In 2011, as part of her ongoing professional development, Helena completed a postgraduate course in the osteopathic treatment of animals at the Osteopathic Centre for Animals in Wantage, run by renowned animal osteopath Stuart McGregor. Although the anatomy of animals is different, the same principles of osteopathy can be applied to any animal - Helena's course focused on dogs and horses, but osteopaths can apply the same principles to treat all sorts of animals including injured wildlife, or even elephants - click here to learn more.
Helena's course involved eight 3-day weekends of lectures and practicals, including lectures from a qualified veterinary surgeon on common pathologies in dogs and horses and a lecture on canine behaviour; she has also completed postgraduate training with an equine vet in horse behaviour. Understanding animals' behaviour is fundamental for Helena in ensuring the safety of herself, the animal's owner/handler and the animal itself, as Helena treats with the animal in its own environment (stable, field, yard for horses, at home for dogs).
During the same period, Helena also observed other animal osteopaths at work in their practices treating dogs and racehorses and worked one afternoon a week at a local livery yard and with a local horse behaviourist to develop her communication with horses in particular.
Although the course included background on common problems, Helena is not dual qualified as a vet - this means that legally, your animal should have seen a vet recently for the problem you are looking for help with ie have a diagnosis of the problem and have referred the animal to Helena. For her to treat an animal without veterinary referral/permission would be illegal and she would also not be insured.
Most vets are quite willing to refer, particularly with elderly arthritic animals or in cases where other forms of physical therapy have not helped, or where it is the owners preference to try osteopathy. Helena usually sends a form outlining your request to the vet and requesting a referral/permission to treat as well as the animal's medical history, most vets are happy to do this. On completion of treatment, Helena emails her findings/treatment plan to the vet so they can update their records. If she has any concerns about your animal, she will refer them back to the vet with a note and in fact has done this on several occasions in the past, having seen animals with conditions (fracture from cancer, ruptured ligaments, severe spinal compression) that were not suitable for osteopathic treatment.
Helena has however helped a lot of animals - you can see a video below of Teddy, who was an elderly Bichon Frise who cried out in pain every time he was touched by his owners, didn't play, didn't like to walk (he went everywhere in a little cart) - after a few treatments (and some follow-up massage from his owners), he didn't cry out, he started to play with his toys and you can see below a video of him running!
If you would like to talk to Helena about treatment for your animal, please call her on 07805 650667, she can give details of prices and availability (currently dogs only in Weymouth & Portland areas due to time constraints).