Physical Therapy for Animals

Sponsored by:

California Association of Animal Physical Therapists (CAAPT)


Protect your rights as a consumer to choose which qualified provider you want to provide physical therapy and rehabilitation for your animals. Please show your support by signing this petition.

Our challenge:

We/Physical therapists/consumers are facing significant resistance from the California Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and Veterinary Medical Board (VMB). Their objective is to write legislation that would only allow veterinarians to provide animal physical rehabilitation services (including massage, exercise, etc.). Assembly Bill 1980 was their first attempt to make such laws. Fortunately due to overwhelming consumer opposition the animal physical therapy language was removed before the bill reached the Senate floor. Senate Bill 697 was similar.

Currently the approved regulatory language shows the agenda remains the same: limit your access to any, safe rehabilitation services for your animals.

How you can help:

A physical therapist's unique skill set is different than a veterinarian's and certainly more advanced than a veterinary technician's. Your signature helps clarify to the CVMA/VMB that having access to a physical therapist's skills is important to you and crucial to you for the care of your animals.

Restricting consumer access to physical rehabilitation AND wellness-type services delivered only by a veterinarian or in a veterinarian's clinic (including for horses) would significantly increase your cost for these services, would not result in increased safety, and most importantly will take away your right to choose who you want to treat your animals.

Your signature will send a strong message to the VMB and CVMA that you want to protect your rights as a consumer and animal owner to make choices when it comes to care for your animals. Please encourage others to read and sign this petition.

If you are ready please sign this petition or for more information please continue reading.

CAAPT Position:

We/Physical therapists (with advanced training in physical therapy for animals):

*Are accepted and legitimate providers of physical therapy services for animal patients.

*Seek to provide consumers and their pets with access to the most current and effective physical therapy services that are already accessible in other states and countries around the world.

*Must demonstrate competency through certification in animal physical therapy and/or demonstrate advanced skill and experience in animal physical therapy.

*Propose to provide animal physical therapy services only after a veterinary examination has been completed followed by veterinary medial clearance stating that the animal is appropriate for treatment. Physical therapists are accustomed to providing care for patients together with the primary physician through regular communication. By utilizing a similar approach with animals, clients are able to access the highest quality of care along with continued veterinary oversight to ensure patient safety.

If you are ready please sign this petitionor for more information please continue reading.

History and Background:

Physical therapy for animals includes the physical therapy examination and evidenced-based treatment for animal patients, in collaboration with the veterinarian of record and client/owner/handler, to detect, assess, prevent, correct, alleviate, or limit physical disability, movement dysfunction, or pain from injury, disease and other bodily conditions.

Physical therapy for animals does not include chiropractic (musculoskeletal manipulation) services nor does it include making a veterinary medical diagnosis.

Potential physical therapists complete masters or doctoral degrees in physical therapy (DPT); most schools have already transitioned to DPT programs, exclusively. Graduates are required to pass state and national board exams to practice. However that just means they are legal to practice. Physical therapists have the burden of competency in their particular practice area be it geriatric, pediatric, hand-therapy, sports or animal, for instance. Therefore, licensed physical therapists that provide physical therapy for animals have advanced education, training and certification in physical therapy of the veterinary patient.

Physical therapists around the world for many years have already established collegial, successful relationships with veterinarians to provide the highest quality of physical therapy services to animals with either veterinary referral or indirect veterinary case management. There is neither cause nor logical reason why California should be any different.


California Association of Animal Physical Therapists



  • Jeffrey Doornbos Our dog would not be in the amazing place she's in without ongoing care in physical therapy. She doesn't need a vet, she needs physical therapy. We always have full confidence in our care provider (Karen Atlas, Hydropaws), and rely on her for information and advice fully. As a result, our lab is healthy and back in action after a near fatal accident.

  • Paola Carrasco We should be able to.chose.

  • christy arias Let physical therapists do their job!

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Recent signatures

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    Christopher Powers

    1 week ago Comments: -
  • username

    Joanna Hunt

    3 months ago Comments: There are brilliant physical therapists that have made animals' lives so much better. Please do not make this opportunity/valuable service harder to obtain. In the end, only the animals will suffer. Injuries cost loving pet owners thousands. Bringing these pets back to a place where there is quality of life and happiness depends on available, affordable rehabilitation services.
  • username

    Sharon Colayco

    3 months ago Comments: Danielle Robbins' PT care of our whippet was extremely beneficial in the recovery of his sprung toe. Animal Physical Therapists like Danielle should be allowed to continue to be allowed to provide care for pets.
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