In the UK the treatment of animals is controlled by the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 .The main aim of this act is to prevent lay people practising 'veterinary surgery ' which is defined as :
(a) the diagnosis of diseases in , and injuries to , animals including tests performed on animals for diagnostic purposes;
(b) the giving of advice based upon such a diagnosis;
(c) the medical or surgical treatment of animals; and
(d) the performance of surgical operations on animals.

Julie at work

Massage is covered under an *Exemption Order (1962) as a manipulative therapy.
'In the view' of some members of the RCVS Aromatherapy 'diagnoses and treats' and should therefore only be administered by a vet trained in this modality .
We abide by (a), (b) , (c) and (d) ,always work with veterinary approval , only address minor ailments or behavioural problems, do NOT 'diagnose and treat.' . Legal counsel assures me that we are working completely within the law . In fact many of my student & graduate cases are vet referrals!

NB The House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology ( Complementary and Alternative Medicine , November 2000 ) defined Massage & Aromatherapy as 'complementary' because they 'do not purport to embrace diagnostic skills'.

For a full report on the legal situation e-mail me - (please include your 'phone number in the e-mail).

Footnote :The Department for the Environment Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has other treatments under review for exemption. * These include the artificial insemination of equids by non- vets , the broadening of the scope of equine dentists and the possibility of allowing veterinary nurses to work on horses. There may be more changes in the pipeline. Pat is one of the consultees. To participate in this consultation process contact
Update September 2008: Defra has had to shelve its contribution until 2011 but the RCVS has set up a committee to consider ways that changes can be made to the Veterinary Surgeons Act, in the long and short term.'
Update November 2012: The RCVS is sharing a review of regulation for lay professionals with Defra and the Defra person tasked with this project is Aroon Korgaonkar ( ). I am in contact with Aroon and have recommended National Occupational Standards and a Code of Practice rather than regulation as in other professions the latter has led to political in fighting and exorbitant fees to professional bodies.

'Governing Bodies'

Within the training industry a 'governing body' is an umbrella group of like minded training providers who agree on best practice and standards of education within their chosen field. Despite a statement from the Guild of Essential Oils Therapists for Animals (GEOTA) to the contrary, there is no governing body for this work.

'RCVS approved'

Issue 258 of 'Your Horse' page 61 stated: ' Your complementary therapy course should be RCVS approved'. As the RCVS does not involve itself in therapies provided by lay people I sent this quote to Mark Elliott MRCVS, who replied: ' This is absolutely not the case with respect to non-vets. I understand that there may be some making such claims to try to support their courses incorrectly.'