Animal physiotherapist job profile | (2022)

Animal physiotherapy is considered an essential addition to the medical and surgical treatment of animals

The purpose of physiotherapy is to restore and maintain mobility, function, independence and performance. It is applied in several treatments, from the management of joint or spinal problems to rehabilitation after fractures or injury.

As an animal physiotherapist you'll cover the treatment of domestic pets, farm animals and exotic pets, though horses, dogs and cats are the most common. Typical procedures include:

  • assessment
  • massage
  • ultrasound
  • electrotherapy
  • exercise
  • owner education and advice.

Animal physiotherapy can also be referred to as veterinary physiotherapy.

Types of animal physiotherapy

You may specialise in one area of animal physiotherapy, such as:

  • hydrotherapy
  • small animal physiotherapy
  • large animal physiotherapy
  • horse and rider.

However, the majority of animal physiotherapists are self-employed and decide for themselves whether they want to work across the full spectrum or specialise. Your professional qualification will prepare you equally for work with small or large animals, but you may have to undertake further courses in order to perform specialised procedures.

(Video) Veterinary Physiotherapy MSc


As an animal therapist, you'll:

  • treat a range of complaints, including spinal problems, joint problems and injuries to muscles, ligaments and tendons
  • facilitate post-surgical rehabilitation
  • devise exercise regimes for a range of conditions, from neurological conditions, to obesity, to preventative physiotherapy.

You'll also need to:

  • provide advice on adapting an animal's living environment
  • administer patient records.


  • Starting salaries are around £18,500 a year.
  • Experienced animal therapists (with more than five years’ experience) can earn £20,000 to £25,000.
  • Senior veterinary physiotherapists and consultants may earn up to £65,000 a year.

Many animal physiotherapists are self-employed and charge per appointment, which typically lasts one hour. Rates start from around £25 per appointment and reach £70 for longer appointments or more complex procedures.

Some self-employed animal physiotherapists are also trained human physiotherapists and offer 'horse and rider' physiotherapy consultations. These generally fetch higher rates.

Self-employed animal physiotherapists will also charge extra for travel to their client's home/practice.

Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

For full-time contracts the typical working hours are 37.5 per week, Monday to Friday. Part-time contracts are also common, and hours vary depending on the needs of the practice.

What to expect

  • Jobs are available in all locations across the country as well as in rural areas where there are a high concentration of horse races.
  • If you decide to open your own practice, be prepared to travel often and over large distances. A driving license will be essential.
  • It's essential to establish good relationships with local veterinary practices, as you can't treat animals unless they are referred to you by a veterinary surgeon.
  • Whether you work for a practice or are self-employed, you'll need to apply for professional indemnity and public liability insurance (PLI).
  • Exercising animals and carrying equipment can be physically challenging and therefore the job requires a good level of fitness.


At the moment, animal physiotherapy is not a protected title, so a variety of training routes are available. Regardless of the route you take, the job requires higher education training. However, you can choose what level of qualification you would like to study for.

Make sure you check which professional bodies you would like to join, as they'll often have the minimum education prerequisites for membership. Joining organisations before completing your training is advised, as they provide excellent networking opportunities as well as advertise upcoming jobs. Many organisations offer reduced membership rates for students.

(Video) Salary Of Physiotherapist || Salary In Physiotherapy

The most common routes into the profession are:

  • completing an undergraduate degree in human physiotherapy, followed by postgraduate training in animal/veterinary physiotherapy
  • completing an undergraduate degree in veterinary nursing, followed by postgraduate training in animal/veterinary physiotherapy
  • completing an undergraduate degree in veterinary physiotherapy, currently offered by Harper Adams University and Moreton Morrell College, part of Warwickshire College.

The postgraduate training offered is typically either at MSc or PGDip level.

Opportunities for in-house animal physiotherapists appear rarely, so many animal physiotherapists choose to be self-employed. If you are thinking about starting your own business, consider taking up a business course to learn about the administrative, legislative and accounting aspects of running a business.


To become an animal physiotherapist, you'll need to demonstrate:

  • a genuine concern for the wellbeing and health of animals
  • a real interest in anatomy and physiology.

You'll need to have the following skills:

  • strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • teamwork
  • an aptitude for problem solving
  • analytical skills
  • administrative and record-keeping skills.

You'll also need to be:

  • patient, sensitive, tactful and persistent
  • flexible and adaptable.

If you're thinking about starting your own business, you'll need entrepreneurial and enterprise skills.

