WHAT IS ANIMAL CHIROPRACTIC?
Animal Chiropractic is a field of animal health care that focuses on the preservation and health of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Why? Nerves control everything that happens in your animals. Anything adversely affecting the nervous system will have detrimental effects that will resonate throughout the entire body. The command centers of the nervous system are the brain and spinal cord which are protected by the spine. The spine is a complex framework of bones (vertebra), ligaments, muscles and nerves. If the movement and biomechanics of the vertebra become dysfunctional, they can interfere with the performance of the nerves that are branching off of the spinal cord and going to the all of the muscles and organs. As this occurs, your animal can lose normal mobility; resulting in stiffness, tension, pain and even organ dysfunction. Additionally, when normal movement is affected, and left unattended, it will ultimately impact your animal’s entire well being and quality of life.
The nervous system also coordinates the body’s ability to heal and regulate itself. Trauma, overuse, or underuse, may cause the vertebra of the spine to become fixed, and the surrounding muscles and ligaments may become compromised and inflamed. Nerves could become trapped in these damaged tissues, or in the passages they use to exit the spine. Their signals become unable to adequately reach their destinations or to send the neural messags back to the command center of the brain. When they don’t, these impaired structures lose their ability to heal. This can directly and dramatically impact your animal’s health. Symptoms of spinal fixation are vast, and may include pain, spasm, sensitivity to touch, lameness, gait abnormalities and postural compromise. These are the symptoms that are the easiest to detect. It may take a trained doctor to distinguish some of the more subtle changes that occur when organs begin to malfunction.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF AN ANIMAL CHIROPRACTOR?
The goal of an animal chiropractor is to restore function and mobility to the compromised vertebra in an effort to re-establish neurologic transmissions. This allows the body to perform at its optimum potential. The veterinarian uses their hands to identify areas of restriction; and once identified, the animal chiropractor applies a precise thrust on the immobile anatomical structures. This treatment restores the normal motion of the vertebra thus removing neurological interference. When the nerves can efficiently communicate with all the structures in your animals’ bodies, they will begin to heal from within. Animal Chiropractic is not meant to replace traditional veterinary care. It is not an alternative treatment, but rather an integrative method that when used in conjunction with good traditional veterinary care, will provide years of happy and healthy living. This is the beginning of a more modern, comprehensive approach to your animal’s healthcare. It is an effective and valuable means of restoring and maintaining their strength, vigor and well-being. And by exploring and treating the root causes of your animal’s aches, pains and illnesses, will ensure maximum improvement, top performance and an exceptional quality of life for the animal companions we love.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY PET NEEDS CHIROPRACTIC?
This therapy is not limited to an injured or sick pet. Healthy and athletic animals are ideal candidates for chiropractic examination and care. Maintaining proper structural alignment permits optimal function of the muscles, nerves and tissues supporting the joints, resulting in improved movement, stance and flexibility. This alignment promotes increased agility, endurance, and overall performance. Broader benefits include superior immune function, healthier metabolism and a vibrant nervous system, facilitating your animal’s natural ability to heal. Chiropractic can enhance the quality of your pet’s life, ensuring active and healthy years. More veterinarians are using chiropractic to examine and treat areas of biomechanics and the functional nervous system that often go unnoticed by traditional veterinary care. By working in conjunction with regular veterinarian therapy or other therapies such as acupuncture, animal chiropractors aid in restoring your pet’s optimal health by treating the whole patient.
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE AND TREAT ANIMALS?
The first thing we will do is take a history of your pet, including information about the lifestyle and overall health status. If there is any current or past medical issues that you are aware of, we would prefer that you bring the medical history, x-rays, ultrasounds or other diagnostic results taken by your regular veterinarian with you to the appointment or e-mail them ahead of time to .
The chiropractic examination will include a neurologic assessment, evlation of stance, gait, motion and static palpation. Any abnormality in positioning will be corrected through manipulations, which are called adjustments. The International Veterinary Chiropractic Association defines an adjustment as "a short lever, high velocity controlled thrust by hand or instrument that is directed at specific articulations (joints) to correct vertebral subluxations". Adjustments are performed on vertebral joints, extremity joints, and cranial sutures. The ultimate goal of an adjustment is to restore normal position and movement ot the vertebral column, which in turn will improve neurologic functin.
Most animals respond well to adjustments. They are instinctively aware of the problems in their body and are most of the time pretty tolerant to the chiropractor's manipulations, especially after the first few adjustments. In fact, animals will often help adjust their own position to help the chiropractor in treating subluxatins!
WHAT KINDS OF CONDITIONS BENEFIT FROM CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENTS?
As discussed before, chiropractic is used to treat a variety of illness. In addition, I also recommend maintenance chiropractic care proactively for my patients to reduce the risk of injury, joint degeneration and to maintain optimal health care. This is especially good for puppies and kittens whose joints are not yet completely formed. Sicne their bones are still growing and their joints are fairly 'loose', they are highly prone to subluxations.
Chiropractic is also used to prevent and treat joint degeneration in animals. Proper vertebral alignment keeps the body from shifting into unhealthy positions to compensate for joint pain caused by injury or degeneration. This is often extremely benefitial to riding horses, and sport performance horses and dogs.
Animals with any musculoskeletal abnormalities, or those animals prone to such conditions, can also greatly benefit for chiropractic adjustments to help keep their musculoskeletal system in alignment. This prevent and slows degeneration of joints and ligaments as agingin occurs.
Animals suffering from urinary incontinence or those with constipation are often helped with regular chiropractic adjustments in conjunction with acupuncture care. Many animals often show improved bladder tone and neurologic function with maintenance chiropractic care.
If animals undergo general anesthesia, I highly recommend a chiropratic appointment afterwards to help realign the body from the potential subluxations that occured.
There are many other conditions, both musculoskeletal and internal, that benefit greatly from chiropractic care. If you have specific questions in regards to your pet, please call us today and we would be happy to answer them for you.