ABPA (Animal Biomechanical Professionals Australia) membership is only open to Australian university qualified ABM professionals, with degrees in Chiropractic, Osteopathy or Veterinary Medicine, followed by the RMIT Graduate Diploma in Animal Chiropractic, the RMIT Master of Chiropractic Science (Animal Chiropractic) or the new Graduate Diploma Animal Biomechanical Medicine, which is delivered through Box Hill Institute in Victoria.
ABPA member Chiropractors, Osteopaths and Veterinarians all share the common skill of practicing ABM on animals. Beyond this scope, each of these three professions continues to practice within its usual boundaries. For example, Chiropractors and Osteopaths do not practice veterinary medicine, and Veterinarians do not practice ABM on humans. ABPA member Chiropractors and Osteopaths will actively and frequently refer patients for Veterinary assessment.
The major benefit of the inter-professional collaboration within the ABPA is the bringing together of a vast array of experience from professions that would otherwise rarely cross paths. All practitioners who undertake the ABM program develop enormous respect for the members of the other professions. The ABPA provides avenues for practitioners from all 3 professions to exchange opinions on cases, and also provides continuing education for ABM practitioners.
The general public is becoming far less tolerant of “self-trained” individuals, providing a variety of services, purporting to be something they are not, making inappropriate ‘diagnoses’, often with a very shallow understanding of what they are doing. This is both misleading and potentially dangerous.
The Australian Veterinary Chiropractic Association was formed in 1998, with the aim of safeguarding those utilising the services of its members, ensuring clients will only be receiving the highest standard of quality care, by accountable practitioners. As there are legislative prohibitions on the use of the titles “Veterinary” and “Chiropractic”, it became obvious over time that we needed to change the name of the association, and the new course, to something neutral. Animal Biomechanical Professionals Australia became the name of the association in 2014. The ABPA welcomes feedback on its members and will investigate complaints thoroughly and impartially, should the need arise. All ABPA members are registered practitioners in the State in which they practice, and problems may also be reported to the relevant practitioner Registration Board.
There is currently no formal registration for practitioners offering manual therapies for animals, so it is up to the client to establish the qualifications and skill level of the practitioner they are considering. Membership of the ABPA provides assurance that the practitioner is a highly qualified, registered professional, with the appropriate knowledge and skills to offer a safe, effective, appropriate service to animal patients. We also recommend that clients enquire regarding professional indemnity and public liability insurance, with their chosen practitioner.
With the advent of the ABPA, and the new graduate diploma program, ABM is now being formalised as a “profession”, and whilst there is a lot more work to do in this area, the process has at least begun.