Canine rehab now certified program

Marty Pease, certified canine rehabilitation practioner of Denver, Colo., works with a patient on back, abdominal and rear leg strengthening, and shoulder stabilization. Photo courtesy of Marty Pease.

The concept of physical therapy as a veterinary tool is not exactly new, but the certifications awarded by the University of Tennessee and Northeast Seminars are.

Thirty-six people became certified canine rehabilitation practitioners (CCRP) in June—the first to earn this designation in the United States.

“I think it adds credibility,” said Marty Pease, MS, PT, CCRP of Denver, Colo.

Pease, one of the June CCRP graduates, has worked with the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado in Denver as the head of the animal rehabilitation practice since 1999. She was strictly a human physical therapist before joining VRCC.

“I was looking to do something different,” Pease said. “So I rekindled my interest in working with animals.”

The program is open only to physical therapists, physical therapy assistants, veterinarians or veterinary technicians. It entails postgraduate course work, testing, case-study reviews and 40 hours of supervised clinical experience. The program has been a work in progress, Pease said, developed over four or five years while the first class of graduates took classes. But the certification can now be earned in about a year, she said.

While she doesn’t know if pet owners are aware of the certification yet, Pease said, many veterinarians think it is useful.

“They think it’s great, and they’re marketing it actively,” she said.