Restoring Health in Animals with Osteopathy

By Jane Clothier

Head of Health Sciences at LCAO

Interest in treating animals with osteopathy has grown considerably in recent years, with an unprecedented number of postgraduate and lay programs in musculoskeletal therapies emerging in online programs. As a global leader in animal osteopathic education, London College of Animal Osteopathy (LCAO), has recently launched one of the highest levels of training currently available, providing osteopaths with the opportunity to expand their careers through work with animals. The rapid uptake of the International Diploma in Animal Osteopathy by veterinarians, osteopaths, and animal body workers has demonstrated this kind of accessible learning for animal osteopathy is in high demand.

The International Diploma in Animal Osteopathy, with optional equine and canine streams, has grown from the lifelong work of the LCAO’s founder, Stuart McGregror, D.O. Stuart’s interest in treating animals was already showing itself when he graduated from the UK’s European School of Osteopathy in 1984, with his dissertation The Principles of Osteopathy Applied to the Horse being the first known work about osteopathy for horses. His long-term aim was to find a way to use osteopathic techniques to work with and benefit animals, and he achieved that sooner than expected.

Upon graduation, he immediately began treating horses and dogs, and it was not long before his Osteopathy Centre for Animals in Oxfordshire, England, was formed. Other osteopaths and veterinarians soon came across Stuart’s work and were keen to learn more. It made sense to start bringing his new and evolving techniques together in the equine and canine osteopathy programs that he has now been teaching since 1998 in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Throughout this time, he has continued to refine both the approach and his methods of instruction, leading to the Osteopathic Articular Balancing training that he practices and teaches today.

What is Osteopathic Articular Balancing (OAB)?

Stuart describes OAB as a general osteopathic treatment that is deeply rooted in classical osteopathy and the philosophies of Andrew Still. It gently disrupts the body’s state of dysfunction and restores integration, thereby creating a homeostatic state of health. This is achieved through functional techniques with slow, controlled, long lever moves, with a focus on quality of movement rather than range of motion.

As Stuart says, “One of the main principles in osteopathic medicine is that treatment should restore health to the local tissues. This involves the restoration of blood supply, nerve supply, and lymphatic drainage. Where any of these are absent, the tissues can only be in poor health.”

In practice, OAB is a system of techniques that ease pain, remove tension and restriction, and restore full movement in every joint of the animal’s body. The therapist examines the functional anatomy of each joint and its accompanying structures, before mobilizing associated bones. The direct and indirect relationships throughout the skeletal system are also considered, with posture, gait assessment, and palpation forming part of the assessment.

To learn more about the International Diploma in Animal Osteopathy (Int’l DipAO)  clickhere