An animal chiropractor will perform a complete examination on the animal, which includes a history, review of prior tests and x-rays, neurological exam, stance and gait analysis, and motion and static palpation to determine if there is a subluxation.

A subluxation, sometimes called a joint restriction, is a spinal misalignment or joint dysfunction resulting in neurological or biomechanical dysfunction. To correct the subluxation the doctor will perform a chiropractic adjustment which is a short lever, high velocity controlled thrust by hand or instrument that is directed at a specific joint to restore normal motion. Most animals accept both the exam and adjustment without signs of pain.