Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962

The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962

With the movement of Complementary Therapies into the field of animal treatment, this Order was introduced to amend the original Veterinary Surgeons Act to take such legitimate therapies into account.

As far as Complementary Therapies are concerned, this Order refers to 4 categories:

Manipulative Therapies
This covers only Physiotherapy, Osteopathy and Chiropractic and allows these therapies where a vet has diagnosed the condition and decided that this treatment would be appropriate.

Animal behaviourism
Behavioural treatment is exempt, unless medication is used where permission must again be sought from the vet.

Faith Healing
According to the RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct, Faith Healers have their own Code of Practice which indicates that permission must be sought from a vet before healing is given by the "laying on of hands"

Other complementary Therapies
"It is illegal, in terms of the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, for lay practitioners however qualified in the human field, to treat animals. At the same time it is incumbent on veterinary surgeons offering any complementary therapy to ensure that they are adequately trained in its application." (RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - treatment of animals by non-veterinary surgeons)

So, apart from the manipulative therapies, behavioural treatment and faith healing...
all other forms of Complementary Therapy are illegal in the treatment of animals.

The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order states that: -

1. The Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962 allows for the treatment of animals by 'physiotherapy', provided that the animal has first been seen by a veterinary surgeon who has diagnosed the condition and decided that it should be treated by physiotherapy under his/her direction.

2. 'Physiotherapy' is interpreted as including all kinds of manipulative therapy. It therefore includes osteopathy and chiropractic but would not, for example, include acupuncture or aromatherapy.

Who can treat an animal?

A summary of who can, and who can't, give treatment to an animal can be found here on this page.

You can read the full details about this in the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons' Code of Professional Conduct

Relevant Laws

Protection of Animals Act

Veterinary Surgeons' Act

Veterinary Exemptions

Animal Treatment Laws