Rehabilitation therapists have a genuine desire to help paired with a tenacious nature and years of schooling. This is an incredibly hands on field which requires not only physical strength but a great deal of interaction with the animals.
What You Need
Therapists are working with animals in pain, often due to a tramua of some degree. This requires a steady hand and a level of compassion for animals who have been injured emotionally as well as physically. This also means the ability to calm owners with high stress levels. This is a position which benefits from an aptitude for physiology and applied science, independent thinking and strength of character.
A calm demeanor, endless patience and an in-depth knowledge of horse anatomy are pivotal characteristics of a good rehabilitation therapist.
Using active exercises to facilitate restoration of normal function in injured animals. This includes a wide variety of techniques and applications tailored specifically to meet the individual needs of each animal.
Handling a variety of animal temperaments
Treatment & rehabilitation following injury & surgury
Development of treatment plan & goals
Use of ultrasound, hydrotherapy, ice, massage and mobilization techniques
Advise regarding injured athlete animals in training
Determining proper feeding & nutrition for healing
Often charged with total care of rehab animals
Exercise on a number of levels, hand walking, line work, balance exercises and under saddle
Immediate first aid & health concerns
Not only must candidates have graduated high school and college, but they must also carry a masters degree in rehab therapy. Rehab therapists must also take a national exam and be licensed by the state and country in which they practice.
Applicants may also require
A clinical doctorate in physical therapy
Certification in clinical specialty
Electrophysiological testing & measurement certification
A few places to start if you are interested in a career as a rehabilitation therapist.
*Links open in a new window
American Physical Therapy Association
The Canadian Horse & Animal Physical Therapists Association
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