Maintaining the standards of Animal Physiotherapy during Covid-19

Please scroll down the homepage for ACPAT's current stance and advice on animal physiotherapy provision during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Coronavirus advice to animal owners

ACPAT Statement on Animal Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Working Practices- UPDATED 19.06.2020

The Government announced today that the UK's coronavirus alert level has been downgraded from four to three. According to the alert levels, this means that there will be a gradual reduction in restrictions.

ACPAT’s position is that animal physiotherapy and rehabilitation should be able to return to managing all types of cases, no matter the urgency. Limiting client contact and maintaining social distancing and appropriate PPE should still apply. We will still be following the RCVS and Public Health England guidance until this changes, which is likely over the next couple of weeks. The RCVS flow chart is still current, recommending supporting cases in person if needed whilst abiding by the appropriate physical distancing guidance for work places to protect the team and the public. Risk assessments will still be needed and consideration of movement of people to, from, and around the premises will be included. The CSP still requires us to uphold their standards of assessing and managing risk, and establishing and maintaining a safe environment. 

A ‘Virtual First’ approach is still recommended as it enables practitioners to triage, risk assess and gain as much information as possible without client contact. This ‘Virtual First’ approach may take the form of a video consult, phone call, email, online forms, and/or messages Members will still be prioritising cases which are emergencies, urgent, or essential to maintaining the health and welfare of an animal. ACPAT cannot make clinical decisions on behalf of its members; the clinical decision making and risk assessment process rests with the individual physiotherapist, who must decide for themselves whether to see a client face-to-face or not.

ACPAT physiotherapy practices throughout the UK continue doing their best to ensure physiotherapy care is provided, whilst prioritising your safety and that of their teams.

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The Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy (ACPAT) is a Professional Network Group of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and represents the interests of Chartered Physiotherapists working in Animal Therapy.

Our aim is to:

  • Be a dynamic and progressive organisation
  • Lead the field by raising standards of Animal Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation
  • Promote excellence through ongoing education & research
  • Support cohesion and development between Veterinary Medicine & Veterinary Rehabilitation

Animals, like people, respond to Physiotherapy. The purpose of physiotherapy is to restore and maintain mobility, function, independence and performance. From the management of joint or spinal problems to rehabilitation after fractures or any injury, animal physiotherapy is now considered an essential addition to medical and surgical treatment.

Animal Physiotherapy, also known veterinary physiotherapy, is used to treat and prevent a range of problems animals can experience. While no two species are exactly alike, neither are two animals of the same species emphasizing why it's so important to tailor the physiotherapy to the animal's specific needs.

Chartered Physiotherapists have specialist knowledge in anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and pathology. They use findings from detailed assessments to tailor treatments to each animal's condition and stage of the problem. ACPAT Physiotherapists can cover the treatment of domestic pets, horses, farm animals to even exotic pets and zoo animals.


All full members of ACPAT must be annually subscribing full practising members of the CSP. Those members practising physiotherapy on humans must be registered with the HCPC. Category A and Category B members are required to have Professional & Public Liability Indemnity in order to practise on animals.
There are differing categories of membership. Below is the requirements for each membership to help guide you to which fits you best.

A Membership

  • Includes benefits from Cat B/C plus
  • Access to Wiley online journals
  • Listing on Find a Physio database
  • Access to promotional materials and merchandise
  • Use of ACPAT Branding

B Membership

  • Includes benefits from Cat C plus
  • Discount for ACPAT courses
  • ACPAT Block Insurance Scheme
  • Support from Education Officer
  • CPD and Peer Support via Regional Groups

C Membership

  • Access to members area on ACPAT Website
  • Four Front Journal and Newsletter
  • Discount for ACPAT Seminar
  • Access to selected ACPAT courses