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In recent years, veterinary medicine has begun to adopt some of the same natural and holistic approaches that have made their way into human health care. Some practitioners and pet owners alike have come to believe massage has therapeutic uses on animals and can be an effective part of an overall veterinary treatment. Although some states require animal massage therapists to hold certifications or licenses, Wisconsin allows anyone to provide massage under the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. However, those who want training can enroll in educational programs.
Enroll in one of Wisconsin's three certified animal massage schools. Anam Cara School of Equine Massage (anamcaraschool.com) deals exclusively in treatments for horses and includes both traditional massage as well as energy-focused approaches such as reiki. The Blue Sky Education Foundation (blueskyedu.org) and the Healing Oasis Wellness Center (healingoasis.edu) offer a variety of techniques including spinal manipulation and pain relief treatments.
Attend local chapter meetings of the American Veterinary Medicine Association to meet vets in your area that include massage as part of their practice or who may be interested in adding it. Because you must associate with a veterinarian to practice animal massage, finding the practitioner is critical to your career.
Apply to veterinarian practices for a job as an animal massage therapist. Practices that don't have a high volume of massage therapy patients may want to hire you as a veterinary assistant for the time you are not providing massage. Alternatively, you may need work from several practices if you want to provide massage services exclusively.
Interview veterinarians in much the same way they interview you. Your career and practice are completely tied to the veterinarians you serve as you work under their supervision and instruction. Therefore, you must feel good about your vet and your ability to work together. Try to pick a vet you feel can teach you and foster your career development.
- International Association of Animal Massage and Bodywork: Animal Massage Laws by State
- Animal Massage Guide: Animal Massage Schools
- American Veterinary Medicine Association: Scope of Practice - Complimentary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine
- American Veterinary Medicine Association: State Legislative Resources - Wisconsin
Eric Feigenbaum started his career in print journalism, becoming editor-in-chief of "The Daily" of the University of Washington during college and afterward working at two major newspapers. He later did many print and Web projects including re-brandings for major companies and catalog production.