Sign Petition

Physical Therapy for Animals in California

California Association  of Animal Physical Therapists
California Association of Animal Physical Therapists
2,924 Signatures Goal: 5,000

***UPDATE AS OF AUGUST 1, 2015***


SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 9:00AM

1747 N. MARKET BLVD. STE. 230, SACRAMENTO, CA. 95834



Animal Rehabilitation

"(a) The term animal rehabilitation (AR) is the use of the physical, chemical and other properties of thermal, magnetic, biofeedback technology, hydrotherapy, such as underwater treadmills, light, electricity, sound, therapeutic massage, manual therapy, and active, and resistive exercise for the prevention, cure or relief of a wound, fracture, bodily injury, or disease of animals. AR includes physical rehabilitation evaluation, treatment planning, instruction and consultative services, and treatments and therapies.

"AR may be performed only by the following persons: A California licensed Physical therapist (PT) or a registered veterinary technician (RVT) working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian."

This means that ANYONE else will be working with animals illegally, according to the California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB), regardless of whether they can afford to have a veterinarian work with them and or be employed by one.

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 a rule into law that would only allow veterinarians to provide independent (or even indirect) animal physical rehabilitation as defined in their language (including massage, exercise, etc.). Assembly Bill 1980 was their first attempt to make such a law. 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.

Another challenge is that most California consumers are not aware of this NEW pending rule nor are animal lay professionals who have been safely and historically providing alternative care to California's animals for decades.

Currently the approved regulatory language shows the agenda remains the same: limit your access to any safe rehabilitation services for your animals by only allowing qualified PTs to work under the restriction of direct supervision of a veterinarian.

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




September 6
California jobs eliminated with legal consequences to our animal service providers. This is not just about access to care for your animals by qualified PTs. Other animal practitioners that will be negatively affected by the CVMB proposed regulations. According to Business and Professions Code 4826 "treatment of whatever nature for the prevention...or relief...of animals” falls under the practice of Veterinary Medicine. If the Animal Rehabilitation (AR) proposed regulations pass, with the current language, many jobs will be eliminated in California. Has the California Veterinary Medical Board (CVMB) considered the impact this will have on many other working professionals that provide services to animals? The regulations specifically state that no one can exercise an animal or massage them, even for prevention, unless a veterinarian, or RVT or PT provides those services and only if the veterinarian is present. There are many forms of active exercise administered by trainers in the canine and equine world including agility, flyball, dressage, core strengthening, balance and body awareness training. Even activities performed by pet sitters/walkers, would be included and illegal unless the ‘trainers’ were of the above listed licensed professionals and of course a vet was present. What will happen with any professional that “administers an appliance” (also considered part of Veterinary Medicine) like an orthotist that makes a brace for a dog’s joint problem? What about practitioners like massage therapists that utilize hands on techniques like Reiki, Healing Touch and Acupressure since they are used for prevention or relief? We must continue to spread the work. Send your letters to: California Veterinary Medical Board 1747 N. Market Boulevard Suite 230 Sacramento, California 95834-2987 (916) 515-5220 Licensing Fax: (916) 928-6849 Enforcement Fax: (916) 928-6852 E-mail:

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  • Joshua Telsey
    Joshua Telsey United States
    Dec 15, 2016
    Dec 15, 2016
    If a PT has completed all necessary course work and has obtained a certification in animal rehabilitation they should be able to work with animals without supervision. The animal should be evaluated and referred to the PT by a licensed veterinarian first but no on-site supervision needed just good communication between the PT and referring vet.
  • Anonymous
    Oct 22, 2016
    Oct 22, 2016
    Before you vote, check out this very helpful eye-opener video: Hillary Clinton: A Career Criminal:
  • Kim Fleming
    Kim Fleming United States, Houston
    Sep 12, 2016
    Sep 12, 2016
    Message techniques and stretching is not an all inclusive service to only veterinarians and their assistants. I am a professional equine groom. I work along side trainers and their vets. I am trusted to the care and well being of their horses by many. I know the horse I handle very well, much of the time I know the horses needs better than the owners. Grooming is messaging. Picking up feet and applying a ten second hold of a stretch before placing them back on the ground as a square stance is beneficial. I often do this for the horse after his ride. I am against limiting beneficial practices by this strict guideline to only licensed veterinarians.
  • Chloe Morrison
    Chloe Morrison Australia
    Jan 26, 2016
    Jan 26, 2016
    Please make this happen. I love all animals dearly, and I support anything that will help them 100%. Let people choose whose care their animals are in.
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