Level 3 Diploma Course In
Hydrotherapy For Small Animals

Next student intake date: 3rd May 2019

Animal Hydrotherapy Diploma Course Training
Hydrotherapy Training

This Level 3 Diploma course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals is a rigorous qualification with a blend of theory and practical training that includes:

  • The theoretical principles of animal hydrotherapy and treadmill therapy, as well as theoretical guidance on how these therapies can be used. 
  • Details on the conditions that hydrotherapy can benefit. These are primarily orthopaedic and neurological in nature, and therapists will need to be well-versed in these issues so as to accurately administer therapy. 
  • First aid for small animals is essential for therapists who intend to work in animal healthcare. 
  • Thorough guidance on learning to assess an animal’s likely outcome from hydrotherapy and how to ascertain whether the treatment is suitable for a specific case. 
  • Background information is always provided on animal anatomy and biology, so as to ensure excellence, robust baseline medical knowledge among those administering hydrotherapy. Additionally Canine Hip Dysplasia — a common condition for which hydrotherapy has proven to be very effective — is covered in depth.

As well as the theoretical study, the Level 3 Diploma course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals also involves a large amount of practical work. This includes:

  • Working with qualified, experienced hydrotherapists and seeing how the treatment is used in a real-life setting. This includes standard hydrotherapy and hydrotherapy treadmill treatments.
  • The basic fundamentals of administering hydrotherapy, such as managing the pool, the hoses and other functions that are essential for effective treatment.
  • Learning to manage aftercare for an animal that has experienced a session of hydrotherapy, and learning how to interact with pet owners and discuss what transpired during the session. 
  • All paperwork requirements are discussed and information provided regarding the completion of this element of hydrotherapy.
  • 1 week intensive hands-on training and assessments

The ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in animal hydrotherapy has been developed for learners seeking a specialised qualification in animal hydrotherapy, with the overall aim being to prepare learners for a career working as an Animal Hydrotherapist or in a Veterinary career utilising hydrotherapy as a treatment. As the comprehensive nature of the course makes clear, the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals fully equips students for an exciting new phase in their professional life.

The Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals is a regulated qualification recognised by  within the RQF (Regulated Qualifications  Framework). When achieved, you will gain 41 Credits at Level 3.  

Animal Hydrotherapy Diploma 

ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals 

Course Unit Summary

276 GLH

Total credits earned for this course = 41

ABC Awards

Unit  T/504/1180 Introduction to hydrotherapy for small animals

The study of hydrotherapy for small animals must start with the basics. This module will introduce concepts that every professional performing this therapy must understand, but it doesn’t offer any hands-on experience. The manipulation techniques will come later, but this information is still essential to the safe and effective usage of hydrotherapy.

GLH 25

4 Credits 

Unit   A/504/1181 Management of medical conditions in hydrotherapy for small animals

Now that you have a basic understanding of what hydrotherapy is and how it can benefit small animals, you’re ready to learn how specific medical conditions influence this type of therapy. This is the unit that will help you create effective hydrotherapy treatment plans for each animal in your care. Upon completion, you’ll be able to do the following with confidence:

  • Recognize the symptoms of prominent medical conditions seen in small animals
  • Determine how hydrotherapy can help animals with recognized medical conditions
  • Create realistic expectations for results achieved through hydrotherapy

GLH 10

2 Credits

Unit J/504/1183 Management of common orthopaedic and neurological conditions in hydrotherapy for small animals   

Many small animals with neurological disorders and orthopaedic conditions are referred to professionals for hydrotherapy treatment. This learning module introduces some of the most prevalent conditions that therapists may see, giving you the information needed to match those conditions with the most impactful hydrotherapy procedures.

GLH 18

3 Credits

Unit   L/507/5174 Small animal first aid for hydrotherapists

Would you know how to respond if an emergency occurred with an animal in your care right now? You typically have no warning when something tragic happens, and you must act in a split second to rescue an animal in need. Small animal first aid is introduced in this module, so you’ll know how to respond to a variety of emergencies without hesitation. This includes the application of theories, so prepare to put your knowledge to the test.

