Physiotherapists in Alberta are regulated under the Health Professions Act (HPA). This legislation is applied in the context of human health and physiotherapists are educated first and foremost to assess and treat the human body. Use of the title physiotherapist, physical therapist or PT’ is limited to regulated members of Physiotherapy Alberta.
The Veterinary Profession Act exclusively governs the delivery of animal health care by veterinarians. This Act also defines the scope of practice respecting animal health care and restricts the practice of veterinary medicine to veterinarians, and within a limited scope, to animal health technologists. The practice of veterinary medicine is regulated in Alberta by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA).
Physiotherapy Alberta’s position is that, while individuals with a physiotherapy background may pursue education and training to rehabilitate animals, the HPA does not provide Physiotherapy Alberta with the latitude to regulate physiotherapists practicing on animals.
Because the provision of health care, including rehabilitation, to animals is within the purview of the ABVMA physiotherapists should be aware that:
- Use of protected titles granted under the HPA is prohibited when delivering animal rehabilitation; and time spent in the provision of animal rehabilitation does not qualify towards practice hour requirement for practice permit renewal.
- Physiotherapists wishing to provide animal rehabilitation should recognize that animal health care activities, including rehabilitation, are within veterinarian’s protected scope of practice and therefore must ensure the provision of animal rehabilitation is in accordance with Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA) rules and standards.
In keeping with this position, Physiotherapy Alberta will work cooperatively with the ABVMA on complaints received about physiotherapists that may relate to issues including inappropriate title use or other violations or behaviors unbecoming of a Physiotherapy Alberta member.
This Position Statement has been reviewed and endorsed by the ABVMA.
View the Animal Rehabilitation position statement in PDF.