May 18, 2022

When & how to refer

Referral to an ACPAT Veterinary Physiotherapist from the veterinary surgeon is best done early on in the healing process (ref)  because it is easier to prevent movement issues and to promote quality healing than it is to try to undo compromised tissues and movement strategies. We are professional clinicians who work alongside the vets providing regular updates and discuss the next stages of rehabilitation.

Professional Insurance

Chartered physiotherapist have professional indemnity insurance for physiotherapy treatments. In making this referral, the vet is not responsible for any physiotherapy assessment or treatment given, and the provision of  it is the responsibility of the Chartered Physiotherapist. You will be kept informed of said treatment. Pet insurance companies cover physiotherapy by ACPAT physiotherapists..

How to refer:

Either use the Online Veterinary Referral or fill out and save the referral document Classic Physiotherapy Vet Referral Consent form OR PRINT
vet referral form PDF format for printing with the client details and history and then email the document to me. I will then contact the client and let you know when I have booked the appointment. Once I have seen the client I will send you a report about my assessment and treatment. Information on the form will NOT be used for marketing nor shared with any other person nor organisation.

Common conditions Physio provides assessment and treatment for
small animals

Athletic poor performance
Cranial Cruciate Ligament tear – conservative, pre and post op
Chronic Degenerative Radiculomyelopathy (CDRM)
Elbow Dysplasia
Femoral head and neck excision
Fibrocartilage Embolism
Fracture repair (from immediately post op)
Hip Dysplasia
Hip Replacement
Intervertebral Disc Disease
Muscle injury or strain
Patella Luxation – conservative, pre and post op
Polyradiculoneuropathy and other neurological conditions affecting movement.
Tendon and Ligament injury

large animals

Box rest
Colic – post op
CVM with mild neuro signs
Fracture repair
Locking stifle
Muscle imbalance
Muscle injury or strain
Poor performance
Tendon and Ligament injury

Any condition affecting movement in small and large animals.

Are you unsure how physio can help animals post-op and post injury or for long term conditions? I am happy to come to do a talk and presentation to your surgery. I will answer any questions you have and show how research for rehabilitation in people is relevant and can be adapted to animals for better outcomes both short and long term. Or just call me to chat about a particular case and we can see if physio is relevant.

Some vets worry that physios will “exercise” the animal when they have prescribed rest – we don’t. During confinement stages of healing we do proprioception  & core stability work and promote tissue healing (ref) . We would not advocate exercising the animal without first talking it through with the vet at the relevant stage. Physio helps owner compliance to vet’s instructions for confinement because our treatment aids relaxation and coping strategies of the patient, along with managment advice to help an owner with an animal on limited mobility.

Treatment at a late stage or when all else has failed is less effective and this means that physiotherapy is looked upon as a waste of time and money. Prevention of issues is better during healing than trying to pick up the pieces.  Physiotherapy input often increases owner compliance to veterinary instructions and is useful in picking up early signs of problems which an owner may not realise (ref) .

This quote epitomises physio rehab: “Knowledge of the stages of tissue healing and of the strength of tissues is critical to avoid placing too much stress on the surgical (or injured) site, yet some challenge to tissues must be provided to optimize the return to function.“ (Davidson et al 2005) Abstract

So refer:

  • immedietly post op (orthopaedic or neuro)
  • for planned operations , as early prior to operation as possible
  • immedietly after soft tissue injury – tendon, ligament, muscle
  • when muscle pain or stiff joints are present
  • for conservative treatment (e.g dysplasias, non-operatives)
  • arthritis
  • horses on box rest for any reason

Most  Insurance companies pay for physiotherapy by an ACPAT Veterinary Physiotherapist up to the policy complementary therapy limit or vet fees limit.  Classic Physiotherapy Vet Referral Form