Introduction to Canine Therapy - (15 credits)

Canine physical therapy is being more widely used to manage both companion and athletic or working dogs, as part of wellness or performance maintenance/enhancement program, to optimise 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, as well as the practical skills, including empathetic handling and therapeutic techniques, to formulate a safe and effective program. This module aims to introduce the student to a broad range of concepts that must be addressed when working towards a career in animal therapy, 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. Canine therapists must be empathetic and intuitive in their working lives and be able to competently interpret the dog’s body language. It will also enable students to identify signs of good or poor health, and provides an introduction to common pathologies. Students will also have the opportunity to start statically and dynamically assessing a wide variety of dogs, and discuss their findings. The module also aims to begin developing skills in feel and 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, as well as different canine sports and types of working dogs. The module will also address factors such as therapist fitness and body biomechanics, to reduce injury risk and increase the longevity of their career. The module will also involve basic first aid training, which will later be enhanced within the hydrotherapy module at level 6.