Osteopathy for Horses Dogs and Pets

Super Reasons Your Animal Will Love Osteopathy

Tara the horse bucking in the snow

What Is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy was originally established by Dr Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917) in the USA in the late 1800's initially to treat humans and help them be as healthy as possible without medication or surgery. It was not until the 1970's that Osteopathy was successfully applied to treating horses. More recently in the 1990's, osteopathy was successfully applied to treat wild and exotic animal and bird species. An Osteopath working with animals, will follow the same principles as human Osteopathy.

Osteopathy is frequently referred to as treatment/manipulation of bones - especially the back and spinal column. However, osteopathy is more than that.

Osteopathic treatment examines movement restrictions, treating the body as a whole with the aim of improving mobility and reducing inflammatory processes. The principle is that the body can heal itself and is self-regulatory - therefore if one joint is blocked or a muscle is tense it will affect other parts of the body. These restrictions in the articulations and soft tissues are called Osteopathic lesions.

An osteopath will look at the entire body and its range of movements not necessarily directly manipulating the joint. In any event an osteopathic lesion is not a bone out of place. By manipulation an osteopath will help achieve the animals normal equilbrium.

Why Is Osteopathy Used With Animals?

Osteopathy is used to assist -

  • Loss or decreased level of performance
  • Horses with gait problems (e.g. difficulty picking up correct lead)
  • Horses (or other animals) who suffer from lameness or stiffness
  • Horses with suspected back problems
  • Rehabilitation following surgery
  • Musculo-skeletal problems in many animals - large and small.

The number of treatments necessary will depend on the nature of the problem and the animal's individual response. It can be helpful to have your animal regularly checked, as Osteopaths are trained to detect early changes in the musculo-skeletal system, which if treated can help prevent more serious problems in the long-run.

Choosing An Osteopath For Your Animal

Anyone calling themselves an Osteopath must be registered with the General Osteopathic Council - as the title 'osteopath' is protected by law. However, an osteopath working with animals will have completed further specific training to understand how to successfully apply osteopathic principles to treat animals. Only use a properly trained animal osteopath to help your animal!

If you would like to find an osteopath for your horse, dog or other animal, you may find it helpful to contact the Association of Animal Osteopaths by visiting their website at https://associationofanimalosteopaths.com or alternatively please email us here at Taranet for advice - info@taranet.co.uk.

Following several years of campaigning and research, a new professional voluntary register has now been established. The Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners (RAMP) is designed to help ensure that the public can confidently choose a professionally qualified therapist for their animal. Take a look at the 'RAMP' website at http://www.rampregister.org.

As with all animal ailments only a Veterinary Surgeon can provide diagnosis and treatment however, many Vets will refer cases to an Osteopath if it's appropriate for the animal. Remember - It is an offence for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the vet in charge of the case or to whom the animal would be referred is sought and obtained.


Costs for an osteopathy session for your horse, dog or other animal will vary according to each individual Osteopath, and will often depend on the distance travelled by the Osteopath (for home/yard visits), plus the number of animals treated at the one location too will affect the charge. Please contact your chosen Osteopath for their individual charges.

Finally, many animal insurance companies will now pay for osteopathy treatment for your horse, dog or other animal where it is recommended by your Veterinary Surgeon.

Like to Train As An Osteopath For Animals?

Find out how you can, by visiting our training advice page here

About The Author
This article has been extensively researched and written by Suzanne Harris. Who is also the designer and developer of this site. A lifelong animal lover with a passion for ensuring animals can access complementary therapies for their health and wellbeing.

Would you like information on Osteopaths for your animal? Please email us at info@taranet.co.uk - we'll be pleased to try and assist, wherever you are in the world!