Sarah VetPhysio

Vetphysio Limited is a unique New Zealand physiotherapy practice, offering both a mobile and clinic based physiotherapy service for horses, small animals and humans.

Vetphysio Limited began in early 2009 after Sarah Cruickshank returned after nearly four years studying and working in the UK and rapidly expanded into a very busy practice.

Vetphysio offers physiotherapy services with a difference. The principal physiotherapist Sarah Cruickshank was the first New Zealander to be internationally qualified as a Veterinary Physiotherapist, and is a registered physiotherapist with the New Zealand Physiotherapy Board and the HCPC (UK).

Sarah was the co-founder and is the current chairperson for the New Zealand Animal and Veterinary Physiotherapy Association (NZAVPA) and founding member and current secretary for the Australian and New Zealand Animal and Veterinary Physiotherapy Association (ANZAVPA).

Sarah is a clinical educator and provides clinical placements for Veterinary Physiotherapy students from the University of Liverpool.

Our Mission

We aim to lead the field of Veterinary Physiotherapy both in New Zealand and internationally and constantly strive to provide the highest quality service for each and every patient, utilising an innovative and evidence-based holistic approach.

Our Values

We are passionate about animals and improving their quality of life and performance while working with the wider veterinary team. We strongly believe that we are advocates for our animal patients who are often unable to clearly express their pain, discomfort or lack of performance, and through our physiotherapy approach can help communicate this to their owners, riders, handlers or trainers to help them achieve the best possible quality of life and optimum performance.

About the Team

Sarah Vet Physio founder with horse & dog


Masters of Science (MSc Veterinary Physiotherapy) with Distinction,  Royal Veterinary College of London 

Bachelor of Health Science (BHSc Physiotherapy), Auckland University of Technology

Member PNZ, Member CSP (UK), ACPAT Category A (UK), HCPC (UK) & NZ Physiotherapy Board Registered, FEI Permitted Therapist.

Founding Member & Chair NZAVPA, Founding Member & Secretary ANZAVPA, Member SEPNZ, Member IAVRPT

Sarah is a qualified Veterinary Physiotherapist and Board Registered ‘human’ Physiotherapist (NZ & UK) and one of the leading Veterinary Physiotherapists in the country. Sarah graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Health Science (Physiotherapy) in 2003 and she was the first New Zealander to qualify as a Vet Physio and graduated top of her class with a Masters of Science (Distinction) from the Royal Veterinary College of London in 2007. Sarah was awarded joint first place and the project prize for her thesis on the musculoskeletal structure and function of the thoracic limb of the racing camel, and has built on her experience in the UK since returning to NZ late 2008.

Sarah founded Vetphysio Limited in early 2009, the first full time Veterinary Physiotherapy business in New Zealand, and this has grown from strength to strength, with a mobile and clinic based equine service covering greater Auckland and the Waikato, and a small animal clinic based from The Strand Veterinarian in Parnell. 

 In 2016, Sarah set up VSA Physio as part of the VSA Sylvia Park hospital, with outpatient and inpatient physiotherapy, rehabilitation and hydrotherapy services, and this has grown to physiotherapy services at both Sylvia Park and Mount Albert hospitals.

Sarah has attended two Olympic Games (Beijing 2008 & London 2012) as accredited physiotherapist for horse and rider with Vittoria Panizzon (ITA), has been the official Event Physiotherapist at Blenheim International Horse Trials (UK), and worked with her elite clients (as rider physio and equine physio) not only at the Olympics but also in the UK at Badminton, Burghley, Blenheim, Weston Park, Gatcombe Park, Chepstow Horse Trials, in Australia at  the Adelaide International 3 Day Event, and New Zealand at Puhinui, Taupo, National Championships (Eventing, Dressage & Show Jumping) and the Horse of The Year Show annually (2009-2020). Sarah has travelled to Australia multiple times to treat Group 1 winning racehorses such as Silent Achiever during their Australian campaigns, and as Team Physio for the Paw Blacks (NZ Dog Agility Team) competing at the Australian Agility Nationals. Sarah was appointed as the New Zealand Eventing Physiotherapist in 2019 and travelled to the Adelaide 3DE and to Puhinui 3DE to treat both horses and riders.

 Sarah has both attended and spoken as guest lecturer at a number of international conferences and is an FEI Permitted Therapist and Clinical Educator for PGDip/MSc level international Veterinary Physiotherapy students.

Sarah lives on a lifestyle block in rural Auckland with her two retired racing greyhounds Honey (Vetphysio CFO) & Gracie (Vetphysio COO), retired racehorses Boomerang (Vetphysio CEO) & Cameo (racing name Troia), her mother’s stationbred mare Mouse, cheeky miniature horses Mr Ed & Pollyanna, heritage chickens Beyoncé, Lois & Penelope, a flock of Suffolk ewes with ram Shaun the Sheep and her hand reared orphan lamb Seamus. 

Gaye from Vet Physio team


Gaye handles the administrative side of Vetphysio, she does the accounts and assists with clinic bookings and referrals so that Sarah can focus on her clinical work as much as possible. Gaye enjoys the challenge of mastering our clinical system (Cliniko) and accounting system (Xero) and really enjoys communicating with our clients. 

Gaye has been involved with horses since Sarah was 12 years old, and supported her and groomed for her when she was competing, and still loves being involved with her horses even though she no longer competes. Gaye has a hardy little stationbred called Mouse, who occasionally makes it to the forest for a ride but is mainly a companion these days, along with Mr Ed and Pollyanna the miniature horses. Gaye and Sarah jointly own a lovely thoroughbred broodmare and hope to breed from her soon. Maggie the West Highland Terrier has been a model for Vetphysio in the past, and has benefited from physio over the years after a femoral head and neck osteotomy at only 9 months old, and more recently a TPLO for a cruciate rupture at VSA, and is still doing remarkably well at nearly 13 years old. 

These days Gaye can often be found on the weekends helping with the post-cross country icing of the horses and supporting Donna Edwards-Smith and the DSE team at shows or keenly following her goddaughter Olivia Dalton who is a talented young showjumper. Gaye absolutely loves being involved with equestrian sport in New Zealand and has more recently contributed to the sport by becoming a part owner in two lovely young event horses being produced by Elise & Donna Edwards-Smith and their team. DSE Henton for Glory ‘Tomilo’ is a beautiful young Hanovarian, showing great promise and Sarah & Gaye as part owners love to watch his unique talent, even when he is also providing entertainment with his antics. More recently Gaye has become involved as a part owner with a lovely young thoroughbred DSE Tommy Thompson ‘Vivo’ who seems to revel in outperforming his more temperamental stablemate.

girl riding black horse

Sponsored Riders

  • Donna Edwards-Smith (DSE Eventing Team)
  • Olivia Dalton

Event Sponsorship

  • Auckland Showjumping
  • Puhinui 3 Day Event

  • Auckland Manukau Dressage Group
  • Waitemata Dressage Group
  • Papatoetoe 2 Day Event

  • NZ Dog Agility Championships

Why Choose Vetphysio

Experienced Approach

Over 20 years of clinical experience.

Tailored Approach

Every patient is assessed and treated as an individual, and rehabilitation is specifically tailored to what you or your animal needs.

Team Approach

We work with your team for the most holistic and effective outcomes.