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A Physiotherapeutic Approach to Vestibular Disease- Current Concepts and Treatment

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A Physiotherapeutic Approach to Vestibular Disease- Current Concepts and Treatment

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A Physiotherapeutic Approach to Vestibular Disease- Current Concepts and Treatment

Small animal vestibular presentations are distressing for owners and difficult to manage from a handling point of view, specifically within the acute stage. Physiotherapists are ideally placed to support patients, owners and managing clinicianswith useful ergonomic adaptations and methods of handlingduring this phase. Initial habituation generally improves acute symptoms, resolving spontaneous nystagmus and nausea/vomiting and offers an appropriate start point for vestibular rehabilitation in earnest.  Rehabilitation therapyfocuses on facilitating sensory substitution utilising the remaining intact sensory channels and behavioural adaptation to finetune deficient strategies. 

Vestibular rehabilitation improves rehabilitation outcomes in acute cases, is safe and effective for treatment of unilateral hypofunction and supports symptom resolution and improvement of function in the medium term within the human field (McDonnell & Hillier, 2016). Vestibular rehabilitation has also demonstrated a beneficial impact for chronic human cases, regardless of the time since onset (Hall, 2016). 

Vestibular rehabilitation can be simply translated to a small animal population with some adaptations and this approach is outlined. There is still work to do to effectively indicate foruse of techniques such as the Epley manoeuvre but despitethis these techniques are accepted as being safe and the modified techniques for use in small animals have been well recorded in published press.



Sarah Conley is an ACPAT (Cat A) based at Davies Veterinary Specialists with a background in neurological and musculoskeletal physiotherapy in human practice. Sarah now solely treats a small animal caseload with a neurological bias and over the past few years has begun to adapt human vestibular physiotherapy approaches for small animal cases

This session provides an overview of this treatment approach, and provides some interesting questions for its further development.    


Please Note: this is a recording. If you have any question contact Commitee@ACPAT.Org and we can pass them onto the speaker 


Please find a list of tickets for this event below.

Advance booking is available from 28 October 2023 until 8 December 2023.

Late booking is available from 8 December 2023 until 19 January 2024.

Ticket Advance booking Late booking
Any non-member £35.00 £40.00
Cat A: Chartered Physiotherapist £25.00 £30.00
Cat B: Student £25.00 £30.00
Cat C: Associate £30.00 £30.00
Honorary £25.00 £30.00
Non-Practicing Physio £25.00 £30.00
Overseas Physio £25.00 £30.00
Overseas Student £25.00 £30.00

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