GLH 18

3 Credits

Unit   Y/504/1186 Assessing and checking an animal’s suitability for hydrotherapy treatment

Just because a veterinary surgeon refers an animal for hydrotherapy doesn’t mean that the animal is well suited to this type of treatment. This module will help you assess an animal to determine how hydrotherapy may help their medical condition, if it will at all. There are some clear and not-so-clear signs that will help you make this determination.

GLH 25 

3 Credits

Unit   R/507/5174 Anatomy and physiology for small animal hydrotherapy 

You can’t effectively treat small animals with hydrotherapy without a solid command on the physiology and anatomy of those animals. If you could use a refresher course or haven’t studied anatomy or physiology in depth, this module will teach you everything needed to approach hydrotherapy with confidence.

 GLH 30

4 Credits

Unit   D/507/5176 Professional practice and Multi DisciplinaryTeam working for hydrotherapists

As a hydrotherapist, you’ll have to work with other professionals to ensure that animals in your care receive the best overall treatment for their condition. This module will teach you how to work as part of a multi-disciplinary team while enhancing your development as a professional through reflective practice.

GLH 10

2 Credits

Unit   H/504/1191 The principles of small animal hydrotherapy

Before you can start performing manipulation hydrotherapy techniques, you must develop a thorough understanding of how those techniques work. While this unit doesn’t require hands-on manipulation experience, it does deliver a solid foundation of knowledge regarding the various approaches that hydrotherapists take to their work each day.

GLH 10 

2 Credits

Unit  Y/507/5175 Administering hydrotherapy treatment to small animals

You’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge regarding small animals and hydrotherapy treatment. It’s now time to learn how to interact with animals safely and effectively during three phases of the treatment process:

  • Preparation: You’ll get animals ready for their hydrotherapy treatment while ensuring that the treatment area is set up for safe use.
  • During Treatment: You’ll learn how to manage animals while hydrotherapy manipulations are in process. This includes overseeing the work area and the therapy process for safety and efficiency.
  • Aftercare: You’ll learn how to properly care for small animals after hydrotherapy treatment is complete. This includes interacting with pet owners and other professionals caring for the animal. The paperwork and documentation required after this type of therapy is also covered.

 GLH 25

3 Credits

Practical Unit

Unit  K/504/1189 Water management for small animal

This is a hands-on unit that allows you to put some of your accumulated hydrotherapy knowledge into practice. You’ll receive an introductory lesson in the management and treatment of water. This includes a basic understanding of all components of hydrotherapy treatment, including:

  • Pool equipment
  • Water chemistry
  • Water chemicals

All health and safety regulations are taken into account when completing this unit. Each student is responsible for staying within the realm of their experience and knowledge when determining which tasks they can confidently perform. While it’s important to learn and grow professionally, you don’t want to perform beyond your competency level.

GLH 20 

3 Credits

Practical Unit

Unit T/504/6475 Hydrotherapy Treadmill Therapy for Small Animals Unit

This unit consists of theory and practical elements where the learner will learn how to conduct a hydrotherapy treadmill therapy session involving pre-treatment, during treatment and post treatment treadmill procedures.

In this unit, learners will develop their knowledge of the treadmill equipment available and the principles of small animal and canine hydrotherapy treadmill therapy.  

Learn how and where to position an aquatic treadmill and how to prepare the area, the patient and clients for a therapy session.  

Gain an understanding of the types of conditions for which this treatment is suitable / unsuitable and how to monitor the treatment correctly.

GLH 25

3 Credits

Practical & Theory Unit

Unit (T/505/3149) and Unit (K/505/3147) Advanced Hydrotherapy Treadmill Therapy for Small Animals

These units consists of theory and practical aspects where the learner will learn how to conduct an advanced hydrotherapy treadmill therapy session involving appropriate use of equipment to improve the hydrotherapy programme for the patient.

Learners will develop their knowledge in the operation of the hydrotherapy treadmill and how to maximise patient performance and treatment outcomes.  

Learn in-depth gait analysis to give you the knowledge to apply the advanced techniques.  The Learner will gain an understanding of additional equipment that can be used to optimise patient movement and learn which and when to apply.  

