THE healing hands of a South Wales veterinary nurse are transforming the lives of pets.
Nichi Tanner, who works for Valley Vets in Cardiff and The Valleys, has become one of only a handful of members of her profession to qualify as a veterinary physiotherapist.
Nichi has achieved an Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Physiotherapy following two years of intense study.
She treats dogs, cats, horses and even rabbits to improve their mobility, rehabilitation after operations, manage pain and help with long-term conditions, including arthritis.
Nichi now hopes to complete her Masters in Veterinary Physiotherapy.
She juggled her studies with working full time as Practice Manager and Registered Veterinary Nurse at Valley Vets’ two veterinary hospitals in Cardiff and Ystrad Mynach and branch surgeries in Caerphilly and Pentyrch.
She said: “I became interested in animal physiotherapy when a Labrador came into the practice suffering from severe arthritis. We gave him pain relief but it seemed to me that there was much more we could do to help improve his quality of life.
“Physiotherapy considers the body as a whole rather than just focussing on one area. It’s rare to have a dedicated animal physiotherapist in practice so I’m hoping clients whose pets are having problems with movement, or perhaps have recently suffered an injury, take advantage of this service as it can make a big difference to their pet’s life.”
Physiotherapy can be used to enhance performance of agility or working dogs and racehorses, promote wound healing, reduce pain and inflammation, speed up healing from fractures and orthopaedic conditions such as cruciate rupture and hip and elbow dysplasia.
It can also help reduce stiffness and discomfort of arthritis in elderly animals and help to make them happier an improve mobility.
Nichi studied veterinary nursing at Berkshire College of Agriculture from the age of 15, and is Practice Manager at Valley Vets. Her Advanced Certificate in Veterinary Physiotherapy is accredited by Middlesex University, and she was one of only a handful of veterinary nurses who completed the course this year.
She added: “Clients have got involved as a large part of what I do is teaching owners exercises they can do at home with their pets. It means pets can benefit from physiotherapy both in the home and in practice.
“Pets are living much longer and keeping our older generation happier and comfortable for as long as possible is an important part of what I do. My particular passion is treating older pets. Elderly pets often suffer from a range of health problems and physiotherapy can help to bring out the best in them.”
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