Canine osteopathy

Canine osteopathy applies the same osteopathic principles to the treatment of your best friend to enable them to live a happy, pain-free life.

Helen is qualified to treat muscle and skeletal problems within dogs. She is a member of both the Association of Animal Osteopaths and Animal Centred Education.

Canine training was undertaken with ‘Animal Osteopathy International’ which provides  internationally recognised courses validated by the European College of Osteopathy

Often the first sign of pain within dogs is behavioural changes, she therefore works in conjunction with a number of dog trainers and registered canine behaviourists. She is also a member of the ACE (Animal Centred Education) group and ensures that treatments are within your dog’s capability. Owners are encouraged to bring a favourite toy, or treats to settle their pet.

What you need to do:

Before canine treatment can begin veterinary consent is required. Your dogs vet is their primary health carer and as such they take overall responsibility for your animal. Without this consent osteopathic treatment can not take place. You will therefore be asked to provide address details for yourself and veterinary surgery plus your dogs breed and date of birth, if known.

Many pet insurance policies will cover manual therapy so do check with your insurer.

What to expect:

  • A detailed questionnaire is emailed to you prior to the appointment. The questions aim to establish your dogs previous history including medication/surgery. In addition to their medical history it asks about the environment they live in, nutrition, exercise, behavioural changes, traumas, stresses etc. Upon your completion this will be further discussed and further information obtained from your vet, if required.
  • You will be asked to walk, trot, run as short distance with your dog on a lead to assess their gait. This gives lots of information about both active spinal and joint movement and how their body interacts as a whole. Problems often exist in areas that are not initially obvious.
  • Your pet’s posture, muscle tone, structural balance is then assessed. This includes palpating (feeling) them all over looking for coat changes, muscle swelling &/or pain. Special tests are also conducted if deemed necessary.
  • Their spine and individual limb joints are passively taken through range of motion, again to check for pain, swelling and imbalances. This adds to the information gained watching them move and refines the diagnosis. Often multiple areas compensate for each other.
  • The compiled findings indicate whether osteopathic treatment is appropriate. If so this will involve massage, joint articulation and other osteopathic techniques that are used on humans and adapted to dogs.
  • If any more serious pathology is suspected or if manual treatment is not the best approach for your best friend she will refer back to your veterinary surgeon, or to a specialist.
  • Owners will be recommended any changes that will help their pet. These may include exercises that can be incorporated into their play. Massage techniques that they can do at home. Repositioning of food bowls, bedding changes etc.
  • A follow-up is always recommended to reassess your pet, their response to treatment, and refine advice. If maintenance treatment is indicated this will be discussed fully with you. Financially your pet’s insurance may cover manual therapy.
  • Your vet will be provided with a report of my findings and recommendations.


Helen will liaise closely with your vet throughout the treatment process and as previously stated immediately refer back if any further tests/medication/interventions are required. As with humans nutritional advice may be given, along with easily achievable home and exercise modifications to make your pet more comfortable.

For more information about animal osteopathy