Description: Arriving nearly 10 years after the first edition, this update of a book on animal physiotherapy is a welcome addition to the contemporary literature. The 22 chapters are written by 23 different authors and include numerous illustrations.
Purpose: The purpose is "to provide physiotherapists and interested others with a broad base of information on animal physiotherapy; the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation of animals."
Audience: The intended audience is animal and human physiotherapists. The editor opines that "physiotherapists, when working with animal patients, work on referral from a veterinary surgeon rather than autonomous first contact practice as with a human patient." In practice, animal physical therapists have certainly been known to see patients primarily and without referral, and this single issue remains the key point of friction between veterinarians and physical therapists. The book is written for physiotherapists, but veterinarians will certainly benefit from familiarizing themselves with the basics of physical therapy and learning to make more informed referrals of patients for physical therapy.
Features: As the editor describes in the introduction, the book begins with sections on basic concepts in canine and equine "animal behavior, nutrition, biomechanics, and exercise physiology" followed by chapters on equine and canine lameness and muscular and neurological conditions. The second half of the book is devoted to various therapeutic modalities including newer concepts such as aquatic therapy and has a considerable focus on orthopedic and spinal therapies. The authors seem to have successfully avoided the use of the word "chiropractic" it does not even occur in the index.
Assessment: The anatomic photographs of spinal sections will help physiotherapists visualize how the horse spine functions. The most useful illustrations are the photographs of the various manipulations both horses and dogs may undergo to stretch and to relieve pain, and could be superseded in quality only by adding accompanying videos that capture better the dynamic nature of these manipulations. Overall, this is an excellent and useful book that explains the concepts underlying physical therapy and the specifics of various modalities used to treat canine and equine physical injuries and disabilities.