Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some questions regarding McTimoney and treatments that Jess is often asked and hopes they may be of help to you too. If you have any further questions, please contact Jess either via the contacts page, or by phoning 07789 964181.



Why do I need veterinary permission for you to treat my animal? 


The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 makes it illegal for any person to treat an animal unless they are a veterinary surgeon or a "paraprofessional". If an individual treats an animal without veterinary consent they are breaking the law. The law as it stands aims to protect you and your animal from inappropriate treatments/unqualified practitioners. 


Jess Harkness is classed as a paraprofessional by the Veterinary Surgery (Exemptions) Order 1962 and is allowed to practice with the prior consent of the animal's veterinary surgeon. Therefore she always obtains veterinary referral or verifies that veterinary permission has been granted before treatment.


Jess is also a member of the McTimoney Animal Association a British Equine Veterinary Association allied professional group.  Suitably qualified post-graduate members of BEVA allied professional groups are considered to have the necessary knowledge and experience to safely treat horses following a veterinary referral.


Do all 'back people' have the same qualifications? What should I be looking for?


Not all therapists/practitioners have the same qualifications, nor do they use the same techniques. Don't be afraid to ask your practitioner what training they have had and whether they are insured to treat. You probably wouldn't have your own back treated without knowing something about the background of the therapist! 


The timeframe and previous experience needed for obtaining a qualification varies tremendously. Jess Harkness has a Post Graduate Diploma in Animal Manipulation from the McTimoney College of Chiropractic. This programme is currently unique in the world, in that it is the only externally validated Post Graduate level programme (now offering a Masters) that trains students in Animal Manipulation. 


The type of treatment that you would like for your animal should be a mixture of personal choice, and what your vet has suggested would suit your animal best. For example, physiotherapy is appropriate for some types of problems, McTimoney for others. If you are not sure if it would be relevant for your animal, please do not hesitate to contact Jess to discuss it, or speak to your vet. 


Your practitioner should ALWAYS ask for your vet's permission before they treat, and you should feel able to ask questions, and find out what their experience/qualifications are.


Are McTimoney Animal Practitioners the same as McTimoney Corley Spinal Therapists?


No, the training is different. For information on McTimoney training click here for information on the McTimoney Corley training click here


Why don't you call yourself a Chiropractor?


Jess has trained in the use of McTimoney chiropractic techniques for animals only. Under current legislation, only practitioners that are registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) can legally call themselves Chiropractors and treat members of the public. The GCC regulates the chiropractic treatment of humans only. Therefore, animal practitioners are not able to join the GCC.


The use of the word McTimoney to describe an animal treatment does not imply that the therapist is a Chiropractor. 


Will the treatment(s) be covered by my pet insurance?


As a McTimoney Animal Association member Jess is an authorised practitioner for the majority of insurance providers including Petplan, Tescos, MoreThan and NFU. It is worth checking with your insurance company whether they will cover the treatment costs. 


How long will the treatment take?


Jess allows about an hour per treatment. First appointments can take slightly longer, and dog/small animal treatments, especially if the animal has regular appointments may take less time. 


What preparations do I need before the treatment?


Horses need to be clean (within reason!) and dry. They normally won't be able to be exercised on the day of the treatment, so if you want to ride them that day, please do so before the apointment and ideally allow 2 hours for them to cool off before Jess arrives. The exception to this is a precompetition treatment when the treatment is tailored to allow the horse to work immediately following the session.


A level area of hardstanding (ideally undercover), or a stable is needed for the treatment to take place, and someone will need to be available to hold the horse and trot it up.


Dogs also need to be clean and dry (not just in from a muddy walk along the river bank!) and if Jess is treating them at your house she will need a quiet place with a non slip floor (or rug). 


Will my animal enjoy the treatment?


Most animals relax during the treatment, and appear to really enjoy it. It isn't painful, and can make them feel quite sleepy. Some are a little anxious to start and Jess can use acupressure and gentle massage techniques to help them settle and start to relax. Dogs would obviously prefer to have the treatment done on their tummies!! 


How many treatments will my animal need?


That really depends on the nature of the problem, how long the animal has had the problem, what underlying issues they may be dealing with, and how quickly they respond to the treatment. Many clients who have horses competing at a high level have their horses checked regularly to ensure that any small problems are caught early and not allowed to develop into more serious performance affecting issues. Treatment for a specific problem will usually respond within 1-3 treatments. Obviously if the cause of the problem is not removed (such as an incorrectly fitting saddle, or an underlying pathology) the problem is likely to reoccur. This is something that will be discussed in detail with you when Jess carries out the treatment.


What do I have to do after the treatment?


Jess will provide a detailed aftercare sheet and specific advice on any exercises, stretches, or changes to lifestyle will be discussed.


Your animal will need time to allow its body to assimilate the changes that have taken place as a result of the treatment. Healing is a process that takes time, and changes in your animal’s body will begin to take place in the 24-48 hours following a session. These physiological changes can create a range of reactions which Jess will outline for you. These can include (but not be limited to) sleepiness; increased thirst; temporary stiffness, or a newfound, uncontrollable enthusiasm for life!


How will my animal feel after a treatment?


Every animal is an individual, and just like people they can respond in a variety of ways to the treatment. Healing is a process that takes time, and changes in your animal’s body will begin to take place in the 24-48 hours following a session. It is really important to follow the instructions that Jess has given you on what exercise/rest/changes are needed in the first few days after a treatment to enable your animal to gain the maximum benefit from the treatment.


Physiological changes in the 1-3 days following a treatment can include: increased thirst; tiredness and wanting to sleep more frequently/deeply; a change in bowel habits; temporary stiffness/soreness; a renewed vigour and energy; and possibly behavioural changes such as being unusually grumpy! These changes should ease off after about 2-3 days, but do not hesitate to contact Jess should you have any concerns about your animal after the treatment. 


What is your cancellation policy?


Jess asks for a minimum of 48 hours notice should you need to cancel your appointment otherwise the treatment cost (minus any travel costs) will be charged. As Jess works in several counties her work days are carefully planned to enable journey times and locations to fit into the day. Last minute cancellations make it hard to reschedule.   








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Effective physical therapy to help promote optimum performance, health and soundness