Work experience

Work experience is essential, not only for securing your first job, but also often for being accepted onto the relevant study programmes. When checking the programme make sure you know if they require you to have prior work experience and how much they're looking for.

Your work experience is likely to be voluntary, and due to a practice's insurance policy, what you can do might be limited. However, this is an opportunity for you to watch surgeons, nurses and specialists perform their day-to-day duties. Don't be afraid to ask questions - the more you ask, the more you learn and the more likely you are to get involved with more advanced patient care procedures.

(Video) Life as an Equine (Horse) Physical Therapist with Barbara Parks | PT MEAL Podcast | FULL

Very few structured work experience schemes exist, however contacting employers directly and networking can often lead to volunteering opportunities, as the people who run veterinary practices and other animal healthcare organisations are likely to relate to your position.

Find out more about the different kinds ofwork experience and internshipsthat are available.


The majority of animal physiotherapists are self-employed. They advertise their offers through social media, professional websites and their membership of professional bodies. Professional body membership is also essential if you are looking for an in-house opportunity, as these will often be advertised through their websites and newsletters.

Forming and maintaining positive links with your local veterinary surgeries is essential, as animals have to be referred by a veterinary surgeon. Veterinary practices are also more likely to pay for your services directly to support their in-patients, if they have good relationships with you.

Opportunities don't come up often on national job sites, but keep an eye on the key, industry-specific ones:

Professional development

Once you start working as an animal physiotherapist, you're expected to keep up with the developments in animal healthcare, take part in continuing professional development (CPD), and attend conferences and seminars.

CPD training will allow you to further increase your knowledge, specialise and practice in a particular area of physiotherapy, or learn about ways of working will less common animals. Sometimes you'll have to complete a CPD training in order to perform certain procedures, for example, hydrotherapy.

The most common way of learning about any upcoming CPD or further development opportunities is through membership of professional organisations. Some of the largest are as follows:

Career prospects

Your career prospects and progression will depend largely on your own choices. Through CPD training you may choose to further specialise in one field of animal physiotherapy, such as neurorehabilitation or myotherapy. Once you have acquired sufficient practical and research experience in your chosen field you may wish to work as a lecturer or a consultant.

(Video) Veterinary Technologists and Technicians - Career Profile

If you're employed in-house, you may find opportunities for promotion to more senior or leadership positions. At the same time, if you're self-employed and establish a successful business, you may wish to consider employing other animal physiotherapists to support your client base.

A good way to develop your professional networks and additional transferable skills is through active participation in your professional bodies, where, depending on your organisation, you may choose to take on additional responsibilities, from membership of a committee to more senior leadership roles.

On a scale where 1 is dislike and 5 is like

Something went wrong. Please try again.

success feedback

Thank you for rating the page



How much do animal physiotherapists earn UK? ›

Starting salaries are around £18,500 a year. Experienced animal therapists (with more than five years' experience) can earn £20,000 to £25,000. Senior veterinary physiotherapists and consultants may earn up to £65,000 a year.

Is there a demand for physiotherapists in the UK? ›

The modelling predicts 6,700 extra physiotherapists will be needed by 2025 and 9,100 by 2030 because of rising demand. Demographic data cited in the modelling shows that by 2030, the number of older people with care needs is predicted to rise by 61 per cent and there will be 6.5 million more people in the UK.

How do I become an animal physiotherapist UK? ›

a degree in veterinary physiotherapy. a degree in human physiotherapy, approved by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, and a postgraduate course in veterinary physiotherapy. a postgraduate Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Physiotherapy through Canine and Equine Physiotherapy Training.

What is the highest paid physiotherapist UK? ›

This is 14.9% above the national average advertised salary of £35,511. The top companies hiring for Physiotherapist roles are Acacium Group, Nuffield Health and Maximus.
Highest Paying Areas for Physiotherapist, UK.
YoY Salary Change-2.9%
Average salary£43,429
9 more columns

What qualifications do I need to be an animal physiotherapist? ›

Qualifications and training

You can become a veterinary physiotherapist in several ways: complete a degree in human physiotherapy followed by postgraduate training in veterinary physiotherapy. complete a degree in veterinary physiotherapy. complete a postgraduate-level Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Physiotherapy.

How does animal physiotherapy work? ›

A Veterinary Physiotherapists would typically treat an animal on land and use a range of rehabilitation techniques to improve their physical condition. They may use massage techniques to treat a specific muscle group or practice strength training, conditioning exercises and controlled exercise.

Are physiotherapist on the shortage occupation list UK? ›

Senior care workers, physiotherapists and pharmacists are among the eight health and care occupations that have been newly added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), meaning employers will now find it easier to recruit overseas staff into these roles.

