Nicky Suckle

Animal Physiotherapist

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0466 366 369
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Please click on the pdf below to download a vet referral form

please read below for the common frequently asked questions (FAQ's):

What is the purpose of physiotherapy?
The purpose of physiotherapy is to restore and maintain mobility, function and performance.

When does physiotherapy help?
Physiotherapy can help by relieving pain, increasing mobility and promoting healing. Physiotherapy input can dramatically improve symptoms in animals following orthopaedic surgery and when animals are suffering with pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Animals may display obvious signs of pain such as lameness, crying and inability to do normal activities.
Often animals only display subtle signs of pain or discomfort such as a change in behaviour, a change in performance, stiffness or a change in their normal movement pattern. Physiotherapy is extremely useful in assessing these animals and providing the correct treatment or referring to the vet if further investigations are required.
 In the sporting animal, physiotherapy can help to achieve and maintain optimal performance levels.
Each animal will be fully assessed and an individually tailored treatment and exercise plan will be made to address your horse or dog’s specific problems.

What happens at a physiotherapy assessment?
Each animal’s gait, limb and spinal movement is assessed to determine the variation from their normal movement and muscles are palpated for areas of pain/ tension. That variation is then considered to assess if it is consistent with the functional problem presented.

What treatments are used?
Treatments include:

  • Exercises – to improve strength, stability, flexibility and balance, both during the treatment sessions and an individually tailored exercise programme to be done at home.
  • Manual therapy – may include soft tissue manipulation, joint mobilisation, massage and myofascial release techniques.
  • Electrotherapy - may include electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and pulsed magnetic therapy.
  • Advice – on how to manage and improve the condition and adaptations to the home environment to help your animal.

Appropriate exercise programmes are prescribed to retrain efficient movement patterns. The physiotherapist may also liaise with other professionals such as vets, farriers, dentists, trainers and saddlers.

What qualifications does an animal physiotherapist have?
Due to the university training Chartered Physiotherapists receive, the profession has a strong scientific background and work closely with the Veterinary profession to ensure the correct management of animals. Nicky has BSc Hons Physiotherapy from Glasgow Caledonian University and masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy from the Royal Veterinary College, London.
Chartered Veterinary Physiotherapists only work with veterinary referral or consent and have professional and public liability insurance. Please click here to download a consent form.

What areas are covered?
All areas considered.
The main areas covered by Nicky are: Beerwah, Bli Bli, Buderim, Caboolture, Caloundra, Cooroy, Eumundi, Flaxton, Glass House Mountains, Glenview, Kilcoy, Kenilworth, Landsborough, Little Mountain, Maleny, Mapleton, Maroochydoore, Montville, Mooloolaba, Morayfield, Nambour, Noosa, Palmwoods, Pomona, Woombye, Yandina.

Animal physio OR animal chiropractor/ osteopath/ masseur.....
Equine osteopaths, chiropractors and physiotherapists are disciplines based on a thorough knowledge of anatomy, physiology and biomechanics and palpation is invaluable in their assessment of musculoskeletal conditions. An official institution will only accept students with a human or veterinary degree to study as animal therapist. For physiotherapists who have completed their initial undergraduate training in human field prior to completing their postgraduate qualification, palpation and observation skills are highly refined.
The main difference between the other practitioners and physiotherapists is that a physio assessment focuses strongly on the functional assessment of the horse (gait assessment, range of movement, ridden assessment) and, during treatment, will use soft tissue techniques to release the tension in the muscles prior to any joint mobilisation and then rehabilitate correct movement patterns whilst the muscle/joint movement is no longer inhibited by spasm/pain. Physiotherapists are rehab specialists and highly trained in treating muscles and recognising appropriate time scales for rehab according to tissue repair/stage post op. A physio will provide the horse and owner/rider/trainer a tailored rehabilitation programme to maximise and maintain function.
As the Veterinary Act states, physios are required to obtain veterinary referral prior to assessment and treatment of an animal. Therefore, physios liaise closely with vets in order to provide the best care for the animal.