Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals

This qualification aims to provide an extended core of knowledge and skills at Level 3 (A level equivalent) to enable those successfully achieving the qualification to safely work in hydrotherapy.

The qualification contains a blend of knowledge, practical application and theory and is held at the Verwood Hydrotherapy Centre, a busy hydrotherapy unit, part of the Springbok Veterinary Group. As this is a working centre run by a veterinary surgeon with a keen interest in orthopaedics students will be able to gain experience with a wide variety of clients and cases and may be able to observe the operations that benefit from hydrotherapy as part if the patient's rehabilitation.


Any learner who has successfully completed the Level 3 Certificate in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals can upgrade to the Diploma by completing one further module (Module 4, see below).

New learners will ideally have the equivalent of 4 GCSE's at Level C or above in Maths, English and Science with one other, but each candidate wil be assessed on their own merit. The three modules/ten units contained in the Certificate form the basis of the Diploma and are mandatory. The four additional units can be undertaken at the same time, extending the course to a four week period, or later.

Personality - this course will suit committed students who have good people skills, animal handling experience and who wish to further their experience.  



Jobs: the course will help the successful student further their career as a hydrotherapist and is an ideal adjunct to those already employed in animal care. 



The course tutors are all professionals still currently working within their fields of expertise, with many years’ experience and relevant qualifications at high levels. These fields include veterinary medicine, education, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, behavioural modification and training, pool management.


Class sizes:

To provide the maximum amount of practical hands-on experience the class numbers are limited to two per course. This means that each student has at least the required 60 hours practical experience. This also ensures a high level of one to one class tuition for theory lessons.



The centre is a very busy, professional environment as part of Springbok Veterinary Group. We have a large purpose built hydrotherapy pool, underwater treadmill, showering and drying areas, classroom, rest room and shower and offer a supportive, friendly environment to assist students in reaching their potential.



The course consists of the same mandatory ten units as the Certificate and four extra units.


There are three ways the learner may achieve the qualification.

Short course

The units are arranged in four modules which are taken over a four week period with the portfolio being completed within four months.  Cost £3,500


Four modules can be spread over one year, one week at a time with portfolio work to be completed after each module.  Cost £875 per module


Module 1

·         Introduction to hydrotherapy for small animals – am introduction to the equipment, techniques, benefits, risks and current legislation

·         Anatomy and physiology for small animal hydrotherapy – skeletal structures, soft tissues, organs

·         Professional practice and multi-disciplinary team working for hydro therapists – the team approach, reflective practice


Module 2

·         Management of common orthopaedic and neurological conditions in hydrotherapy for small animals – a description of the common orthopaedic and neurological conditions which are referred for hydrotherapy, the impact of the treatment, correct procedures

·         Management of medical  conditions in hydrotherapy for small animals – a description of the common medical conditions which are referred for treatment and the impact of treatment

·         Assessing and checking an animals suitability for hydrotherapy treatment – the referral process, suitability and unsuitability

·         The principles of small animal hydrotherapy – techniques and approaches


Module 3

·         Small animal first aid for hydrotherapists – how to recognise and deal with any possible emergencies

·         Water management for small animal hydrotherapy – equipment, plant, chemistry and treatments

·         Administering hydrotherapy treatments to small animals – how to prepare animals and the environment for hydrotherapy, pre-and post-treatment care, communication with other professionals and documentation, putting it all into practice


Module 4

·         Hydrotherapy treadmill therapy for small animals – equipment and principles of treadmill therapy, preparation and positioning, suitable ad unsuitable conditions and monitoring

·         Disorders of the canine stifle joint for hydrotherapists – disorders of the stifle joint, surgical procedures and treatment

·         Canine elbow and hip dysplasia for hydrotherapists – anatomy, surgical procedures and treatment

·         Canine behaviour for small animal hydrotherapy – normal and abnormal behaviour, learning theory and its relation to hydrotherapy


Distance learning: 

The unit workbooks are sent by module and completed in your own time with close tutorial assistance. Once the theory has been satisfactorily completed an intense practical period will be undertaken to provide the experience and assessments required. This too can be spread over a year but at times that suit the learner. This option is best suited to our overseas students. Cost £875 per module, £3,500 total.


Dates 2016:


Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

6th – 9th Jan

13th – 16th Jan

20th – 23rd Jan

27th – 30th Jan

24th – 27th Feb

2nd – 5th March

9th – 12th March

16th – 19th March

6th – 9th April

13th – 16th April

20th – 23rd April

27th – 30th April

18th – 21st May

25th – 28th May

1st – 4th June

8th – 11th June

29th June - 2nd July

6th – 9th July

13th – 16th July

20th – 23rd July

10th – 13th Aug

17th – 20th Aug

24th – 27th Aug

31st Aug – 3rd Sept

21st – 24th Sept

28th Sept –1st Oct

5th – 8th Oct

12th – 15th Oct

2nd – 5th Nov

9th – 12th Nov

16th – 19th Nov

23rd – 26th Nov


Dates 2017:

Module 1 Module 2 Module 3 Module 4
11th – 14th Jan 18th – 21st Jan 25th – 28th Jan 1st – 4th Feb
22nd – 25th Feb 1st – 4th March 8th – 11th March 15th – 18th March
5th – 8th April 12th – 15th April 19th – 22nd April 26th – 29th April
17th – 20th May 24th – 27th April 31st April – 3rd June 7th – 10th June
21st – 24th June 28th June – 1st July 5th – 8th July 12th – 15th July
9th – 12th Aug 16th – 19th Aug 23rd – 26th Aug 30th Aug – 2nd Sept
20th – 23rd Sept 27th – 30th Sept 4th – 7th Oct 11th – 14th Oct
1st – 4th Nov 8th – 11th Oct 15th – 18th Nov 22nd – 25th Nov


How to apply:

To apply complete the application form and return. No payment is required at time of application.

A full schedule, student handbook and portfolio will be sent, with details of local accommodation and travel if required.


For more details please contact Jo Scott   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or on 01202 839436