Chiropractic Care for Animals
By Tricia Roberts
We’ve all heard of chiropractic care. Some of us may have even had chiropractic care and go for regular adjustments. But did you know your pet might benefit from the same type of care?
We have a 13-year old labrador, Brodie. A couple of years ago we noticed some stiffness in his legs and joints. He simply wasn’t moving around as smoothly or easily as he should. We took him to our vet for a check-up to make sure nothing was injured or broken. While Brodie was waiting to be seen by his regular doctor, another veterinarian in the office who is licensed and eligible to give pets chiropractic therapy happened to walk by and said, “That dog needs an adjustment.” The office manager asked us right away if we were ok with our dog having chiropractic care. We felt it was a good idea, so we agreed. Once Brodie was home, he seemed much more comfortable and mobile. Chiropractic care really worked! It wasn’t long before we had him signed up for routine sessions.
Chiropractic manipulation in pets is frequently performed on horses, dogs and cats. There are several ways to determine if your pet might need to see a chiropractor. Signs may include limping, trouble turning in a certain direction, laying on only one side, difficulty getting up from sitting or laying down, hesitation before jumping or climbing, or a change in their stride or movement pattern. In addition to helping pets deal with things such as chronic pain or hip dysplasia, chiropractic pet patients with nerve or other problems can also benefit. For example, regular adjustments might help pets with urinary incontinence regain control of those functions.
Chiropractic therapy works well when it is combined with other forms of veterinary medicine. Depending on your pet’s condition, treatments such as massage, acupuncture or laser therapy may also help. We found that adding laser therapy to Brodie’s routinely scheduled chiropractic visits benefits him greatly.
When treated with chiropractic care, animals tend to have stronger responses to being adjusted than humans do. Chiropractic pet patients often see results (such as improved gait and an apparent reduction of pain) immediately within minutes of treatment, as Brodie did. Because of this, routine chiropractic visits only need to occur three or four times a year based on age and level of activity. Major issues may need care a little more frequently in the beginning.
It’s important to note that chiropractic pet care shouldn’t take the place of routine veterinary care. It isn’t meant to cure any diseases or replace surgical care. Also, only certified practitioners can perform chiropractic care on pets. If you think this is something your pet might benefit from, ask your vet if they offer chiropractic treatment or if they can refer a licensed practitioner that does.