hands-on practical sessions. The module will consolidate safe and therapeutic handling skills that are necessary when animals are distressed, in pain or compensating for injury as interpreting a dog's body language is key. Safe and correct handling skills will also be important in relation to assessment. It will also enable students to identify signs of good or poor health. Students will be introduced to canine sports/disciplines/roles and understanding the common injuries/pathologies that may occur. Students will have the opportunity to understand a brief static and dynamic assessment on a variety of dogs and discuss their findings. The module also aims to begin developing skills in palpation. The module should begin development of lateral thinking and skills of interpretation, particularly in relating static, dynamic and palpatory assessments. Students will be introduced to some simple massage techniques and begin to understand the effects of massage. Canine sports and working dogs will also be explored and understanding common injuries that may occur. Basic first aid training will be provided, and students will be given the opportunity to obtain a recognised qualification, which will later be required for the hydrotherapy qualification.