The Veterinary Act

The veterinary surgeons act, passed in parliament in 1948 to protect the welfare of sick & injured animals from treatment from unqualified persons. Any massage therapy performed on the animal requires either a referral from the acting veterinary surgeon or consent. All owners and trainers are required to sign an authority to massage document.

After Veterinary permission is obtained the therapist will visit your horse & carry out an initial assessment; this will include a thorough visual & palpative assessment of the animal, seeing them walked & trotted in-hand & in some cases additional work on the lunge or under saddle may be necessary . A full case history will be detailed, followed by the application of the appropriate sports massage techniques for the individual animals needs. Case reports; where appropriate, following therapy programs are sent to the Veterinary Surgeon & Horse Owner / Trainers.

All horses can benefit from an Equine Sports Massage Treatment. This can range from the treasured family pony to top quality competition horses, competing in any sphere. They all can benefit…..Few human athletes would compete without preparing their bodies using massage and stretching exercises. For the supreme athlete ~ The Horse, Equine Sports Massage is essential for their optimal performance, health and general well-being.


As an Equine Sports Massage Therapist it is essential to understand the importance of professionalism & the implications of the Veterinary Act. All work is carried out either following veterinary consent or referral. An equine sports masseur works as part of a multidisciplinary team, imparting, comparing & discussing all information & findings with other members of the team. With the ultimate goal of ensuring optimal care & rehabilitation of the animals in therapy. The fundamentals & implications of the veterinary act are discussed below, together with the structure & function of an Equine Professional Health Team.

“An Equine Masseur Is Part Of An Equine Professional Health Team” Appropriate Members Of An Equine Professional Health Team And Their Input.

The Veterinary Act And Its Implications.

The Veterinary field of medicine, healthcare and treatment works in an entirely different fashion to that of human medicine, healthcare and treatment. This is a direct result of the parliamentary act passed to protect the welfare of sick and injured animals, The Veterinary Act (1966). The practice of veterinary surgeons in the UK, is governed by The Veterinary Act (1966). Under that act (with certain exemptions, which are noted below) no one may practice veterinary surgery unless registered with The Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons. The exemptions to the general rules of The Veterinary Act (1966) are as follows: • Veterinary Act (1966) The Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons. London. 1) A Doctor or dentist may carry out any treatment, test or operation on an animal, provided he does so at the request of a registered Veterinary Surgeon. 2) A Doctor may also perform an operation on an animal for the purpose of removing an organ or tissue for use in the treatment of a human being. 3) The treatment of an animal by physiotherapy; if carried out under the direction of a registered Veterinary Surgeon who has examined the animal and prescribed such a treatment. 4) An owner of an animal (or his employee, or other members of the owners household) may administer minor medical treatment to his own animal. 5) An owner of an agricultural animal (or anyone engaged or employed in caring for agricultural animals) may carry out any medical treatment or minor surgery (not involving entry into a body cavity) on such an animal provided that this is not done for reward. 6) A veterinary Nurse whose name is entered in the list of Veterinary Nurses maintained by the college may carry out any medical treatment or minor surgery to a companion animal; provided that the companion animal is for the rime being, under the care of a registered veterinary Surgeon. 7) Lay persons may administer first aid in an emergency, for the purposes of saving life or relieving pain or suffering.As a result of The Veterinary Act (1966) and the subsequent exemptions; it is illegal for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the animals Veterinary Surgeon is sought and obtained.

The implications of The Veterinary Act (1966) on the equine world are there to safeguard the welfare of horses. The act provides a framework and protocol for treatment, with a structured hierarchy of professionals working in symbiosis. Thus insuring that a team work in a highly regarded professional capacity.

As a direct result of these implications it is essential that the Equine Masseur should contact the Veterinary Surgeon used by the client and that they gain written permission to massage. The owner should also sign an “Authority To Massage Document”. There are many Therapist of varying specialism working outside the parameters of The Veterinary Act (1966) and therefore are breaking the law. These individuals are working in a highly unprofessional capacity, are often not insured or governed by any professional body. However seemingly feel entitled to call themselves “Equine Professionals”

“An Equine masseur Is Part Of An Equine Professional Health Team”

It is essential to highlight the importance of both teamwork and professionalism & the implications of an equine masseur as part of an equine professional health team..

The information that is shared between team members, plays a crucial role in the care, diagnosis, treatment and general state of well being of the animal. Each member of the team will pick up their own information and take their own perception and opinions of the animal to map out any treatment, training, nutritional programme, massage etc. The interlinkage of information gleamed from cases and passed between team members, optimises the ultimate outcome. Presenting a clearer overall picture of a case.