The ABPA Respond to the Finding in VSBSA vs Nadolny


30 OCTOBER 2019

The ABPA Respond to the Finding in VSBSA vs Nadolny

On behalf of the members of the Animal Biomechanical Professionals Australia (ABPA) Inc, the President of the ABPA, Dr Raquel Butler, wishes to express frustration and dismay following the guilty finding against fellow member, Dr Bernie Nadolny. The ABPA supports and stands by Dr Nadolny in this difficult time.

This outcome aligns with the position held by the ABPA that some of the Veterinary specific legislation in Australia is out dated and consequently unfit for purpose.  It can create major restraint of trade issues for any qualified non-veterinarian providing a complementary animal care service.

“There is a problem with unqualified and unregulated therapists who operate in animal care,” says Dr Butler, an ABM Veterinarian in NSW.  “Terms such as “chiropractor” are not protected terms when it comes to animal care, so whereas you cannot call yourself a “chiropractor” and treat a human without the necessary degree and registration, when it comes to horses and pets, this is exactly what is happening.”

“What that means is the majority of people out there calling themselves an “Equine Chiro” or “Canine Osteo” are actually not in any way qualified as such.”

“The ABPA and the Graduate Diploma Course that we are delivering with the support of Box Hill Institute was created specifically to address these concerns, and offer a clear distinction between a layperson and a professionally qualified practitioner.”

Dr Nadolny is a qualified and registered Chiropractor who has undertaken two years of intensive and comprehensive post-graduate training at RMIT University in addition to his BSc Chiropractic degree.  The Graduate Diploma in Animal Biomechanical Medicine allows current, experienced and registered Veterinarian, Chiropractic and Osteopathic professionals to apply their skills and experience, honed over many years in their own professional practice, to help horses, dogs and other pets with biomechanical problems. 

Dr Nadolny has a long list of happy clients for whom he has successfully treated cases where veterinary examinations and treatments were unable to localise or fully address the problem. 

In the particular case that lead to the court hearing, he was concerned about the possibility of cancer in one of his patients, and attempted to refer this patient to a neighbouring veterinarian for further assessment. The veterinarian Dr Nadolny referred the client to reported him to the Veterinary Surgeon’s Board of South Australia, who initiated court proceedings.  

“As a professional association, the ABPA values open communication and collaboration with the veterinary profession and believes collaboration between professionals is the ideal situation for optimum patient care and healthcare outcomes,” said Dr Butler.

“We find it extremely disappointing that it was in trying to do the right thing – both ethically and for the client concerned by referring the patient to a veterinarian for full diagnoses- that he has been severely penalised for doing so.”

As members of the public choose to seek alternatives prior to veterinary assessment, the ABPA regard it as essential that our members are able to perform basic clinical examinations in order to ensure they identify cases which require veterinary assessment, particularly urgent cases, and refer appropriately. 

“The original RMIT program included training in X-ray technique and interpretation,” said Dr Butler, “However, we do not encourage our members to perform these procedures, as we consider that both sedation and veterinary interpretation are necessary for appropriate animal radiology.”

It is the ABPA’s position that the current legislative situation in Australia does not:           

  • adequately service the needs of the public and their expectations in regards to pet care and expertise;
  • appropriately regulate the activities of all people offering services for animal care;
  • recognise appropriate qualification where it exists;
  • and most importantly, it does not comprehensively protect the welfare of animals.

Members of ABPA are Australian registered and practicing Veterinarians, Chiropractors or Osteopaths, who also have attained at least a two-year Graduate Diploma in either Animal Chiropractic (RMIT university) or Animal Biomechanical Medicine (ABM) (Box Hill Institute). This Association is unique in the world in bringing practitioners from these three professions together with a common goal. The ABPA offers continuing education and training for its members and graduates, and holds its members to a code of conduct.

The ABPA lobbies for and is working towards improved and consistent regulation of therapists and practitioners in the animal care area across the country, to protect both the animals and the human clients who care for them.


For further information:
Dr Raquel Butler 
BVSc, G.Dip ABM, Cert IV TT&A

President ABPA (Inc)

Anita Marchesani
ABPA Admin Assistant
Mobile: 0403 860 749