Credit points: 15

Subject outline

In this subject, students will extend beyond the introductory veterinary nursing physical therapy techniques they learned during their first two years of study. They will learn how to evaluate veterinary nursing physical therapy needs, and design an individually-tailored veterinary nursing physical therapy plan. Students will revise the anatomy and physiologyof the body systems involved with locomotion and biomechanics in a range of animal species, and will consider how damage to, or altered structure and/or function, can result in changes to animal gait and ease of movement. Aided by a work integrated learning (WIL) placement, students will learn about the types, indications and methods of physical therapy available for animals, that trained veterinary nurses are capable of competently and safely undertaking, under the direction of a veterinarian or animal physiotherapist. By the completion of the subject, students will be able to develop an evidence-based physical therapy veterinary nursing plan to suit an individual patient's needs, and to competently perform the range of physical therapy techniques included within such plans.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorAnthony Gendall

Available to Study Abroad StudentsNo

Subject year levelYear Level 3 - UG

Exchange StudentsNo

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites Must be admitted into SBVN and have passed VET2IAN and VET2PVN


Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsPractical Physiotherapy for Veterinary NursesPrescribedCarver, D. (2015)Wiley-Blackwell

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Examine the anatomy and physiology involved in locomotion and biomechanics in a range of animal species.

Students undertake a range of readings and watch online videos, to develop deeper underpinning knowledge in the elements of veterinary anatomy and physiology involved with locomotion and biomechanics. During their workshops, students use animal skeletons to determine muscles location and insertion, and to examine joint structure and support, and to deduce what their potential ranges of movements are. They also observe animals as they move (live and video) and discuss gait variations.

02. Analyse the physical therapy requirements of veterinary patients

Students undertake readings on the physical therapy management of a range of common veterinary conditions. In a workshop, student teams are given case studies of a range of patients and conditions, and analyse the physical therapy requirements of each of these patients. The tutor then leads a class discussion of these cases, and focuses particularly on determining the holistic long term physical therapy requirements of the patient as well as the specific condition requirements.

03. Perform a range of physical therapy techniques in veterinary care

Students undertake pre-workshop readings and watch videos on a range of physical therapy techniques. During the workshops these are demonstrated, and students then practice these techniques under supervision. Students are finally tested individually in a practical examination, on their ability to perform a range of physical therapy techniques.

04. Design and implement physical therapy care plans for a range of species, life stages and conditions

Students select a musculoskeletal or neurological disorder which they are interested in learning more about. They research the condition, to help them to understand the underlying anatomical and physiological changes in the patient. They then apply their knowledge of various physical therapy techniques, together with a knowledge of that particular patient's history, temperament and lifestage, to design a physical therapy plan tailored to that patient's needs

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Epping, 2018, Semester 2, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorAnthony Gendall

Class requirements

WorkShop Week: 31 - 43
One 5.0 hours workshop every two weeks on weekdays during the day from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.

Placement - Off Site Week: 31 - 43
Six 7.5 hours placement - off site per study period on any day including weekend from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via face-to-face.
"WIL Placement. Roster-dependent."

Unscheduled Online Class Week: 31 - 43
One 1.0 hours unscheduled online class per week on any day including weekend from week 31 to week 43 and delivered via online.
"Delivered as reading material, quizzes, video clips."


Assessment elementComments% ILO*
5 x 10 min pre-workshop online quizzes (850 words equiv.)4% each Fortnightly 20 01, 02, 03, 04
30 min practical examination (1200 words equiv.)Held during examination period30 02, 03, 04
Physical Therapy Plan: 1000 word literature reviewLiterature review of a musculoskeletal or neurological disorder requiring physical therapy25 02, 03, 04
Physical Therapy Plan: 4 min video presentation and 600 word written therapy plan (1000 word equiv.)The video introduces the case, presents the plan and demonstrates how to perform the physical therapy required within the plan (10%, 4 minutes video, 400 words equivalent approx). The written plan details the physical therapy plan the student has developed for the researched condition (15%, 600 words).25 02, 03, 04