Handside Osteopathic clinic



Barbara Sherringham
What to Expect
Animal Osteopathy

Animal Osteopathy

You are required by law to acquire a referral from your animal's veterinary surgeon prior to your osteopathic consultation.

What are the benefits of osteopathy for my horse or dog?

Horse stretchingIncrease flexibility and range of movement

  • Osteopathy can increase flexibility and therefore range of movement. A horse that is relaxed and flexible moves better and is more energy efficient. The joints, ligaments and tendons are under less stress and therefore will allow increased performance.

Improved circulation

Exercise is one of nature's best forms of improving the body's circulation. There are times when your horse may have to be placed on box rest or due to a restricted turn out programme may spend long periods of time in a stable. With osteopathic techniques circulation and lymphatic drainage can be improved to limit stiffness and reduce any filling in the horses' legs.

What to expect on your first visit

A detailed case history will be taken of your animal, focusing on the signs and symptoms of the current condition.

It will also be helpful to have details of your animal's past medical history along with any other investigations (scans and x-rays for example), operations or medications.assessing how the rider sits on the horse

Information about your horses' shoeing, tack, schooling diet and stable management may be required.

A physical examination will then take place.

Did you know that the way you sit affects your horse?

As well as working on the balance and symmetry of your horse, it is vital to reduce stress on your horse's spine by sitting evenly in the saddle. This is achieved by creating stability within the musculature surrounding the lumbar spine and pelvis of the rider. Individual exercises can be prescribed to create this stability and provide support to the lower spine.

Active examination

It is important to observe your animal in motion. Dog owners will be asked to walk or trot their pet. Horse owners may also be required to lunge, free school or ride their horse. This enables observation of any signs of lameness, lack of symmetry in the gait or stance, and fluidity of movement.

Passive examination

A hands-on examination follows, to focus on and localise any muscular or bony restrictions. Also, areas of inflammation and tenderness will be noted.

passive testing of the hind limb in a dog






Some of the techniques used

This involves moving joints through a full range of movement to help increase mobility at a specific joint (either spinal or peripheral) and increase nutrition to the area.

Stretching a dogs limb

Soft tissue techniques
Various massage techniques are used to relax and stretch the musculature and improve the general circulation and nutrition within the injured tissues.

In the form of cold packs or hot and cold compresses, hydrotherapy can be used to reduce inflammation, reduce pain and improve circulation to an injured tissue.

dog receiving hydrotherapy treatment

Neuromuscular techniques
This helps to decrease tension within tight muscle fibres which may be restricting movement within a spinal or peripheral joint.

neuromuscular technique on the horse

How long does a treatment take?

Treatment times depend on your animal and its tolerance level. In general dogs' appointment times range from 20 to 40 minutes. Horses require between 60 and 90 minutes.

Making an appointment

To make an appointment or for general advice on osteopathy for you or your animal please contact:

foot mobilisationBarbara Sherringham
Tel: 07761 358760

Natural Medical Veterinary Centre
11 Southgage Road
Potters Bar
Tel: 01707 662058

Portman Veterinary Clinic
Tel: 0207 723 2068



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