STAAR 2019 INSTRUCTORS
Ria Acciani, MPT, CCRP
Warren, New Jersey, US
Ria Acciani received her Masters in Physical Therapy degree from The University of St. Augustine, Florida, and trained directly with Stanley V. Paris, PT, PhD, FAPTA. Ria has over 20 years of experience in human Physical Therapy, and has specialized in Canine Rehabilitation for more than 17 years. She received her CCRP from the University of TN and was the first Physical Therapist (PT) in New Jersey to practice on dogs (2000). Ria and her husband, David (also a licensed PT, CCRP), own and operate the Advanced Canine Rehabilitation Center, a practice in Warren, New Jersey, that focuses on orthopedic and sports rehabilitation of performance and sporting dogs.
Ria travels extensively to regional, national, and international dog competitions, and works with top-level competitors. She is the Official Therapist for the AKC US World Team, IFCS US Agility Team, WAO US Agility Team, and has travelled with these teams since 2010. Additionally, she provides instructional seminars on a variety of topics for dog handlers and educates them on how to prevent injury and enhance performance within their sport.
Ria worked closely with Dr. Sherman Canapp and VOSM to establish the rehabilitation protocol for various shoulder and elbow conditions; the protocol is in current usage at VOSM and in Ria’s own practice. She has published articles in Veterinary Surgery and Clean Run, and has presented at STAAR (since 2010), IAVRPT, ARSIG/APTA, and SCIVAC (Italian Companion Animal Veterinary Association). She is a Board Member for ARSIG/APTA and a Member of AARV. Ria and David continue to practice, travel, and teach. During their spare time, they enjoy being with their 3 children and 2 border collies. The children are competitive swimmers, and their schedules turn parents into taxi drivers!
Carmella Britt, DVM, CCRT
Integrative & Rehabilitative Medicine Service
New York, New York, US
Dr. Carmella Britt graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2016. She completed her clinical year at North Carolina School of Veterinary Medicine. After graduating from veterinary school, she completed a small animal rotating internship at the Veterinary Specialty Hospital of the Carolinas in Cary, North Carolina. She is certified in canine rehabilitation through the Canine Rehabilitation Institute.
Dr. Britt is currently a resident in Canine Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Animal Medical Center. Her interests include canine sports medicine, rehabilitation for critically ill patients and regenerative medicine.
Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt (Animal Physio), CAFCI, CCRT
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Laurie Edge-Hughes obtained her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Alberta in 1993 and has since focused her post-graduate training on orthopedics, osteopathy, acupuncture, and animal rehabilitation. Additionally, she completed her Master of Animal Studies in Animal Physiotherapy through the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2006.
Laurie has the honor of having taught the first canine physiotherapy/physical therapy courses in Canada (1999), the USA (1999), and Australia (2001). She has been involved in the Animal Rehab Division since its inception in 1994 and teaches canine physiotherapy and rehabilitation courses for the Animal Rehab Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA). Additionally, she presently holds the position of Past-Chair & Advocacy Lead for the Animal Rehab Division of the CPA. She taught for ten years for the Canine Rehabilitation Institute in the USA, and lecturers internationally as often as able.
Laurie’s biggest teaching venture is currently via www.FourLeg.com, an online educational platform for continuing education in canine rehabilitation/physiotherapy. Laurie co-owns and practices out of the Canine Fitness Centre Ltd. in Calgary, Alberta.
Sabine Hárrer, staat. Anerk. Human-Physiotherapeutin, MLD – MTT, int. anerk. MT (ifomt), Tier-Physiotherapeutin anerkannt durch den deutschen Verband für Physiotherapie – ZVK, Canine Osteopathin – Dozentin Manuelle Therapie (cmt)
Born in Mannheim, Germany, Sabine Hárrer graduated with a Physiotherapy degree in 1988 (Worms, Germany) and spent the next 14 years working as a human physiotherapist in a variety of settings. She received additional training and certification in Manual Examination and Therapy, the Cyriax Method, the McKenzie Method, Medical Training Therapy, Manual Therapy including High Velocity Techniques (Orthopedic Manual Training), and Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy.
In 2006, Sabine started her private human physiotherapy practice in Chiemgau, Germany and continued her training in various techniques including Triggerpoint Therapy (Reto Zillig, München). Her love of animals and her own large, 4-legged household prompted her to pursue animal physiotherapy, and she became certified in 2007. That same year, she started her private animal physiotherapy practice, DogsPhysio, in Stephanskirchen, Germany. She became certified in Canine Osteopathy in 2010. Since 2006, Sabine has been teaching Canine Manual Therapy and Canine Neurodynamics throughout Europe.
Amie Lamoreaux Hesbach, PT, DPT, CCRP, CCRT
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Amie Lamoreaux Hesbach is a doctor of physical therapy with over twenty years of experience with human patients and over seventeen with small animal patients. She has expertise and experience in the application of manual therapy techniques (including IASTM), therapeutic and functional exercise training, injury prevention, and proprioceptive and neuromuscular retraining in orthopaedic, athletic, and neurologic patients and clients.