Are physiotherapists well paid UK? ›

In terms of average earnings in the private sector, industry data suggests that Physiotherapists earn somewhere between £35,000 and £40,000 a year. However, the same data shows that some starting salaries can be as low as £20,000, and top-end pay packets can be as high as £100,000 a year or beyond.

Is physiotherapy a good career in UK? ›

Overall across the UK, job prospects are good. Our research (CSP Survey of Graduate Physiotherapists) shows that most go directly into full-time permanent employment within the NHS, with temporary contracts quickly converting to permanent and prospects in other sectors equally positive.

Is animal physiotherapist a protected title? ›

Currently, the title 'Animal or Veterinary Physiotherapist' is not protected by law, which means that anyone, in theory, can call themselves this, regardless of their qualifications.

Can vet nurses do physiotherapy? ›

Veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses and hydrotherapists can make exceptionally good veterinary physiotherapists, and there are a number of courses available specifically for professionals working in these fields.

Can a vet nurse become a physiotherapist? ›

An RVN can become a veterinary physiotherapist by undertaking specific training for veterinary nurses. However, you can only become a Chartered Physiotherapist by completing a degree in (human) Physiotherapy. .

Where do physiotherapists make the most money? ›

The field of physical therapy has increased in popularity over the years.
10 States Where Physical Therapists Earn the Most Money.
RankState2018 Mean Annual Wage
3New Jersey$97,770
4New Mexico$97,210
6 more rows
Apr 4, 2019

Which country is best for physiotherapist? ›

The best countries for physiotherapy are the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and parts of western Europe. Due to the quality of healthcare in these countries, physiotherapy is taught to a high standard using the latest research methods.

Which physiotherapist earns the most? ›

Here are five types of high-paying specialties for physical therapists:
  1. Sports medicine. Physical therapists who specialize in sports medicine treat professional and amateur athletes. ...
  2. Cardiovascular. ...
  3. Geriatrics. ...
  4. Neurology. ...
  5. Pediatrics.
Nov 23, 2021

What is the biggest skills shortage in UK? ›

We'll expand on a few top jobs on the list:
  1. Nurses. The UK has faced a nurse shortage for a long time. ...
  2. Pharmacists. Pharmacists were also added to the UK's Shortage Occupation List in 2021. ...
  3. Engineers. There are also plenty of engineering jobs on the shortage occupation list. ...
  4. Secondary education teachers. ...
  5. Graphic designers.

What's the future of Physiotherapy? ›

Physiotherapy career can rise to a variety of challenging & interesting jobs in the health care system. As a Physiotherapist, you can get specializations in the fields such as geriatrics, cardiorespiratory, geriatrics, orthopaedics & neurology. You can also get a doctorate degree & work in the research field.

What challenges affect Physiotherapy in the UK? ›

A shortage of physiotherapists
  • Physiotherapy is a skilled profession.
  • There is a shortage of physiotherapists and demand is growing.
  • Shortages are unlikely to be met from domestic supply alone.
  • There is political support for including physiotherapy on the list.

What is the highest paid job in the UK? ›

1. Chief Financial Officer. A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the top financial position in any company.

Are physiotherapist underpaid? ›

In short physiotherapist are underpaid in government as well as private sectors. The main reason is lack of central council that can regulate the functioning of physiotherapist.

What is a Band 5 physiotherapist? ›

Most roles worked by newly-qualified physiotherapists will be band 5. Most physiotherapy support worker roles will be paid at band 3 or band 4 rates. On top of the basic pay for the band, staff can also earn overtime payments, on-call payments, and unsocial hour payments for standard hours worked at unsociable times.

Is physiotherapy a dying profession? ›

No. It isn't. Even Though the need and demand for Physiotherapists In this country is increasing, we don't get paid much. Considering the number of years and amount of efforts that you put in,you will not be satisfied with what you get.

What NHS band is a physiotherapist? ›

As a physiotherapist, you'll be paid on the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay system, typically starting on band 5. You'll also have access to our generous pension scheme and health service discounts, as well as 27 days of annual leave plus bank holidays.

Which university is best for physiotherapy in UK? ›

Top Five UK Universities for Physiotherapy
  • University of Southampton. ...
  • Robert Gordon University. ...
  • University of Liverpool. ...
  • University of Birmingham. ...
  • Glasgow Caledonian University.
Oct 12, 2021

Who is legally allowed to carry out physiotherapy on animals? ›

Animals cared for or treated by musculoskeletal therapists must be registered with a veterinary surgeon. Musculoskeletal therapists carry out a range of manipulative therapies, including physiotherapy, osteopathy and chiropractic therapy.

