vet3vpt veterinary nursing physical therapy




Credit points: 15

Subject outline

In this subject, students will examine the anatomy and physiology of the body systems involved with conformation, 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 trained animal physical therapist. Students will also appreciate the importance of early intervention and referral of patients to trained animal physical therapists. Upon completion of this subject, students will be able to competently and safely perform a range of basic physical therapy techniques included within prescribed plans and scope of practice as well as provide ongoing support for the provision of family centred patient care and develop an understanding of the limitations of both themselves and the client.

SchoolSchool of Life Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorDilhani Premaratna

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

Learning resources


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 the canine 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 canine 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. Support family centred patient care through the implemention of prescribed physical therapy care plans for a range of species, life stages and conditions

Students select a case study of a musculoskeletal or neurological disorder and an associated prescribed physical therapy plan, 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 research the prescribed physical therapy techniques, and combine this knowledge with that of the patient's history, temperament life-stage and family environment, to provide family centred support tailored to that patient's needs.

Subject options

Select to view your study options…

Start date between: and    Key dates

Epping, 2019, Semester 2, Blended


Online enrolmentYes

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorDilhani Premaratna

Class requirements

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

Unscheduled Online ClassWeek: 31 - 43
One 1.0 hours unscheduled online class per week on any day including weekend during the day 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 2001, 02, 03, 04
30 min practical examination (1200 words equiv.)Held during examination period3002, 03, 04
Physical Therapy Plan: 1000 word literature reviewLiterature review of a musculoskeletal or neurological disorder requiring physical therapy2502, 03, 04
Physical Therapy Plan: 4 min video presentation and 600 word written therapy plan (1000 word equiv)The client education video introduces the case, presents the prescribed plan and demonstrates how and why to perform the physical therapy required within the plan (10%, 4 minutes video, 400 words equivalent approx). The written client information details the physical therapy plan and explains the client#s role in safely implementing this. (15%, 600 words)2502, 03, 04