Business Monday: Animal Massage Laws and Practitioner Liability Insurance in Ontario, Canada

Animal massage lawsThank you all who have been sending in lots of questions for the Business Monday series – we love hearing them!

We recently received a very good question from an equine massage practitioner about animal massage laws in Ontario, Canada. I didn’t know the answer to her question, so I reached out to Lyndsey Deutsch, owner of Equinology’s Canadian sister company Hoof and Paw Body Workers.

Lyndsey not only sent the answer and pdf below, she also generously forwarded pdfs of the Veterinary Acts from all the Canadian provinces along with a few more Q&As similar to the one below. I have added a new page to the site called “Guidelines For The Practice Of Complementary And Alternative Veterinary Medicine in Canada” where you can find all of them as pdfs.

Now, today’s question:

Q: I am a qualified equine massage therapist from the UK. I would like to know about equine massage regulations in Ontario please. Do owners require veterinary consent to have their horses treated? What about insurance for the therapists – any recommended companies?

Answer by Lyndsey Deutsch, Hoof and Paw Body Workers:

In regards to the regulations surrounding animal massage in Ontario, below is a Q&A that was completed with the Ontario Vet board last year, as well as a position statement on The Practice of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine from the College of Veterinarians of Ontario.

As for insurance, I would recommend that any Equine or Canine Body Worker check with the IEBWA regarding their eligibility for membership as they have a great insurance program for their members.

1) Is the province receptive to practitioners in any of the modalities to be certified outside of being a veterinarian or Animal Health Technician (AHT) (i.e.: can Doctors of Chiropractic perform on animals, can a Naturopathic doctor conduct an acupuncture treatment, could a provincially certified massage practitioner practice on an animal, could a provincially licensed physiotherapist develop a rehabilitation program for an animal using physio techniques)

Non-veterinary modalities are considered viable and complementary to other forms of medical treatment. Client consent is necessary in order to continue with alternative treatment methods. Certified complementary therapies are encouraged to become a part of the equine team to aid in the horseʼs program and well-being.

2) What are some of the things the Veterinarian Association (or individual veterinarian) would take into consideration while looking at a modality or practitioner?

Complementary programs are accepted within Ontario, as practitioners do not need to have veterinary background or be accompanied by a local veterinarian.

3) Provincial Veterinary thoughts on a professional association for complementary practitioners. What would be considered an acceptable number on annual continuing education hours for a practitioner who is a member of a professional association?

Unable to find adequate information from the Veterinary Act attained.

4) Vet/practitioner relationship. Should animal owners require written clearance for body work? Verbal clearance? Direct veterinary supervision?

The Veterinarian requires client consent, not specified to be in writing. There is not direct supervision of complementary modalities or therapies, although the non-veterinary practitioners are recommended to the clients by the veterinarians.

Position statement on The Practice of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine

Cattie Coyle

Cattie Coyle

Founder and Editor at Animal Wellness Guide
Cattie is the founder and editor of Animal Wellness Guide. She is a freelance photographer, graduate of Bancroft School of Massage Therapy’s small animal program, and has studied Applied Zoopharmacognosy. Learn more about Cattie
Cattie Coyle
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