Assess patients through observation, evaluating their performance and developing their decision-making skills when providing treatment. 

GLH 45

6 Credits

Practical & Theory

Unit F/504/6477 Canine Elbow and Hip Dysplasia for Hydrotherapists 

In this unit, learners will concentrate on elbow and hip dysplasia firstly learning about the anatomy of elbow and hip dyplastic joints.  In the hydrotherapy industry dysplasia is one of the most prevalent in practice and so this module  concentrates on the surgical procedures to help an animal with these conditions in order that they can use this information to analyse their own practice to improve the hydrotherapy treatment offered to these animals. This is a theory based unit.

GLH 15

Credits 3

Total credits earned for this course = 41

Our Animal Hydrotherapy courses are offered as online courses and this enables students to fit their studies around their other commitments.  Intensive practical training is included in this course. The practical training can be undertaken in Oxfordshire or Aberdeen and we also offer it internationally. 

The animal hydrotherapy diploma course includes a total of 6 days Practical Placement at Woozelbears, an established canine hydrotherapy company in Oxfordshire or Aberdeen. The centres have top of the range equipment including underwater treadmills, large bespoke pools, hydrotherapy spa, the 2nd gait analysis treadmill in the UK and a team of highly qualified personnel.

Placement within one of these centres enables you to learn from experienced professionals in the industry whilst working with a range cases at different stages of treatment.

This is also an opportunity to have first hand experience within the industry.

This qualification makes you very employable and there are many companies around the country that are recruiting for Qualified Canine Hydrotherapists. Woozelbears offers franchise opportunities in various parts of the UK if you have the ambition to own your own business.

4 Month Fast Track Enrolment 

Next student intake date: 3rd May 2019

Fully Inclusive Course Fees:


2019 Practical Placement Dates in Witney, Oxfordshire

1st July-6th July 2019

5th-10th Aug 2019

16th Sept- 21st Sept 2019

21st-26th Oct 2019


We accept Elcas Funding:

Animal Jobs Direct is has been granted Approved Learning Provider status in the Enhanced Learning Credit scheme to offer the ABC Awards Level 3 Certificate course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals and the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals to MOD Service Leavers.

Animal Hydrotherapy Membership Organisations:

This Animal Hydrotherapy course and all other hydrotherapy courses offered by Animal Jobs Direct meet the criteria for membership of the Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA) and the National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (NARCH).


Read some of the recent ABC Awards Moderator Report Comments regarding our delivery of the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals

"The units of study had been designed very well with excellent tasks designed to cover all the assessment criteria. An excellent range of assessment methods that are valid, fair and reliable have been used throughout the units of study.

The course was very practical and allowed the learner to progress through the course well. The assessor has been very supportive and has given excellent feedback to the learner with praise, supportive comments and improvement comments.

All pre-assessment checklists, achievement checklists, witness statements were included and again very detailed and supportive.  The Internal Moderation records are accurate and the process was carried out in a reasonable timeframe. The Internal Moderator has given excellent feedback to the assessor. The Internal Moderator has been very effective and required further evidence for some assessment criteria. This shows the processes are working very well.

All the tasks are set at the appropriate level making it easy for the learners to follow. The tasks set for the learners are relevant and appropriate. All the learning outcomes have been addressed well and a high percentage of tasks have practical elements.

The evidence produced by the learners was to a very high standard and covered all the assessment criteria very well. The assessor produced excellent tracking information for the learner and provided excellent feedback for the tasks completed. Good use of witness statements in the hydrotherapy setting. This also helps learners progress and gives them confidence when they get useful/positive feedback. 

I have observed outstanding practice in terms of assessor feedback and you could see the learners greatly benefited from the feedback.

Feedback from the learners is very important and I must highlight in this report the good feedback the learners". 

External Moderator Report 13 February 2018

Frequently Asked Questions:

What's the difference between the Diploma and Certificate course?

The Diploma course consists of more theory learning and associated credits as well as Treadmill Training. Employers prefer candidates who have completed the Diploma course instead of the Certificate course. You do not need to complete both courses to work as an Animal Hydrotherapist.

Do I have to have a practical placement to enrol on this course?

