A suite of brand new qualifications in canine hydrotherapywill promote high standards of training for canine hydrotherapists and set clear professional standards. For dog owners this means better trained therapists with a thorough grounding in the essential knowledge and practical skills needed to keep their animal safe and well cared for. For veterinary professionals referring dogs for hydrotherapy treatment, they will be more confident that those holding these qualifications offer high standards of professionalism.
The qualifications have been developed by Greyfriars Veterinary Rehabilitation Referrals and the awarding organisation OCN London. The purpose is to ensure canine hydrotherapists are better equipped to carry out their duties competently and gain an insight into how they should treat animals ethically and responsibly.
There are three levels of qualifications (levels, 2, 3 and 4), all providing clear education pathways. The Level 2 ‘starter’ qualification is designed to help people to become Canine Hydrotherapy Assistants – a completely new role that has not existed before. The new Level 3 qualification it intended to become the ‘gold standard’ - the minimum requirement for membership or registration with the professional hydrotherapy organisations. The Level 4 qualification offers an opportunity to study at a higher level and in more depth.
Angela Griffiths, Owner and Chief Executive at Greyfriars, says:
“There are some wonderful hydrotherapists and hydrotherapy centres. However, we need to be honest and recognise that some dogs have been hurt, frightened and received poor treatment over the years through ignorance, poor training, poor standards or a combination of these. The results of this are poor treatment outcomes, harm or even the loss of a beloved pet and family member. We want to ensure all canine hydrotherapists are obtaining qualifications which ensure the health and well-being of the patient is a priority. We are all driven by a desire to raise standards of training and hydrotherapy treatment in the UK and overseas. I have spent the past eighteen years running my own veterinary rehabilitation practice and training centre. My role as an auditor and expert witness has meant that I have become increasingly aware that canine hydrotherapy treatment often falls far below anything that I would accept for my own dogs. Together we felt it was time to set higher standards for training and qualifications to safeguard animal welfare in the future.”
Jacquie Mutter, Chief Executive, OCN London, says:
“Working with such a dedicated team who are committed to the welfare of animals and ethical practice in their profession, has been very rewarding. We believe in the value of qualifications to raise standards and make a difference. So do they. We look forward to a continuing partnership.”
Greyfriars are enforcing minimum levels of qualifications and experience for lecturers and trainers who deliver the new hydrotherapy qualifications. Safeguards have been written into the qualification guides. Anyone wishing to provide these qualifications will be required to meet rigorous standards and provide the necessary facilities for delivery.