Chiropractic for Pets
by Dr. Alyse Hall, CVSMT, Owner of Happy Tails Chiropractic
Chiropractic has been the #1 form of natural healthcare for the last 100 years or so. Last year alone, 33 million people sought chiropractic care and reported a 97 percent satisfaction rate. At Stucky Chiropractic, we recently celebrated our 57th year taking care of the Chippewa Valley, the young, the elderly, and every age in between. What you may not know is that humans are not the only ones who benefit from chiropractic care. Your family pets do too! Animal chiropractic has only been accepted in the traditional veterinary community, though, for the last fifteen years or so. Animal chiropractic helps to reduce subluxations (misalignments within the spine and extremities) to help improve the function of your pet’s immune and nervous systems.
Animal chiropractic is not meant to replace traditional veterinary care. Animal chiropractic offers non-surgical, drug-free options for helping bone, disc, and soft-tissue disorders related to improper spinal biomechanical movement for animals of all sizes. It is not an alternative treatment, but rather an integrative method that when used in conjunction with good traditional veterinary care, may provide many more years of healthy living for your pet.
Symptoms that can be present in your pet companion when a subluxation exists can range from mild to severe. Generally, if there is pain or discomfort, you’ll notice a change in your pet’s behavior, gait pattern, or performance. For instance, a dog in pain or discomfort will often pant more than normal. Your pet may also pace or yelp, sit or stand abnormally and/or in an awkward position, and he/she might even show signs of incoordination. These are just some subtle signs you may see in your pet that point to dysfunctions within the nervous system. Subluxations can cause other problems as well, including stiffness, lameness, difficulty going up and down stairs, difficulty jumping onto the couch or bed, difficulty chewing or swallowing, muscle atrophy, changes in gait like “sidewinding,” stumbling, weakness, urinary incontinence, constipation, etc.
When you take your pet for a chiropractic adjustment, the first thing the doctor will do is get a history on your pet, including information about their lifestyle and overall health status. The chiropractor will also want to see any prior x-rays take on your pet and will want to consult with your primary veterinarian. A chiropractic exam includes a neurological assessment, an evaluation of stance and gait, motion, and static palpation. Each abnormality in spinal alignment and extremities noted during the exam will be corrected through spinal manipulations, which are also known as adjustments. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association defines an adjustment as “a short lever, high velocity controlled thrust by a hand or instrument that is directed at specific articulations to correct vertebral subluxations.”
Most animals respond well to adjustments and are generally instinctively aware of the problem in their body before the owner even notices. Chiropractic is not limited to an injured or sick pet. Healthy and athletic animals are ideal candidates for chiropractic care as well. Chiropractic may enhance the quality of your pet’s (large or small) life, ensuring many more active and healthy years for them and your family.