On this website we aim to provide answers to your questions about the regulation of equine osteopathy, standards of training and practice, how to find an equine osteopath, what to expect when your horse sees an equine osteopath and what to do if you have concerns about an osteopath or your treatment.

To help us do this, we list below some of the questions we are most frequently asked, along with the answers. Just click on the question itself and the answer will be revealed.

How long do equine osteopathic appointments last?

In general, the initial consultation treatment lasts up to 60 minutes, and subsequent treatments around half an hour. The first appointment is usually slightly longer to allow for a full case history to be taken.

How much does treatment cost?

Please see fees section of our website

What are the techniques and what are the benefits?

Combination of articulation, which is movement of the joints, traction and some soft tissue. The aim is to increase range and quality of movement

What can I expect on my first visit from an equine osteopath?

At the first consultation, the equine osteopath will compile a full case history of the symptoms, as well as asking for information about lifestyle and diet. The osteopath may also observe some simple movements to help them make a diagnosis. Equine osteopaths are trained to examine areas of animals body using a highly-developed sense of touch, known as palpation, to determine conditions and identify the body’s points of weakness or excessive strain. Osteopathy is a ‘package’ of care that includes skilled mobilising and manipulative techniques, reinforced by guidance on diet and exercise.The osteopath will discuss with you the most appropriate treatment plan, estimating the likely number of sessions needed to treat any identified condition effectively. If the osteopath thinks that the horses’ condition is unlikely to respond to osteopathic treatment, you will be advised about how to seek further care. Equine Osteopaths are skilled in diagnostic techniques and trained to identify when a patient needs to be referred to a vet.

What is actually done?

The initial session (once permission has been sought from your vet) consists of – Case History – symptoms, onset, history, past medical history, active examination (walk, trot, circles, sometimes ridden), passive examination starting at hoof and finishing at spine. Explanation of findings to owner and how osteopathy may help – what I can do and can’t do; prognosis; treatment plan Treatment Rehab exercise prescription and specific ridden work Guidance and advice on saddlery and dentistry

What is equine osteopathy?

Equine osteopathy is a primary care profession, focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders, and the effects of these conditions on a horses’ general health. Using many of the diagnostic procedures applied in conventional medical assessment, equine osteopaths seek to restore the optimal functioning of the horses’ body, where possible without the use of drugs or surgery. Equine osteopathy is based on the principle that the horses’ body has the ability to heal, and equine osteopathic care focuses on strengthening the musculoskeletal systems to treat existing conditions and to prevent illness. Equine osteopaths’ patient-centred approach to health and well-being means they consider symptoms in the context of the animals full medical history, as well as their lifestyle and circumstances. This holistic approach ensures that all treatment is tailored to the individual horse. Osteopathy is a “whole body” system of manual therapy, based on unique biomechanical principles, which uses a wide range of techniques to treat musculoskeletal problems and other functional disorders of the horse’s body. Human osteopathy was developed in America in the 1870’s by a Missouri Doctor, Andrew Taylor Still, and has developed to the point where it is now widely recognised throughout the world as one of the most scientifically validated and effective “complementary” therapies. Equine osteopathy is a more recent phenomenon with equine osteopaths extending many of the techniques applicable to human osteopathy to horses.

Who should you see - osteopath, chiropractor or physio?

Osteopath vs chiropractor vs physio? All three professions have an extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics, yet the technique treatments and aims can be quite different. The important thing is choosing a professional registered practitioner who is right for you and your horse. The title osteopath and chiropractor and protected, meaning your practitioner has undergone normally a 4 or 5 year qualification to a minimum of BSc level and also works in human practice. There is a register to confirm this at the General Osteopathic Council, www.osteopathy.org.uk or the General Chiropractic Council, www.gcc-uk.com. The term physiotherapist is protected within the human field but in the animal world anyone can call themselves a veterinary physiotherapist. Therefore it’s best to check the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy, www.acpat.org. Osteopathy is a specialist manual therapy using advanced palpation skills in conjunction with soft tissue techniques, joint articulation and manipulation to relieve pain, improve performance and recovery time after injury and is non-invasive. The horse is treated holistically, rather than as a condition and each treatment is personalised to each horse. Chiropractic is centred mainly on alignment of the spine, little soft tissue techniques are used but mainly manipulation. Physiotherapists are excellent at restoring and maintaining mobility, particularly following trauma or surgical procedure. This in association with osteopathy works very well.

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