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Animal Massage Therapist Career Overview

An animal massage therapist is an animal health professional who uses the understanding of anatomy, physiology, and massage techniques to promote the physical health of animals. 

Well, let’s look at their career overview.

The Role Of An Animal Massage Therapist

Animal massage therapists utilize a variety of strokes and techniques to treat their patients, many of which are common to both human and animal massage therapy.

The therapist starts by completing a thorough assessment of the case by discussing the situation with the owner and by conducting a hands-on evaluation of the animal. 

This analysis allows them to develop a treatment plan to deliver the desired outcome, whether that goal relates to relaxing the muscles, enhancing the range of motion, stimulating circulation, reducing stress, or other goals. 

The therapist may also consult with a veterinarian as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan, or refer a patient to a veterinarian for further evaluation and treatment.

After a treatment session, the animal massage therapist must evaluate the animal’s gait and movement to ensure that the treatment plan is working.  

A detailed record should be kept for each patient noting successful and unsuccessful elements of the treatment plan. 

Therapists should also be prepared to work with the animal’s owner to coordinate at-home care and follow-up treatments if necessary.

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Duties And Responsibilities

Massage helps animals relax their muscles, increase their range of motion, and improve their circulation. 

While some animal massage therapists specialize in specific species (the most prevalent being horses and dogs), others work with both large and small animals.

Equine massage therapists have worked on a variety of top-level performance horses, from Olympic show jumpers to Triple Crown race winners, in several disciplines. 

Canine massage therapists have worked with a wide range of dogs, including show champions and home pets.

They also perform the following duties that are also required for the job;

  • Examine animals to see if they have any problems.
  • Create and carry out treatment strategies that are tailored to the specific needs of each animal.
  • Evaluate and keep track of the animals’ progress.
  • Manipulate muscles and soft tissues in an animal’s body with hands-on massage techniques.
  • Collaboration with veterinarians, other professionals, and animal owners is essential.

Salary Of An Animal Massage Therapist

The pay of an animal massage therapist varies depending on their level of expertise, professional credentials, geographic location, and client base size. If therapists visit clients at home, they must also factor in travel costs.

According to Equissage documentation, certified canine massage grads can earn $40 to $70 per session (with sessions running 40 to 50 minutes). 

The Northwest School of Animal Massage agrees, citing a similar rate range ($45 to $75 per session) for small animal massage therapists. 

Equestrian sports massage therapists should expect to make $50 to $100 per session, according to both institutions.

For those animal massage therapists who make home or farm visits to work with their clients, travel costs, vehicle upkeep, and gasoline should be considered.

Basic Requirements And Qualifications For An Animal Massage Therapist 

The road to becoming an animal massage therapist is unique to each individual. 

Your specific needs will be determined by your qualification, knowledge, and skill.

Education

A degree in animal science is beneficial but not required. 

A strong understanding of animal physiology, particularly muscle types and their functions, is essential for success in this discipline. 

Those interested in pursuing this professional path may also benefit from animal first aid training.

Training

Although an apprentice or intern can learn the necessary methods, most animal massage therapists finish one or more training programs.

Certification

In some states, certification or confirmation of professional training is necessary. Specific restrictions should be checked with veterinary boards and health agencies.

Equissage program

Equissage is a well-known certification program for both horse and canine massage treatment (and a dual program covering both species is also available). 

The program includes at-home study sessions that culminate in a written exam and a DVD showing the candidate’s abilities. So far, Equissage has graduated over 10,000 students.

Tellington TTouch certification program

Another well-known option is the Tellington TTouch certification program for dogs and cats. The curriculum consists of six sessions that must be completed over two to three years (five to six days of residency and practical training for each of the six sessions). There is also an equine program.

Northwest School Of Animal Massage

Large and small animal massage certification programs are also available at the Northwest School of Animal Massage, with sub-specialties in maintenance, performance, and rehabilitation.

The programs include five days of rigorous on-site instruction followed by five days of at-home online learning.

Note: Animal massage therapists can take a national professional exam offered by the National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure and Massage (NBCAAM). 

Candidates must have completed at least 200 hours of training in an animal massage school to be certified. The exam is set up in a multiple-choice format.

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Necessary Skills

The necessary skill needed mostly to be an animal massage therapist include:

  • Ability to communicate
  • Empathy
  • Skills in analysis
  • Actual Dexterity And Strength

Ability To Communicate

Animal massage therapists must express what they are doing with the animals to their carers, owners, and other experts with whom they are working, such as veterinarians.

Empathy

Sensitivity and compassion for animals, as well as their caregivers or owners, are essential in this line of employment.

Skills In Analysis

Massage therapists for animals must be able to assess an animal’s condition and need based on physical signs, signals, and behavior.

Actual Dexterity And Strength

Massage therapists for animals must be able to move the bones and soft tissues of animals properly.

Possibilities For Jobs

The majority of animal massage therapists work with dogs or horses, while some also work with other animals.

The majority of animal massage therapists are self-employed individuals who travel to their client’s homes to deliver services. 

Vet clinics, grooming salons, and large pet stores may also have full-time or part-time positions available.

Individuals who have received sufficient training in human massage therapy may choose to add animal massage treatment to their business strategy as a side venture.

Conclusion

If you enjoy working with animals, I believe that being an animal massage therapist would be a good fit for you.

You may look over their resume to see if you can relate to anything that it contains.

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