Animal Physical Therapist

An animal physical therapist (or a rehabilitation veterinarian) rehabilitates animals that have had surgery or an amputation, been injured, suffer from chronic pain or have mobility issues based on their age. An animal physical therapist’s goal is to rehabilitate animals so that they may enjoy a higher quality of life.

What Responsibilities Will I Have?

  • Complete various examinations and testing for diagnosis and ongoing maintenance of animals
  • Determine a proper rehabilitation or recovery plan
  • Communicate with clients and veterinarians to agree on a rehabilitation plan and determine medical treatment
  • Utilize laser therapy, ultrasound, shockwave and radiography equipment
  • Assist animal patients in strengthening and exercise routines
  • Perform stretches and massages on animal patients
  • Organize follow-up examinations with clients following completion of rehabilitation
  • Adhere to standard safety protocols and maintain a clean, sterile environment

Recommended High School Courses:

  • agricultural education
  • biology
  • anatomy
  • animal science
  • mathematics

Education/Training Required:

A minimum of a master’s degree in physical therapy is required for this path. However, veterinarians with a doctorate in veterinary medicine, veterinary technicians with a bachelor’s degree or assistant physical therapists with a bachelor’s degree may also work as animal physical therapists. There are typically emphases or concentrations on animal physical therapy that you may pursue while earning your degree.

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