The Importance of Anatomy


As a Vet Physio, your knowledge of anatomy is vital for you to understand how what you are feeling when you palpate an animal and how any dysfunction to that area could affect the animal. Your knowledge of anatomy is also important for when you are prescribing exercises to ensure that the exercises target the correct muscles.

At Harper Adams our anatomy was taught by an amazing lecturer – Dr Sue Kempson, who also teaches anatomy at The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh. As a registered vet nurse I had already got some knowledge of anatomy but this was mostly concerned with organ function and the skeleton rather than muscles which are what made up most of our physio anatomy training.

As you can imagine there are a lot of muscles within the body there are approximately 640 skeletal muscles in the human body, dogs and horses have the same! That’s a lot of muscles to learn and remember, fortunately, we don’t need to learn every single muscle however we did have a list of muscles in our SEL’s (I will come to these later) and an additional list for our exams which we had to learn and remember throughout our training.
The muscles we had to know are those that are involved in the movement of the skeleton. As a vet physio, these are the muscles which you will be working with on a daily basis. and if you do not understand where these muscles are and what they do then you would not be able to work effectively.

On top of your muscles, you also need to know the anatomy of the skeleton and joints as these are also important to understand when treating animals. Many of the orthopaedic conditions and operations which are available to treat dogs and cats involve various joints, muscles and bones. This means that as a vet physio you need to understand what has gone wrong with those joints, muscles and bones, what the vet may have done to treat the condition e.g. which operation and what you need to do to help treat the problem.

Not only do you need to know all of this to treat problems but you also need to know how to improve fitness in working dogs. This includes knowing which muscles need to be targeted with exercises to improve, flexibility, coordination and strength which will help to not only improve performance but also prevent injuries from occurring.

I am sure you can appreciate from this post why anatomy is so important to the vet physio. Should you be considering studying veterinary physiotherapy I would highly recommend learning some basic anatomy before you start.

In future posts, I am going to explain more about the Muscles which we had to learn and go more in-depth about the anatomy of various body parts. If you would like anything covered then leave me a message.

The importance of anatomy



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      10th May 2020 / 5:52 pm

      Many thanks, this is much appreciated.

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