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Small Animal Neuro-Anatomical Acupuncture & Dry Needling Certification - Part 1

Small Animal Neuro-Anatomical Acupuncture & Dry Needling Certification - Part 1

Small Animal Neuro-Anatomical Acupuncture & Dry Needling Certification - Part 1

This course includes
5:45:49 of Course Material (View)
Lifetime access after purchase
Certificate of completion
This course was recorded in August 2021


This online course is designed to transition physiotherapists who are educated and rostered to provide acupuncture in human practice into being able to select acupoints or myofascial trigger points to needle in small animal patients. 

The course is taught with a western neuroanatomical approach to acupuncture and dry needling. 

The online portion of this certification course consists of 15 lessons, examination questions that follow each lesson, and a final exam.  Case studies are discussed as well.


Pathway to Certification Prerequisites

  • Diploma or Degree in Physiotherapy / Physical Therapy
  • Diploma in Canine Rehab, CCRT, CCRP, Master in Animal Physiotherapy, Master in Veterinary Physiotherapy, Diploma in Veterinary Physiotherapy (Or equivalent)
  • Rostered to perform needling techniques by their provincial physiotherapy College OR education in human Acupuncture and/or Dry Needling as evidenced by a certification (i.e. a test was conducted and the student passed) in cases where the province does not roster for needling.


Learning Objectives

In this online course, participants will:

  • Acquire knowledge of the history of acupuncture.
  • Gain a basic understanding of the anatomical / westernized approach to acupuncture.
  • Understand neuroanatomical mechanisms of action for the effectiveness of acupuncture.
  • Learn about safety concerns, contraindications, and animal-specific considerations.
  • Be able to identify a neuroanatomical rationale for the selection of acupoints.
  • Learn about non-needling techniques to stimulate acupoints.
  • Be instructed in palpation, localization, and needling of acupoints on a canine subject.
  • Learn the theory and mechanisms of action for dry needling techniques.
  • Be instructed in dry needling techniques.
  • Learn clinical reasoning skills via case presentations as it pertains to both acupuncture and dry needling.


Course Outline:

  • Lesson 1 - History of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Lesson 2 - Neuroanatomical mechanisms of action for acupuncture
  • Lesson 3 - New theories regarding mechanisms of action
  • Lesson 4 - Acupoint selection
  • Lesson 5 - Non-needling techniques to stimulate acupoints
  • Lesson 6 - Safety considerations for animal acupuncture and dry needling
  • Lesson 7 - Acupuncture points of the head and neck
  • Lesson 8 - Acupuncture points of the shoulder
  • Lesson 9 - Acupuncture points of the elbow, carpus, and foot
  • Lesson 10 - Acupuncture points of the spine and pelvis
  • Lesson 11 - Acupuncture points of the hip
  • Lesson 12 - Acupuncture points of the stifle
  • Lesson 13 - Acupuncture points of the hock, tarsus, and foot
  • Lesson 14 - Dry needling and ashi points (introduction & techniques)
  • Lesson 15 - Case studies and wrap up
  • Final Exam



Completion of this online program is a prerequisite to the one-day Hands-On course (Part 2) where students can practice point localization and the various needling techniques on small animal subjects. 

Completion of both the online and hands-on courses will culminate in a Certificate in Small Animal Neuro-Anatomical Acupuncture & Dry Needling. 

Visit to sign up or see if we have a "Hands On" course scheduled.  Otherwise, keep checking on the ARD pages of

The instructors
Animal Rehabilitation Division

The Animal Rehabilitation Division (ARD) is comprised of a group of physical therapists passionate about the physical health and function of our canine and equine patients. We realize the importance of animals in our society and appreciate the joy of seeing them reach their full potential.

The ARD advocates that registered physiotherapists are the professionals of choice to provide animal rehabilitation. The ARD is a resource for the best practice of animal rehabilitation through education, professional development and communication within the animal health care industry. 

The benefits of membership in the division are:

  • Reduced rates on courses
  • Quarterly e-newsletter
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • Access to professional malpractice insurance for animal rehab
  • Product discounts
  • Educational opportunities in the U.S.
  • Advocacy

Carrie Smith
BScPT, Certified Canine Rehab Therapist
Carrie Smith is the owner of Kemptville Physiotherapy Centre in North Grenville. She has been working as a physiotherapist for over 30 years and started treating dogs about 15 years ago. After working in vet clinics with clients for just over ten years, Carrie decided to expand her practice and open up a canine physiotherapy clinic right next to her practice in Kemptville. Her Animal Rehabilitation clinic is one of only three of its kind in Canada. Utilising her knowledge in sports physio, Carrie has also been the team physio for the Canadian World Agility Open team for both humans and canines.

Laurie Edge-Hughes
BScPT, MAnimSt(Animal Physio), CAFCI, CCRT

Laurie holds a BScPT from the University of Alberta and a Master of Animal Studies in Animal Physiotherapy from the University of Queensland (Australia). She is certified in acupuncture and canine rehabilitation, and has been involved with the executive of the Animal Rehab Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association since its inception in 1994.

Laurie taught the first canine physiotherapy courses in Canada, the USA, and Australia. She is a sought-after lecturer and instructor in North America and abroad. Her primary teaching platform is now, an online educational website. Laurie co-owns and practices out of The Canine Fitness Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. In 2020, she was awarded the inaugural Veterinary Rehabilitation Therapist Award by the International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy and in 2021 was awarded a Medal of Distinction by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Kim Barrett
BscPT, Diploma Canine Rehabilitation, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist

Kim Barrett is an Edmonton based physiotherapist, who as a lifelong animal lover, decided to take extra training to practice on animals. She has her Diploma of Canine Rehab from the Animal Rehab Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. She is also a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRT) after completing her studies at the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in Florida. She is pursuing her Diploma of Equine Rehab presently. She graduated from Dalhousie University in 2007 with her Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy, having previously graduated from Dalhousie with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in Biology.

