Book Review Animal Osteopathy Part 3

Continuing from the previous two book reviews, (click here if you have missed part 1 and part 2) we turn our attention to livestock and reptiles. Again, the insights into the treatment of both of these diverse groups is incredible. I had never considered the treatment of cattle or sheep, nor indeed the treatment of snakes. But one of the most striking things that I have learnt from this book, is how by understanding the structure of a species you can apply osteopathy to any animal.


Generally it is not considered financially viable to treat livestock using osteopathy, but there are rare breed farmers who need to ensure the maximum health of their breeding stock, as well as those animals kept as pets, from llamas to pigs. All these animals are capable of injuring themselves running round in their fields, and can all benefit from being treated, if you can manage to get near them! Treating livestock rather than pets brings up a whole host of issue, as they are not “tame” and are not used to be handled in the same way that a dog or horse is. However just like their domestic counterparts they too can benefit hugely from treatment.


Reptiles are a whole other ballgame, and indeed there is no other known literature on the osteopathic treatment of reptiles, so if you are reptile fan, then this will be of special interest to you. There are excellent descriptions of how to approach different types of reptiles, such as stroking tortoises under the chin to encourage them to stretch their necks out, as well as how to correctly hold snakes.


The descriptions of how to treat the different reptiles along with amazing photos are eye-opening. I particularly liked the pictures of a tortoise receiving treatment, it looked very happy! I had a far greater understanding of the differences in body structure and functions after reading this, and despite not having a specific interest in reptiles, nonetheless, I found this chapter absolutely fascinating!

Book review – Animal Osteopathy by Tony Nevin – part 2

Following on from our previous book review (click here if you missed part 1!) of this incredible book, we take a look at the chapter on horses. This has been written by an impressive collection of professionals; Chris Colles, Tony Nevin, Brendan Atkin, Julia Brooks, David Gutteridge and the wealth of experience shows.


I was particularly struck by the understanding of how the different professionals needed to operate together, and the inter-dependency of those professionals, including farriers and saddlers. The horse varies from the other animals in this book as it is usually a performance animal, so the expectation is higher. For example, your pet dog may be fine if it recovers 70% of movement in its leg, whereas horses tend to need recover 100% in order to be able to perform. You probably can’t achieve unless you work together as a team.


There is a section on different injuries that your horse can obtain and their corresponding rates of recovery, which while fascinating, is not a good read if you are nervous about vets’ bills! Joking aside, the clarity in prognosis is very useful, as it is better to fully understand the likelihood of recovery and to what level before one begins on rehabilitation.


The section about how to treat a horse is a must-read for anyone who is considering osteopathy as a career or indeed any related bodywork type training, such as massage or physio. The description on how to clearly assess and work with the horse and owner will be invaluable to your career. Even if it is not something you are considering training to do, if you have a horse this is well worth a read. If you understand what a professional is meant to be doing when they come and treat your horse, then you can assess whether they are competent even if it is not your field of expertise.


The insight into treating horses whilst sedated is fascinating, especially the description of how the “feel” of a sedated horse varies from an un-sedated one. Should you ever be in the position of having to discuss this with your vet and osteopath you will remarkably well informed and will understand why and what they are doing.


As before, this book is very engaging, regardless of whether or not you are a professional. It is readable by a lay person, you don’t need a science degree to understand it, but the insight gained will be invaluable to you as a horse owner.

Keep your eyes peeled for the 3rd installment of our book review, and if you can’t wait, order your copy of Animal Osteopathy today!


Book review – Animal Osteopathy by Tony Nevin – Part 1

This is a fascinating book, full of contributions from an incredible array of highly respected people from the field of animal osteopathy. Tony Nevin, famous for his work on elephants, was one of the brilliant contributors to Sue Palmer’s excellent book Understanding Horse Performance, Brain, Pain or Training.

Animal Osteopathy is split into chapters for different species of animal, and the chapters are written by different contributors dependent upon their specialty. Whilst one might except to only be interested in the animals that one is already interested in, for example dogs and horses, actually the other chapters are equally as fascinating. I particularly found the chapter on small furries, including rabbits, rats and guinea pigs, completely riveting, having never considered that you would be able to treat such a small animal using osteopathy.

This book is a must for anyone who is considering a career in animal osteopathy, or indeed other related fields, such as physio or equine massage. It will only serve to increase your knowledge and open your eyes to the extent of what you can do with the skills you want to learn.

Equally anyone who is interested in what their osteopath is doing to their animals will find this book engrossing and absorbing. While there are sections of detailed scientific descriptions, these are well-written and can be understood and enjoyed by non-professionals. Many books veer between being too scientific for lay people to understand and too simplistic for those with a basic working knowledge of the subject. This book rides a good line between the two, which is a difficult thing to do!

The difference and similarities between the species is discussed which is eye-opening. I had never considered the difference in body mass to skeleton size across the species before, and it certainly increased my understanding of the different species of animals.

This book is far too large and impressive to be discussed in just one book review, so keep your eyes peeled for the next installment! Or if it has already tickled your fancy, click here to buy!