FORT COLLINS – An innovative continuing education course in canine massage will be taught through Colorado State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences by a nationally recognized leader in the field of integrative veterinary medicine.
The course, Medical Massage for Animals, is expected to set the standards for canine medical massage instruction and is among the first in the nation to emphasize massage performed with the intent on improving conditions or diseases that have been diagnosed by a veterinarian. The course emphasizes the scientific basis of massage and its foundational elements of anatomy and physiology. The course offers 80 continuing education hours and will be co-taught by Dr. Narda Robinson as well as other leaders in their respective fields.  
The goals of the hands-on program are to equip veterinarians, veterinary technicians, massage therapists and canine rehabilitators with the much-needed insights into the risks, benefits and judicious approach to canine massage. As with humans, pets can be injured by incorrect massage techniques and approaches. Close supervision by course instructors will deliver on-the-spot feedback to participants about how they are performing and how the dogs are responding.
“Massage can help canine patients and athletes recover from illness, injury, spinal pain and stress,” said Robinson, a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences. “Participants will have a unique opportunity to learn the proper integration of massage in the veterinary clinic for either sick or well patients, and will gain those skills based on solid, scientific information.”
The course will also integrate treatment insights and manual therapy methods derived from osteopathy and structural integration as well as communication skills that will allow practitioners to effectively discuss dogs’ conditions with caregivers.
Robinson holds a doctorate in osteopathy and in veterinary medicine and has practiced on humans and animals. At Colorado State University, she established the first scientifically-based natural healing program in veterinary medicine. She is the director of the Colorado State University Center for Comparative and Integrative Pain Medicine and established the Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians in 1998, the only scientifically based acupuncture program for veterinarians. She is once again pioneering new territory with the Medical Massage for Animals program.
The program, which will contain ample hands-on training, will provide students with access to the university’s expertise in veterinary medicine knowledge to learn musculoskeletal anatomy, muscle physiology, canine first aid, canine behavior and issues related to the human animal bond and working with grieving clients.
Additional instructors include Judy Walton, developer of a canine massage course at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy; Rhonda Reich, a 30-year massage therapist and instructor with an additional 10 years of experience dedicated to animal massage; Dr. Bonnie Wright, pain medicine practitioner at Colorado State’s Center for Comparative and Integrative Pain Medicine; Chris Way, a rolfer and massage therapist; Erin Allen, a clinical counselor at the Argus Institute at Colorado State; and Dr. Tim Hackett, head of the small animal critical care unit at the university’s James L. Voss Animal Teaching Hospital.
The class is limited to veterinarians, veterinary students, certified veterinary technicians, certified canine rehabilitators who are also licensed physical therapists, and certified massage therapists. The course will include written examinations, a practical examination and 20 hours of closely reviewed independent study. Participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate.
More information is available at The classes begin October. Registration is currently open on a first-come, first-served basis. Participants are encouraged to register as soon as possible to ensure a spot.