How do I become an animal Hydrotherapist? ›

There are no set entry requirements for becoming an Animal Hydrotherapist. Each company will set its own but as you'd expect, relevant experience and animal hydrotherapy ualifications will increase your employment potential. Many animal hydrotherapy centres offer on the job training.

Is physiotherapist a protected title? ›

The titles 'Physiotherapist' and 'Physical Therapist' are protected titles which means that by law they may only be used by people on the HCPC register. Members of the public can use it to check that a physiotherapist is registered.

What is passive physiotherapy veterinary? ›

Passive exercise - putting an affected joint through its normal range of motion to regain or retain joint mobility.

What is dog physiotherapy? ›

Canine physiotherapy is an effective way of providing pain relief in a variety of physical ailments. The purpose of the therapy is to regain functional ability of limbs and joints by optimising movement and thus improving quality of life.

How much does a vet get paid UK? ›

Salary. Starting salaries for newly-qualified vets are generally around £30,500 to £35,500. With further training and experience, your salary can rise to approximately £40,000 to £70,000. Vets working in large animal practices tend to earn more than those working with smaller animals.

What does a horse physio do? ›

Physiotherapists treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal problems. They manipulate and mobilise joints and soft tissue, use electrotherapies such as ultrasound and laser therapy, and prescribe exercise regimes.

How do I become a physiotherapy consultant? ›

To become a physiotherapist, individuals need a degree in physiotherapy recognised by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP). Undergraduate degrees usually take three years full time, or six years part time.

Which type of physiotherapy is best? ›

Orthopaedic physiotherapy is the most common form of physical therapy. It deals with the broadest range of issues. Sports physiotherapists use orthopaedic therapy to treat sports injuries. Still, we recommend this type of treatment for anybody recovering from surgeries involving their muscles or bones.

What are disadvantages of being a physical therapist? ›

  • You will need to earn a bachelor's degree. ...
  • You will need to earn a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree. ...
  • Do you have any idea how much this is going to cost? ...
  • How do you plan on paying for your schooling? ...
  • You must become licensed. ...
  • You will have to renew your license.

Why are physical therapists underpaid? ›

It comes down to three reasons why physical therapists are broke: High Student Loans. Low Starting Salaries. Lifestyle Creep.

Which Masters in physiotherapy is best? ›

  • MSc in Advanced Manipulative Physiotherapy. ...
  • Master of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy (Leuven) ...
  • University Diploma in Physical Activity and Quality of Life. ...
  • Master of Physiotherapy. ...
  • Master of Occupational Therapy. ...
  • MS in Physiotherapy. ...

How much does a Physiotherapist earn UK NHS? ›

Salary. Jobs in the NHS consist of nine pay bands and are usually covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay rates. Starting salaries for qualified physiotherapists (Band 5) range from £24,907 to £30,615. Senior physiotherapists can earn between £31,365 and £37,890 (Band 6).

How many registered physiotherapists are there in the UK? ›

In 2021, there were approximately 78 thousand physiotherapists employed in the United Kingdom. This represents a significant increase from the start of the provided time interval, when there were around 44 thousand physiotherapists employed in the country.

Is Physiotherapist a doctor in UK? ›

Final Answer. Yes, physiotherapists who complete advanced studies can be called a doctor.

Is physiotherapy a high paying job? ›

Employees as Physiotherapist earn an average of ₹22lakhs, mostly ranging from ₹3lakhs per year to ₹50lakhs per year based on 20 profiles. The top 10% of employees earn more than ₹30lakhs per year.

How much do Premier League physios get paid? ›

In League One, where 15 of the 24 clubs responded, the average highest earner is on £247,188 (£4,753 a week) and in League Two, where 14 responded, it is £114,020 (£2,192).

How do I become an animal Hydrotherapist? ›

There are no set entry requirements for becoming an Animal Hydrotherapist. Each company will set its own but as you'd expect, relevant experience and animal hydrotherapy ualifications will increase your employment potential. Many animal hydrotherapy centres offer on the job training.

How much does a vet get paid UK? ›

Salary. Starting salaries for newly-qualified vets are generally around £30,500 to £35,500. With further training and experience, your salary can rise to approximately £40,000 to £70,000. Vets working in large animal practices tend to earn more than those working with smaller animals.

