Level 3 Certificate in Small Animal Hydrotherapy

Ofqual Code
Qualification Level
Guided Learning Hours
Study mode
Online and 4 Day Practicals
Location of Practical Placement
Start Date
Enrolment will be valid for
2 years
Entry Criteria
Assessment Method
Awarding Organisation
OCN West Midlands

Course Summary


The Level 3 Certificate in Small Animal Hydrotherapy is designed for students who want to gain an Ofqual regulated qualification and practical experience in hydrotherapy training.

This course features a blend of online theory and 4 days of practical hands-on training. Students must have prior experience working with animals, have great English speaking and writing skills and be a confident swimmer.

The Canine Hydrotherapy Association (CHA) recognises this course as part of their criteria for joining their membership for qualified Small Animal Hydrotherapists. In addition, once qualified, students can apply for an official membership of the International Association of Animal Therapists (IAAT)


4-day Practical Placement in a Covid-secure venue. Placement dates and venues available in UK & USA.

Placement locations: Chepstow, Witney, Aberdeen, Houston (USA), and Melksham.

Unit 1

Introduction to Hydrotherapy

This unit is intended to provide learners with background information on hydrotherapy. They will understand what hydrotherapy is and various aspects involved in hydrotherapy from the properties of water to the equipment used. The learner will know the legislation related to the practice of hydrotherapy.

Unit 2

Anatomy and Physiology of Small Animals

The unit aims to introduce anatomy and physiology to learners including body systems, tissue types and joint anatomy and physiology in small animals. This will assist understanding the relationship between anatomy and physiology and providing hydrotherapy to the patient.

Unit 3

Gait Analysis and Biomechanics

The aim of this unit is for learners to gain knowledge of gait patterns and relevant terminology, as well as posture and muscle contractions relevant to hydrotherapy treatment.

Unit 4

Hydrotherapy and Related Conditions

The aim of this unit is for learners to gain knowledge of the conditions that are commonly presented for hydrotherapy, including medical, orthopaedic and neurological conditions.

Unit 5

Maintenance of Equipment and Water Balance

Learners will develop the knowledge to understand the importance of key aspects of maintenance in a hydrotherapy setting. This will include water testing and how to interpret results from water tests.

Unit 6

Practical Administration of Hydrotherapy

Learners will explore the practical application of hydrotherapy from the initial assessment to the preparation of the patient, to hydrotherapy treatment and aftercare. They will be able to conduct hydrotherapy pool sessions. Learners will be able to demonstrate skills in the practical administration of hydrotherapy.

Unit 7

Professional Practice Management

The aim of this unit aims to demonstrate to learners the importance of Continual Professional Development and Professional Conduct within the workplace. Learners will develop knowledge of the roles and responsibilities within a hydrotherapy centre and the administration to be carried out.

Unit 8

Small Animal Assessment for Hydrotherapy

This unit provides explores the veterinary referral process, assessment, and health checking of small animals. It also looks at the various professional team members involved in treating patients, and their suitability for hydrotherapy.

Unit 9

Small Animal Behaviour

Learners will understand small animal behaviour in relation to hydrotherapy. They will develop knowledge related to safe handling and understanding body language in small animals.

Unit 10

Small Animal First Aid

This unit looks at the aims of first aid, different types of emergencies that the learner may come across in a hydrotherapy centre, and practical application of first aid techniques.

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