What does the profession of bovine osteopath involve?
The main tasks of the bovine osteopath are to limit the risk of dystocias, and to optimise milk production by limiting uncontrolled premature drying off amongst other things.
He/she also makes it possible to reduce the appearance of diseases currently encountered during AI, by optimising return to uterine involution, the reproductive cycle and by limiting the development of inflammation and infections (metritis, endometritis, pyometra, vaginitis, etc.). As in human osteopathy, animal osteopathy of course applies to the mother and also to the newborn and the young animal. The calf can obtain equal benefit from this monitoring, for example when there are swallowing problems, and digestive, locomotor and immune disorders. Male breeding animals may also need monitoring because their fertility and libido may be affected by osteopathic malfunctions, in the pelvis and the lumbar regions for example.
The osteopath maintains a close relationship with the breeder and with the veterinary surgeon, who is the prescriber. Of course, the two professions are different, but they are complementary and work together. Natacha Berthon, osteopath, explains, “It takes a lifetime to be a good osteopath or a good veterinary surgeon. The osteopath works only with his hands; no chemistry or tools are used. Make no mistake, when the breeder asks for an osteopath he needs a real specialist in the discipline”. Animal osteopathy is a discipline which is now recognised and defined by the texts.
What training is required to become an animal osteopath?
The training curriculum immerses the students in five years of study to acquire mastery of animal anatomy and physiology. The training programmes, including biology, biomechanics, neurophysiology, myology, etc., leave the student in no doubt that he is truly involved in medical studies: “The osteopath must remember that his first lesson is anatomy, his last lesson is anatomy and all his lessons are anatomy”, stated Andrew Taylor Still (1828-1917), the founder of the discipline.