Dr. Hesbach was educated at the University of Montana (DPT, Physical Therapy), the Medical College of Virginia (MS, Physical Therapy), and Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania (BS, Biology). She completed a post-graduate residency in Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation at the Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center in Vallejo, California. She has been working with kinesiology tape since 2003 and has since modified these techniques for use with her animal patients. Dr. Hesbach is certified in Canine Rehabilitation through both the University of Tennessee (UT) and the Canine Rehabilitation Institute (CRI). As a Certified Clinical Instructor, she has supervised externships for both physical therapy and veterinary students. Dr. Hesbach has published and lectured on both human and canine rehabilitation in the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, and Japan.
Dr. Hesbach is the past President of the Animal Rehabilitation Special Interest Group of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). She owns and operates EmpowerPhyioPeT, an in-home animal rehabilitation and physical therapy practice near Boston, Massachusetts.
Andrea Looney, DVM, DACVAA, DACVSMR, CCRP
Anesthesia and Pain Management Services
Andi Looney received her DVM from Cornell University in 1989, and since then has completed a residency in anesthesia/critical care (1996), worked at Angell Animal Medical Center, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, and Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. She also served as medical director of Tufts VETS (veterinary emergency treatment and specialty).
Because of her interest in pain management, she is boarded in both Anesthesiology and Sports Medicine/Rehabilitation and is passionate about non-surgical means of pain control and functional return, as well as interventional therapies for osteoarthritis and neuro/soft tissue disease.
Jennifer Repac, DVM, CVA, CCRT
Integrative and Rehabilitative Medicine Service
Dr. Jennifer Repac is a second-year resident in the Integrative and Rehabilitative Medicine Service at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. She is certified in both canine rehabilitation and acupuncture.
Dr. Repac graduated from the University of California Davis in 2009 and spent her first 4 years in general practice in New York City. She then spent 2 years working as a veterinarian and teacher for a small animal practice in Beijing. She then completed a Integrative and Rehabilitative Medicine specialty internship at the Animal Medical Center prior to starting her residency. Her interests include geriatric medicine, integrative medicine, assistive devices, thermography, and education.
Carrie Smith, BScPT, CCRT
Kemptville, Ontario, Canada
Carrie Smith graduated from the University of Western Ontario with a BS in Physical Therapy in 1985. An avid sportswoman, Carrie became certified in Sports Physiotherapy and in Intra-Muscular Stimulation (Gunn IMS) then opened the Kemptville Physiotherapy Centre in 1996. She was Chief Physiotherapist for the Canadian Women’s National Hockey Team (1996-98, including at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano) and the Canadian’s Men’s Rugby Team (2007-16, including Chief Physiotherapist at the Rugby World Cup, 2011).
Carrie has a deep passion for and commitment to bettering the lives of our four-legged athletes as well. In 2004, she became a certified canine rehabilitation therapist (CCRT) and opened the Kemptville Canine Centre in 2015. She was the Chief Physiotherapist for the Canadian World Agility Team in the Netherlands in 2018. She is an Executive Member of the Animal Rehabilitation Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and currently holds the Co-Chair position.
Debbie (Gross) Torraca, DPT, MSPT, CCRP, Board-Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Emeritus
Wizard of Paws
Colchester, Connecticut, US
Dr. Debbie Torraca began her career in human physical therapy (PT) and specialized in orthopedics, sports medicine, and pain management. With a solid foundation in human PT, she has adapted her skills (including her expertise in the Mulligan Technique) to her work with animals. Dr. Torraca is a pioneer in the field of canine physical therapy and is a founder of the University of Tennessee’s (UTN) certificate program (CCRP). She also founded and heads the Certified Canine Manual Therapy (CCMT) program at UTN. Following her undergraduate studies at Boston University, Dr. Torraca received her master’s in Physical Therapy from Quinnipiac College and her doctorate in Physical Therapy from UTN-Chattanooga. She transitioned to her work with animals early in her career, and has now been practicing canine rehabilitation for more than twenty-two years.
Dr. Torraca has authored many chapters in veterinary textbooks and writes for professional journals and magazines dedicated to the dog enthusiast. She is a regular contributor to Clean Run, Dog Sport, Working Dog Digest, Dogs Naturally, and various breed magazines. She has been a speaker and instructor at many veterinary conferences including the International Association of Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy (IAVRPT), American College of Veterinary Surgeons (ACVS), North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC), Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference (ACVC), Western States Veterinary Conference (WSVC), and many state conferences. She sits on the advisory board for Companion Animal Health and has been a key speaker at the American International Medical Laser Association, highlighting her latest research.
Dr. Torraca is a longtime member of American Physical Therapy Association Special Interest Group (APTA-SIG) and has held the office of President. She is also a member of the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management (IVAPM). She is an active member of the Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, the American Bullmastiff Association, the Clumber Spaniel Club of America, and various other local dog clubs and organizations including the Connecticut Police Canine Unit. Dr. Torraca’s passions in canine physical rehabilitation include pain-free approaches to therapy, manual therapies, and photobiomodulation. She enjoys working with performance and working dogs, and those super seniors.