Do you want to work as an Animal Hydrotherapist?

What does an a career as an Animal Hydrotherapist involve?

Animal Hydrotherapy sessions are used as a form of rehabilitation following injury, or major surgery. Vets increasingly refer small animals to certified hydrotherapists, who create and implement a suitable course of treatment.

Hydrotherapy is an excellent way to gradually improve the strength and conditioning following surgery, or an injury as it is low-impact.

Additionally, hydrotherapy can be used to benefit animals requiring to lose weight. As it is a low impact form of exercise, there is a lower risk of injury. It is also a great stress-busting activity, which can help improve overall circulation, reduce joint and muscle pain and benefit general welfare.

Relevant Training

Animal Hydrotherapy is a medical treatment and therefore all Animal Hydrotherapists must be qualified to practice and offer treatments. To work as a registered Animal Hydrotherapist, it is essential to gain a regulated qualification such as the Ofqual Regulated Level 3 Diploma in Small Animal Hydrotherapy (Ofqual Qualification Code: 603/4410/6).

The Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals enables students to develop the required knowledge for working as an animal hydrotherapist to provide small animal hydrotherapy for a variety of small animals including dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals that the hydrotherapist may come across in day to day practice.

This highly sought after qualification consists of a blend of theory and practical training that includes:

  • The principles of animal hydrotherapy and treadmill therapy, as well as guidance on how these therapies can be used.
  • Details on the conditions that hydrotherapy can benefit. These are primarily orthopaedic, medical and neurological in nature, and therapists will need to be well-versed in these issues so as to accurately administer therapy.
  • First aid and dealing with emergencies for small animals- this is essential for therapists who intend to work in animal healthcare and it is an essential requirement to practice as a hydrotherapist.
  • Practical administration of hydrotherapy for dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals.
  • Small Animal Behaviour relevant to dogs, cats, rabbits and other small animals in a therapeutic setting.
  • Thorough guidance on learning to assess an animal’s likely outcome from hydrotherapy and how to ascertain whether the treatment is suitable for a specific case.
  • Background information is provided on small animal anatomy and biology, so as to ensure excellent and robust baseline medical knowledge among those administering hydrotherapy.

As well as theory study, the Level 3 Diploma in Small Animal Hydrotherapy also involves a large amount of practical training and assessment spread over 6 days. This includes:

  • Working with highly qualified, experienced hydrotherapists and veterinary physiotherapists learning how the treatment is used in a working rehabilitation clinic. This includes pool hydrotherapy and hydrotherapy treadmill treatments, including innovative advanced aquatic treadmill techniques.
  • Hands on training with a variety of dogs attending for rehabilitation and sports conditioning.
  • The basic fundamentals of administering hydrotherapy, such as assessment, handling of the patient, managing the equipment and other elements that are essential for effective treatment.
  • Learning to manage aftercare for an animal that has experienced a session of hydrotherapy, and how to interact with pet owners to discuss performance during the session.
  • All paperwork requirements are discussed and information provided regarding the completion of this element for report writing in hydrotherapy.
  • Practical first aid training to learn how to deal with potential emergency situations within a hydrotherapy centre.
  • 6 days of intensive hands-on training and assessments with our team of experienced Vets, Physiotherapists and Hydrotherapists at Woozelbears, a well established canine hydrotherapy company in Witney, Oxfordshire. This centre has top of the range equipment including underwater treadmills, large bespoke pools, hydrotherapy spa, the 2nd gait analysis treadmill in the UK and a team of highly qualified personnel.
  • This practical placement enables students to learn from experienced professionals in the industry whilst working with a range cases at different stages of treatment.

Practical Aquatic Treadmill Therapy and Advanced Treadmill Techniques also included - this is valuable training for hydrotherapists and is unique to this qualification.

The minimum age for access to this qualification is 16 years. When achieved, students will gain 44 Credits at Level 3.

Progression Routes:

This qualification can be used by students to gain employment in the animal care sector, to set up their own animal hydrotherapy business or to progress to further study in the animal hydrotherapy / physiotherapy sector.

Regular further training courses are required to keep up to date with current best practice, and new therapy techniques.

The Level 4 Diploma in Small Animal Hydrotherapy has been developed as a progression route for any working, registered animal hydrotherapists who have completed the Level 3 Diploma in Small Animal Hydrotherapy. Upon completion, students can then progress to Levels 5 and 6 Veterinary Physiotherapy.

These Animal Hydrotherapy courses are offered by Animal Jobs Direct as blended learning and consist of online theory training and intensive practical training. Flexible learning enables students to fit their studies around their other commitments. Students can chose from a 4 month fast track, 1 year or 2 year study option.

For more information or to enrol, please contact Animal Jobs Direct on 0208 6269646 or visit our website:

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