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From ponies to puppies - veterinary physiotherapy has it all! Meet Jess Parsons

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27 March 2020

Helping animals back to health is an essential part of keeping them fit and well; whether they are working animals that need to be at peak performance, or your pet that needs to maintain its wellbeing, our veterinary students are learning the best practice in animal care. Jess Parsons, a third year BSc (Hons) Veterinary Physiotherapy student, has been learning all about this throughout her degree and now out on placement.

Working with animals was something Jess had always wanted to do. She commented: “Growing up, I always thought I wanted to be a vet; it was only when I had the opportunity to do some work experience that I realised I was much more suited to animal care outside of operations!

“That’s when I started looking into other veterinary professions as I was still determined to work with animals, helping to improve and maintain their wellbeing. At the time of my search, I was undergoing physiotherapy myself which was what inspired me to look into the course.

“It was the best decision I could have made – I get to care for and work with animals in an environment that works for me.”

As a third year, Jess has been working out in industry, putting her degree skills to the test. She spoke to us about the roles she has had, enabling her to get a variety of experiences: “I’m currently at a dressage yard called Kingswood Equestrian centre for the equine element of my placement. They have a water treadmill where I am working with the horses. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with other physiotherapists, farriers, and vets.

“It’s really quite amazing to be working with such athletic horses and seeing the way their muscles move as they work. It’s very different to the riding school ponies at my home yard.

“Before my equestrian placement, I was working with canines. I worked at a hydrotherapy pool where I helped to swim dogs for fitness as well as rehabilitation purposes. Seeing such a huge variety of breeds and cases was very helpful to broaden my knowledge of the field.”

Jess explained why she chose to come to Harper Adams, saying: “I came to campus for an open day and for the Harper Adams Experience. I just fell in love with the place and the community feel! I grew up in a suburban area so the rural setting was a new and refreshing place to be.

“My degree has taught me so much – I feel equipped with skills and ready to go into the work place. Once I finish the degree and qualify, I’d love to work as an in-house physio at a referral centre alongside veterinary surgeons, devising treatment plans and rehabilitating animals post-operation.”

To others looking at becoming a veterinary physiotherapist, Jess has this advice: “Gather as much experience with as many animals as possible! It’ll give you a good foundation of knowledge to work from and you’ll be able to go into practical sessions in a confident way and get the most out of it. It’s a hands-on course so the more prepared you are, the better.”

To find out more about our veterinary physiotherapy courses, click here. If you have any questions about joining us at Harper Adams, you can speak to a student or a member of staff on our Questions page. Jess is also available to talk about her university experience and course should you have more questions!

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