Any creature that has a spine can benefit from chiropractic treatments. Increased flexibility, improved health, and enhanced quality of life through pain relief are just some of the benefits of regular adjustments.
Animal Chiropractic application began early in the history of the chiropractic profession. BJ Palmer, credited as the founder of human chiropractic, wrote in 1944, “In the early days of chiropractic, we maintained a veterinarian hospital where we adjusted the vertebral subluxations of sick cows, horses, cats, dogs, etc.” They used animals to prove that chiropractic principles applied to wellness. In 1985, Sharon Willoughby DVM, DC developed Options for Animals, and in 1989, the AVCA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association), both of which to the current day are platforms of education for veterinarians and human chiropractors.
The program teaches a uniform technique of adjusting our animals based on their spinal anatomy. There are many other schools, also, at this time, teaching animal chiropractic techniques, which speaks volumes about the validity of chiropractic adjusting. After all, an animal does not pretend it can walk again when it gaits in a more normal fashion after receiving an adjustment that is real!!
Chiropractic Care for Your Pet
All of our companion dogs and cats benefit from receiving an adjustment. Many people believe it is only for old animals when they have a multitude of aches and pains and show signs of difficulty in moving around. When the pet is showing severe signs of lameness, many times there have been spinal subluxations building up over the years. The pets that fall downstairs or off the bed should be adjusted. After a surgical procedure or anything requiring general anesthesia, the pet should come for an adjustment. The long-backed dogs are more prone to back issues, and intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) so having them adjusted on a regular basis may help with the prevention of back problems. Active animals, especially in doggie sports, benefit from regular adjusting. Cats that are very active climbing and jumping on high counters or trees will sometimes fall, yet the spine or pelvis can be subluxated and they never show any symptoms.
I will always check your pet’s spinal alignment when they come to the office for the initial evaluation. I believe keeping the nerves in the spinal cord working at top efficiency is most important to their long-term health. Chiropractic may be all they need or other modalities will be part of the program. I believe starting when they are young, after the first year of life and vaccinations and spay/neuter surgery. An annual chiropractic exam is very beneficial. When I see older pets often things may not be easily reversed because an injury took place when they were very young and the body compensated for many years so the compensation is causing the discomfort and a multitude of other issues.
In summary, the best program for chiropractic for your pet involves annual evaluations starting at one year of age. Your pet should be evaluated after any type of injury even if they show no signs of discomfort. The breeds with long backs should be checked at least annually. The canine sportster, especially the weekend warrior, will benefit from routine chiropractic care. Dogs who have undergone anesthesia/surgery and, of course, the limping pet should also be evaluated.