The spine extends from the neck to the tailbone and directly affects the nervous system. A healthy spine is an essential part of a sound body and active lifestyle. Because the nervous system controls all aspects of the body, poor spinal health can cause a variety of conditions negatively impacting performance, health and activity. Conditions as variable as incontinence, gastrointestinal problems and patellar luxations can all be effectively addressed with chiropractic adjustments.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is veterinary chiropractic?
Chiropractic care is a treatment of the whole body as opposed to treating specific symptoms of a condition. It focuses on health—not disease—specifically the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. Nerves enter and exit the spine, transferring information between the brain, spinal cord, organs, muscles, and other parts of the body and it controls all the functions of the body, including all the organs. So, if the spine is out of alignment the body cannot perform to its best ability, causing pain, discomfort, and disease. All in all, chiropractic works on maintaining proper nervous system function to preserve homeostasis within the body.
When is chiropractic care useful in animals?
The best use of chiropractic care is when it is used as a preventative approach to healthcare. Along with eating a good diet, getting exercise, and yearly wellness exams, regular chiropractic treatments are very beneficial to maintain good health. Many animals, just like people, are compensating for a problem within their body without even realizing it. This results in the back being thrown out of alignment, causing bigger issues to arise. It can also be used as a treatment modality alone or in conjunction with traditional veterinary medicine depending on the pre-existing disease or condition of the patient. It is also used to slow the progression of a disease or condition.
How does chiropractic work?
Chiropractic helps reduce pain and improves mobility by promoting the body’s innate ability to heal itself via the nervous system through the reduction of vertebral subluxation complexes (chiropractic adjustments). Through adjustments, I will evaluate the movement of the spine and extraspinal bones and remove any interference to the nervous system to put the body back into its homeostatic state to promote health and wellness. In doing spinal manipulation, a subluxation (spinal structural displacement) is felt as decreased movement in the spine. With a gentle, controlled thrust, the specific subluxated, or fixed vertebrae is corrected, eliminating local pain and restoring nerve flow to the body.
What happens during a chiropractic treatment session?
Chiropractic techniques performed on animals have been formulated differently from those applied to humans in order to adapt to the differences in animals’ anatomies and take into account the differences between animal species. Before any chiropractic treatment is given, a medical history is taken, and a physical, lameness, neurologic and chiropractic exam is performed. Then, during the session I will apply a force called an adjustment on specific areas on vertebrae and bones of the extremities to allow the spine and extremities to move normally, within their normal range of motion.
Will Chiropractic Care Benefit my Pet?
Yes! Everyday activities for animals of all ages can cause damage to the spine. Chiropractic adjustments will correct posture, relieve pain, and return the body back to its homeostatic state to promote health. Young animals can benefit from regular chiropractic treatments because they are very physically active. Sometimes they experience many types of falls and injuries that we may not see as the animal is good at compensating for an injury.
Older animals many times have ailments related to the spine and or extremities or conditions associated with aging such as arthritis, joint stiffness, pain, or circulatory and these animals may benefit from chiropractic. Although sometimes chiropractic care will not “fix” a problem such as an ear infection, it will certainly help put the body in a more neutral position (homeostasis) which in turn helps the body return to normal function.
Is chiropractic safe?
Yes! Only a veterinarian certified in chiropractic should adjust your beloved pet. Your pet may experience some minor discomfort with an adjustment, but the discomfort should resolve very quickly. The most common side effect following a chiropractic treatment is mild soreness, similar to exercise, that can last between 12 to 48 hours.
What are symptoms that indicate my animal may benefit from chiropractic care?
• Reluctance to performance or more careful with movement
• Abnormal posture when standing or sitting
• Discomfort or pain
• Lameness or stiffness in lateral movement of neck or back
• Evasive maneuvers or behaviors such as biting or hollowing of the back, using forelimbs more, excessive muscle tension
• Asymmetrical movement (short strides)
• Inability to engage rear quarters
• Formication, common cause of lick granulomas
What common conditions is veterinary chiropractic used to treat?
• Trauma such as constant jumping up and down, repetitive microtrauma, a fall or hard jump, acute or chronic neck or back pain
• Injuries from agility training, frisbee, ball jumping, rough housing, or any regular activities
• Hypersensitivity to touch
• Altered sitting position
• Altered head carriage
• Recurrent ear and anal gland infections
• Recurrent digestive trouble
• Pain or signs of pain when performing certain movements or regular movements or when being lifted
• Limited performance
• Undefined lameness, slow gait, unevenly worn nails
• Dysfunction or loss of mobility of adjoining vertebrae
• Reluctance to move, climb stairs, jump up or down from raised areas like couches if previously did
• Age or conformation traits
• Slow progression of disease or a condition
• Reverse some neurological symptoms
• Maintenance, stay in alignment—prevention of a problem
Why is massage and chiropractic used together?
Chiropractic treatments effectively put the bones back into proper alignment but massage will help to relax the muscles and keep the adjustments in place. Massage therapy for dogs and cats can improve circulation, relieve tension and muscle strain, promote healing, and increase range of motion and flexibility. This hands-on treatment works well for pets suffering from chronic pain, anxiety issues, muscle spasms or atrophy, and problems associated with aging. Using massage techniques and trigger point therapy, we can enhance performance and improve quality of life.