What is animal chiropractic?
Animal chiropractic is a gentle, hands-on method of health care that helps to restore the relationship between the spine and the nervous system by correcting subluxations. A subluxation involves a decrease in the normal range of motion of a joint, often due to an aberrant relationship between the bones on either side of the joint. This can impede the normal function of surrounding nerves, muscles, and blood vessels, and as a result, the organs supplied by those nerves can also be affected.
How do I know if my pet has a subluxation?
Most animals are brought in for a chiropractic adjustment because they are showing signs of pain, however since every animal is different, how they show that they're in pain can often vary. While things like yelping and limping are more obvious signs of pain, some signs of pain can be very subtle. Examples of more subtle signs of pain include reluctance to jump or go up or down stairs, difficulty sitting or posturing (does your dog travel across the yard when it poops?), sensitivity to touch (eg. muscle twitching when touching the back), changes in coordination and flexibility, changes in gait (eg. side-winding when they walk or run).
What conditions can be treated with chiropractic?
Some conditions that may respond well to chiropractic include: arthritis, compensatory changes in conditions that cause an animal to alter its movement (eg. hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament injuries), incontinence, chronic anal gland issues, balance issues, and injuries from slips or falls.
What can I expect at a chiropractic appointment?
The initial animal chiropractic appointment usually starts off just like any other veterinary appointment, that is, we take a thorough history and do a complete physical exam. Then we move on to the chiropractic exam. This often involves gait analysis (watching your pet walk and trot), static palpation (feeling the bones and muscles of the spine and limbs), and finally motion palpation (assessing the motion at each joint along the spine and limbs). At this point, we will pause to discuss the findings and whether or not chiropractic treatment is an appropriate course of action. If it is determined to be appropriate, the pet will receive its first adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to restore normal motion to the joint, improve neurologic function, and decrease pain and inflammation.
Will my pet have to come back for repeat adjustments?
While some pets do show dramatic improvement after the first adjustment, it often takes time for inflammation to settle and for the muscles to readjust. Adjustment schedules will be individualized based on how the pet responds.