We provide this as part of the course once you have completed the theory aspects of the course. We include an intensive 6 day practical training programme where you will gain valuable hands-on experience.

How is the course designed, delivered and assessed?

The course is designed primarily to be a self-study, distance learning course with tutor support to guide and support you through the learning and materials. The materials contain internet resources that have been examined for quality, content and access that are relevant to the topics and subject matter in the different units. The practical training is carried out towards the end of your course. 

I don't live in the UK, can I still enrol?

Absolutely yes, we accept international students as we work in partnership with centres around the world offering training, please contact us for more information.

Are there any examinations

There are no examinations but you also need to build a portfolio of evidence of your learning and understanding according to assessments set out in the course materials. Internal moderation of your portfolio is carried out by Animal Jobs Direct and then moderated externally. 

How long can I expect to be studying?

Each unit of the Certificate in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals contains a certain number of Guided Learning Hours (GLH) to give an indication of how long you can expect to be studying and preparing for any one unit’s assessment. Although the GLH of any unit may seem small (please see the specification above), you need to take into account the research and reading before attempting the assessments. 

Who is this qualification designed for?

This qualification is aimed at students who have already gained experience of working with small animals in a voluntary or employed capacity, and wish to develop their existing knowledge and skills to be able to safely administer hydrotherapy to small animals.  The qualification is therefore designed for students aged 19+. 

We accept Elcas Funding:

Animal Jobs Direct is has been granted Approved Learning Provider status in the Enhanced Learning Credit scheme to offer the ABC Awards Level 3 Certificate course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals and the ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals to MOD Service Leavers.

The Animal Hydrotherapy courses offered by Animal Jobs Direct meet the criteria for membership of the 

Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA)

 and the 

National Association of Registered Canine Hydrotherapists (NARCH).


Study from home, at your own pace and with full tutor support. This course includes 6 days intensive practical training at choice of well established Hydrotherapy Centres. 

Click here If you would like more information --> about how to enrol and study

Contact us  if you would like to discuss this Animal Hydrotherapy Diploma Course with our Careers Adviser

If you’ve already invested some time into learning how to work efficiently and safely with small animals, you’re potentially the ideal participant for this vigorous qualification course. From veterinarian nurses interested in moving their careers forward to animal welfare workers eager to learn more about the care of animals in their charge, many adults over the age of 19 find this program a suitable way to advance their knowledge and perfect their skills. Most students have some experience handling animals before starting the coursework.

What will you learn if you sign up for this qualification? You’ll discover valuable information regarding the use of hydrotherapy to treat small animals. This includes answering some critical questions:

  • How can this unique form of therapy benefit small animals in varying states of physical health?
  • Which medical conditions respond best to hydrotherapy?
  • What are the safest and most effective procedures for applying hydrotherapy techniques?

While a variety of hydrotherapy techniques are introduced through this course, it’s important that every student act in accordance with their personal qualifications. Participants are never required to perform skills that they can’t competently and confidently implement.

It is fair to say that animal medicine and understanding has come a long way over the past few decades. As a result of this continual dedication to development, our pets are now able to enjoy longer, healthier and happier lives. 

One such innovation that has helped to contribute to the overall well-being of the nation’s pets is animal hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy has long been a popular treatment technique for humans; it is non-weight bearing, so is comfortable for the vast majority of users. Expanding the inherent benefits of hydrotherapy to the animal world was inevitable, and the practice has now been perfected. 

Furthermore, there is a huge demand for qualified animal hydrotherapists, therefore working as a qualified animal hydrotherapist or setting up an animal hydrotherapy business can be a good career option.

For those wishing to be involved in the medical care of animals, learning more about the benefits of hydrotherapy and hydrotherapy treadmill therapy is incredibly important. To address this need, there is now a specially tailored qualification that has been designed to teach students all they need to know about using hydrotherapy with animal patients. This ABC Awards Level 3 Diploma course in Hydrotherapy for Small Animals equips students with the knowledge and expertise they require to deliver safe, competent and beneficial hydrotherapy to animals under their care. 

The qualification is extremely comprehensive. Rather than focusing specifically on the hydrotherapy itself, the external theory is also included in the qualification syllabus.

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