California Association of Animal Physical Therapists 0

Physical Therapy for Animals in California

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***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


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