Companion Animal Physical Rehabilitation

Post-Secondary Programs
Credential Earned: Graduate Certificate
Campus: Haileybury
Program Length: 2 Semesters

Program Codes
H151 (HL) – Haileybury Campus
Please note: This program is a graduate certificate and is available to graduates of a Veterinary Technician two-year diploma program. If applying directly from high school, please choose our Veterinary Technician program, program H058. Once you graduate from a Veterinary Technician program, you will qualify to apply for our Companion Animal Physical Rehabilitation program.

Help injured animals get back on their feet

As they age, our pets have the same needs we do. And whether they’re recovering from an injury, surgery or simply need to lose weight, rehabilitation is key.

This is an ever-growing branch of the animal health industry. And, once you’ve completed our two year Veterinary Technology training, Northern’s Companion Animal Physical Rehabilitation program will give you the critical skills you need to dive in.

With its strong focus on specialized patient care, this one-year graduate certificate will prepare you to help dogs and cats live life to the fullest – with minimal pain and discomfort.

It will also give you a critical advantage in the workplace. After all, your sought-after skill-set will expand the range of services offered within a veterinary practice. And that will make a significant impact on a lot of lives, including those of well-loved pets

Physical rehabilitation is becoming part of everyday veterinary medicine. It is emerging as an important complementary form of care that is a valuable professional asset for veterinary technicians who have undertaken this additional qualification. They provide this specialized care within the context of a veterinarian-client-patient relationship, helping to extend the range of services offered within a veterinary practice.

Career Opportunities
Veterinary clinics, private rehabilitation facilities and pet daycares with conditioning/fitness programs as well as a variety of other opportunities.

Contact Information

For questions about being admitted into the program, please contact Northern College Admissions at or by phone at 705-235-3211 ext. 7222.

For questions about the content of the program, contact the Program Coordinator.

Kellie Broderick
Program Assistant, School of Veterinary Sciences
Tel: 705-672-3376 ext. 8854

Admission Requirements

Program Specific Requirements

Companion Animal Physical Rehabilitation Requirements


General Admission Requirements

  • Graduate of a Veterinary Technician program.
  • Proof of rabies vaccination, showing a current protective titre.
  • Some experience in a veterinary clinic or hospital is considered an asset.

Additional Information

Our Veterinary Technician program is accredited by:


Canadian Veterinary Medical Association    Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians The College of Veterinarians

Semester 1
RE1002 Introduction to Animal Physical Rehabilitation

This course covers legalities, goals, benefits and applications to common orthopaedic and neurological conditions.

RE1012 Pathophysiology of Pain and Analgesics

The pathophysiology of pain is covered in depth in this course. Pain sensation, transduction, transmission and perception are discussed, together with ways by which pain pathways can be interrupted. The complementary role of analgesics in contributing to successful companion animal rehabilitation is explored. Students learn about the benefits and risks of specific analgesics that a veterinarian may prescribe to companion animals.

RE1014 Therapeutic Techniques

This course reviews the various modalities available for canine physical rehabilitation. These include techniques such as stretching, strengthening and proprioception exercises, application of heat and cold packs, analgesics and massage. These techniques will be applied in a laboratory setting to selected cases.

RE1015 Advanced Anatomy

Focusing on canine anatomy, directional terminology, anatomic planes, bones, muscles, joints, ligaments and tendons, this course will be, an in-depth study requiring students to name and explain the function of the components of the skeletal system, including joints, ligaments and tendons, muscle origins and insertions, muscle function and muscle innervation and blood supply. Lectures will be accompanied by a laboratory component requiring the anatomically correct construction of a Canican model using plasticine to construct muscles, ligaments and tendons. The models will be accurately labeled for all the major skeletal and muscle structures.

RE1022 Companion Animal Massage Theory

This course covers the theory of companion animal massage. Upon the completion of this course, the student will have an understanding of the concepts of massage. The pathophysiology of common neurologic and orthopedic conditions is covered. Conditions that accompany ageing in canines are covered in detail. Common therapies that may be used in the rehabilitation of each condition will be discussed and students will design physical rehabilitation protocols and treatment schedules based on individual case details. Students will develop the ability to formulate treatment objectives and plans for specific conditions. The students will be expected to apply their knowledge and skills developed in previous companion animal anatomy and physiology, communication and behaviour courses.

RE1025 Canine Assessment

The student would learn how to conduct a neurological and orthopaedic examination on dogs in order to assess gait, posture and movement. Topics would include assessing range of motion and assigning a lameness score. Review of the importance of palpation in order to detect swellings and lumps will be emphasized. Videos or live demonstrations will be used to demonstrate normal and abnormal canine gaits.

RE2003 Electrotherapeutic Modalities

The student is introduced to the concepts and use of electric stimulation (E-stim), low level laser and ultrasound as applied to canine physiotherapy.

Semester 2
RE2006 Clinical Cases

In this course students will apply skills learned in previous courses to companion animal patients with orthopedic and neurological dysfunction. Assessments, design and implementation of rehabilitation protocols will be carried out in a collaborative environment.

RE2015 Advanced Physiology

Focusing on muscle, cartilage, bone, the nervous system and lymphatics. This is an in-depth course requiring students to name origins and insertions of individual muscles and their function. Lectures would be accompanied by a laboratory component requiring identification of individual muscle groups on live animals, as well as dissection of fresh or preserved animal bodies.

RE2022 Companion Animal Massage Practical

The students will use theory that has been taught in Companion Animal Massage RE1022 to apply to their case studies. Massage techniques, friction techniques and using cryo/thermotherapy will be delivered to their patients. Students will be taught different massage routines and how and when to apply them to their patient. This course is hands on, and incorporates the importance of communicating with their patient, but also working in a group setting.

RE2023 Neurologic and Orthopaedic Conditions

The pathophysiology of common neurologic and orthopedic conditions is covered. Conditions that accompany ageing in canines are covered in detail. Common therapies that may be used in the rehabilitation of each condition will be discussed and students will design physical rehabilitation protocols and treatment schedules based on individual case details.

BU2213 Small Business Management

This course will introduce students to the fundamental approach to starting and managing a small business in Canada. An examination of what is necessary to start a small business will encompass strategic areas such as goal setting, organizational set-up, financial planning, accounting, marketing, human resources and legal issues.

GN1443 Indigenous Culture and Awareness

This general education course will provide students with an introduction to Canadian Indigenous Nations’ history, sovereignty, land titles, cultural history and current critical issues. Topics addressed include the content of Indigenous rights, economic and social development, community and political processes, and business law and policies, justice & social services. Canadian Indigenous History and Relations is a general education course that has been incorporated into all programs at Northern College.

RE2013 Aquatherapy

The student learns to apply the principles of aquatic therapy in its various delivery methods to develop protocols for individual cases based on patient assessment.

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