What is Animal Chiropractic?
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.
How does Chiropractic work?
The bones of the spine and joints are maintained in a specific alignment. When even a subtle change in the alignment occurs it causes a subluxation. Often no outward signs appear to let owners know when a subluxation occurs. The nerves which surround each joint and vertebral articulation are in constant communication with the central nervous system, brain and all organs. Subluxations can adversely affect the nervous system, local muscles, joints, and even distant organs, glands, and body functions.
Treatment can also help with other disorders. All organs receive nervous system input from nerves which exit between vertebra. Correcting subluxations of these areas can change the nervous system input and affect blood flow, as well as hormone and neurotransmitter levels directly affecting the organs and glands, skin and joints.
Will an adjustment hurt?
Most animals accept both the exam and adjustment without signs of pain. When a painful area is found, the practitioner will use the gentlest techniques to reduce pain before delivering an adjustment. In cases of acute or extreme pain, the doctor will often delay the complete adjustment until your companion can be relaxed.
What can I expect after an adjustment?
Many animals will show immediate improvement. Sometimes there is a 24-48 hour period of tiredness. Some animals require a few sessions to resolve acute pain. Often, with chronic health problems, the animal chiropractor will want to see your animal several times to maintain and re-establish normal function of the joints and nervous system. In the case of a recent injury or subluxation, one adjustment may be adequate but a follow-up is needed to assure your companion is well. When long term problems reach the point of noticeable pain or outward signs, the doctor may need to do several adjustments.
How can anyone adjust a horse or a dog?
With animal chiropractic care the doctor is not adjusting a horse, but rather the relative position of two bones at a specific joint articulation. All species of animals benefit. Equine, feline, and canine patients benefit most frequently. Zoo animals, exotics, wildlife, and reptiles, all have been adjusted and received chiropractic care. It should be stressed that chiropractic care is not a replacement for conventional veterinary medicine, but rather as a valid, concurrent, complimentary treatment option.
How do I know if my animal needs Chiropractic Care?
Indications for care:
- Trouble getting up and down
- Athletic competitions
- Surgery involving anesthesia
- Seizures or neurological problems
- Geriatric household pet
- Recovery from illness or injury
- Behavior or mood change
- Head shy
- Reluctance to pick up a lead
- Go in one direction pulling one way
- Hair color or pattern change along the body
- Chronic health problems that do not resolve as expected
- Signs of navicular disease or laminitis
What is a saddle for anyway?
A saddle distributes the weight of the rider evenly over the muscles covering the ribs of the horse. This allows maximum unhampered movement of the scapula and loins during completion of the chosen activity.
Why did my saddle stop fitting?
Often a rider will have a custom saddle stop fitting properly. Any change in condition of the horse can change saddle fit. Injury or illness can lead to de-conditioning. Increasing activity levels can lead to an increase in conditioning. Both can have a significant impact on how the saddle fits. Also special considerations need to be made to the activities performed by the horse and rider. Fitting a saddle during active motion is a must.
What is the big deal with saddle fit?
Saddle fit issues have similar physiological factors with bed sores. Skin and muscle tissue require a constant intermittent flow of blood to remain healthy. Exchange of oxygen and waste products occur in the capillary beds. Excessive pressure causes the capillary vessels to collapse. Capillary closing pressure leads to unhealthy tissues. When the back of the horse works correctly and is free of pain, forward motion becomes effortless and supports the rider. When he uses his back incorrectly, he will have rough gaits, difficulty moving forward, and his hollow back will cause his neck position to be high and stiff.
What are the signs of a poor fitting saddle?
- White hairs along the withers under the saddle indicating blood circulation to the skin has been cut off for lengths of time due to pressure
- Hollow back, will not lift its back, "cold backed", back sinks when mounted
- Sores on the back, soft blisters or hard painless lumps, hair loss under the saddle
- Muscle atrophy on one or both sides of the withers, behind the withers, or loin
- Temporary swelling after removing the saddle
- Higher than normal head carriage, head tossing
- Refusing to stand still while the saddle is placed or while being mounted
- Flinching or laying back (pinning) their ears while being groomed along the back
- Bucking or rearing, spooking
- Inability to use the back correctly, difficultly collecting, bucking, rearing, or spooking
- Unwillingness to move forward under saddle
- Inability to bend laterally and/or inability to travel straight
- Wringing or carrying tail off to one side
- Shortened, choppy or disjointed gaits, short striding, dragging toes or obscure limb lameness
- Refusing jumps
- Difficult to catch