How much do equine vets make UK? ›

An early career Equine Veterinarian with 1-4 years of experience earns an average total compensation (includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay) of £32,268 based on 32 salaries. A mid-career Equine Veterinarian with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of £41,985 based on 12 salaries.

WHAT A levels do you need to be an equine physiotherapist? ›

Choose Science at A-level

To be a Physio, most Universities want A and B grades at A-Level, and they want at least one science subject (normally biology) but it does vary and some may stipulate 2 science subjects.

What is an animal physiotherapist? ›

An animal physical therapist (or a rehabilitation veterinarian) rehabilitates animals that have had surgery or an amputation, been injured or suffer from chronic pain so that they may enjoy a higher quality of life.

What does a Hydrotherapist do? ›

Aquatic therapy, or hydrotherapy as it's also known, involves special exercises that you do in a warm-water pool. The water temperature is usually 33–36ºC, which is warmer than a typical swimming pool.

Is becoming a vet harder than a doctor? ›

Many of the prerequisites for these schools are similar because biology and chemistry are needed in the veterinary and medical fields. Though aspiring med students have to take the MCAT before applying to medical school, most people agree that vet school is harder than medical school.

What is the highest paid job in the UK? ›

1. Chief Financial Officer. A Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is the top financial position in any company.

What is the highest paid vet job UK? ›

Highest paying cities for Veterinarians in England
  • Prescot. 9 salaries reported. £86,577.
  • Doncaster. 12 salaries reported. £86,577.
  • Liverpool. 31 salaries reported. £76,124.
  • Leeds. 97 salaries reported. £71,263.
  • Coventry. 79 salaries reported. £63,060.

What is the highest paying job with horses? ›

High-paying equine careers
  • Ranch manager. ...
  • Equine insurance agent. ...
  • Equestrian program director. ...
  • Equestrian association administrator. ...
  • Equine supply sales representative. ...
  • Equine surgeon. ...
  • Occupational therapist. National average salary: $84,301 per year. ...
  • Equine veterinarian. National average salary: $105,190 per year.
Aug 18, 2021

How much does a zoo vet make UK? ›

How much money does a Zoo Veterinarian make in United Kingdom? A person working as a Zoo Veterinarian in United Kingdom typically earns around 83,800 GBP per year. Salaries range from 41,100 GBP (lowest) to 131,000 GBP (highest). This is the average yearly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits.

What degree do you need to be an equine vet UK? ›

To pursue a career as an equine vet, you'll need to complete a general veterinary degree at an approved Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) university. There are currently seven vet schools in the UK. Depending on the university, this is a five or six-year course.

How do I become a physiotherapist without going to university UK? ›

You can bypass university by taking up a part-time degree apprenticeship in physiotherapy, as long as you're over 18 and have done your A levels, an IB or an advanced apprenticeship.

Can I do physiotherapy without biology? ›

No, you cannot take a Physiotherapy as your career if you have not taken biology in class 12th because for enrolling you need to have an aggregate mark of 50% in Biology, Physics, Chemistry. Physiotherapy course has subjects that is purely based on human Biology. So Biology is a must.

What GCSEs do you need for physiotherapy? ›

five GCSEs (grades A-C), including English language, maths and at least one science.
Entry requirements
  • a BTEC, HND or HNC, including biological science.
  • a relevant NVQ.
  • a science-based access course.
  • equivalent Scottish or Irish qualifications.
  • a previous degree or a full practicing qualification in a related area.


1. Master of Public health in UK . Good enough to get job and Settle in UK????
(My Friend Abroad)
2. What|Is|BPT|Bachelor|Physiotherapy|Course|Details|Top|Colleges|Scope|Tamil|Muruga MP
(Open Your Mind With Muruga MP)
3. Physical Therapy Q&A | Advice for PT Students | Career Advice | Career Goals
(Nicole Surdyka)
4. 7 highest paying jobs in the UK without a degree 2019/2020 | Earn over £100k
(StandOut CV)
5. How To Become An Physiotherapist||Salaries, Qualification, Benefits, Notification, Courses#Uneek
(UNEEK info)

You might also like

Latest Posts

Article information

Author: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Last Updated: 10/06/2022

Views: 6581

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (53 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner

Birthday: 1994-06-25

Address: Suite 153 582 Lubowitz Walks, Port Alfredoborough, IN 72879-2838

Phone: +128413562823324

Job: IT Strategist

Hobby: Video gaming, Basketball, Web surfing, Book restoration, Jogging, Shooting, Fishing

Introduction: My name is Rev. Porsche Oberbrunner, I am a zany, graceful, talented, witty, determined, shiny, enchanting person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.