Kim opened Paws Animal Rehab & Fitness Inc. in 2018. Kim is a member of the Alberta Force Free Alliance and has training on low stress animal handling. She has completed Dr. Sophia Yin's low stress handling course, as well as completing her Pet First Aid Certification. She treats a wide variety of conditions in animals (cruciate repairs, disc disease, vestibular issues, etc.). She enjoys working with elderly animals to improve their strength and mobility, and overall quality of life. She also enjoys working with sporting dogs to improve performance and overall conditioning.

When not treating animals, Kim is rescuing them. Be sure to ask about her fosters in care and involvement in the Edmonton rescue community. Kim also treats people - she can be found at Phoenix Physiotherapy in Spruce Grove and occasionally at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital. Kim previously worked for 10 years at the Glenrose Hospital but left her full time position to pursue animal rehabilitation.

Sandra Oxtoby
PT, MScPT, BKin, Diploma in Equine and Canine Rehab

Sandra graduated from the University of Alberta with a Masters of Physical Therapy in 2015 which was preceded by a Bachelor of Kinesiology with a major in Mind Sciences from the University of Calgary in 2010. She is the co-owner of a boutique practice in Cochrane, Alberta that works with horse rider athletes and their equine partners. One day a week she works out of the Canine Fitness Centre in Calgary, Alberta practicing on canines. She is certified in Biomedical Dry Needling and has a special interest in the biomechanical interaction of horse and rider. She is the Past Chair (2017 - 2019) of the Animal Rehab Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, working on advocacy of physio for animals. She also is the Knowledge Translation (KT) representative, which connects researchers internationally in animal physio world with clinicians in practice. She also sits on the board of International Association of Physical Therapists in Animal Practice as the secretary. In May 2021, she was an honorary recipient of the Canadian Physiotherapy Associations 100th anniversary Medal of Distinction.

Course Material included in this course
  • Introduction
  • Lesson 1 - History Of Animal Acupuncture
  • History of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • History of Acupuncture & TCM Handout
  • Lesson 1 Quiz
  • Alternate - History of Acupuncture & TCM Handout
  • Lesson 2 - Neuro-Anatomical Mechanisms of Action
  • Neuro-Anatomical Mechanisms of Action
  • Neuroanatomical Mechanisms of Action Handout
  • Lesson 2 Quiz
  • Alternate - Neuroanatomical Mechanisms of Action Handout
  • Lesson 3 - New Theories
  • New Theories
  • New Theories Handout
  • Lesson 3 Quiz
  • Alternate - New Theories Handout
  • Lesson 4 - Acupoint Selection
  • Acupoint Selection
  • Acupoint Selection Handout
  • Lesson 4 Quiz
  • Alternate - Acupoint Selection Handout
  • Lesson 5 - Non-Needling Techniques
  • Non-Needling Techniques to Stimulate Acupoints
  • Extra Information
  • Non-Needling Techniques Handout
  • Lesson 5 Quiz
  • Alternate - Non-Needling Techniques Handout
  • Lesson 6 - Safety
  • Safety Considerations for Animal Acupuncture and Dry Needling
  • Safety Considerations Handout
  • Lesson 6 Quiz
  • Alternate - Safety Considerations Handout
  • Lesson 7 - Acupuncture Points Head and Neck
  • Point Localization Head and Neck Handout
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Head and Neck - Lesson
  • Lesson 7 Quiz
  • Lesson 8 - Acupuncture Point Localization Shoulder
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Shoulder Handout
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Shoulder - Lesson
  • Lesson 8 Quiz
  • Lesson 9 - Acupuncture Point Localization Elbow, Carpus and Foot
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Elbow, Carpus and Foot Handout
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Elbow, Carpus and Foot - Lesson
  • Lesson 9 Quiz
  • Lesson 10 - Acupuncture Point Localization Spine and Pelvis
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Spine and Pelvis Handout
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Spine and Pelvis - Lesson
  • Lesson 10 Quiz
  • Lesson 11 - Acupuncture Point Localization Hip
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Hip Handout
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Hip - Lesson
  • Lesson 11 Quiz
  • Lesson 12 - Acupuncture Point Localization Stifle
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Stifle Handout
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Stifle - Lesson
  • Lesson 12 Quiz
  • Lesson 13 - Acupuncture Point Localization Hock, Tarsus and Foot
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Hock, Tarsus and Foot Handout
  • Acupuncture Point Localization Hock, Tarsus and Foot - Lesson
  • Lesson 13 Quiz
  • Lesson 14 - Introduction to Dry Needling and Ashi Points
  • Introduction to Dry Needling Handout
  • Introduction to Dry Needling - Lesson
  • Dry Needling Techniques Handout
  • Dry Needling Techniques - Lesson
  • Ashi Points - Lesson
  • Ashi Point Article, Nugent-Head 2013
  • Lesson 15 Case Studies
  • Cases 1 & 2
  • Cases 3 & 4
  • Cases 5 & 6
  • Cases 7 & 8
  • Case 9 and Wrap Up Discussion
  • Final Exam
  • Final Exam
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