An animal hydrotherapist applies hydrotherapy techniques to animals, primarily dogs, to help them recover from injury, as a pain management technique or as a low impact form of exercise. A vet refers animals to a hydrotherapist for treatment and rehabilitation following surgery or injury.
In day to day work you may; work alongside vets and pet owners, safely and effectively carry out hydrotherapy treatment using specialised equipment e.g. hydrotherapy pool and underwater treadmill, design and implement programmes for each individual case, monitor and record the animal’s treatment progress, water management of the hydrotherapy pools.
Key Skills Required:
- Ability to swim & feel comfortable in and around water
- Animal handling experience
- Good observation skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Effective team work skills
Key Points to Know:
- Majority of work will be indoors using specialised equipment such as hydrotherapy pools and water treadmills.
- May be required to work unsociable hours e.g. evenings and weekends.
To be an Animal Hydrotherapist you will need to:
Study a recognised hydrotherapy qualification such as the ABC Awards Level 3 Certificate/ Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals and the OCNLR Level 3 in Canine Hydrotherapy or something similar within the field of veterinary care. You should also have experience working within an animal care/ veterinary environment.
Other qualifications such as animal first aid, canine anatomy and physiology, and hydrotherapy theory would help to strengthen your application and put you ahead of competitors. If you are a qualified hydrotherapist it would also be advantageous to be registered with the National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (NARCH) or Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA).
It is worth noting a lot of hydrotherapists have studied animal care, animal welfare and management or veterinary nursing before going on to study hydrotherapy.
Estimated average salary: £14,000 – £20,000 annually.
As an Animal Hydrotherapist, you can anticipate employment in a variety of roles including:
- Hydrotherapy Centres
- Vet Practices
- Animal Care, Rehabilitation and Boarding Centres
Being an Animal Hydrotherapist allows you to work in a challenging environment, be hands-on with animals and puts you in a position to attend CPD short courses and training to keep your knowledge and skills up to date. Undertaking a set amount of CPD per year is a requirement of the National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists.