What is Animal Chiropractic (Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy)? Animals are particularly sensitive to spinal stress, which can come from both internal and external environments. These stresses can cause decreased mobility in particular areas, resulting in abnormal nerve impulses and pain (referred to as hypomobility or subluxation). The nervous system is intimately associated with the spine, so any abnormality in the spine can adversely affect the nervous system and vice versa. The basic premise of chiropractic care is to correct vertebral subluxation/hypomobility, therefore increasing the health of the nervous system and the overall health of the animal. Adjustments may be used to help maintain a pet’s health or to help with acute or chronic musculoskeletal problems (i.e. intervertebral disc disease, muscle spasms, arthritis, degenerative joint disease and back pain, or certain neurological conditions). In addition, many senior patients benefit from regular spinal adjustments for pain relief and improved quality of life. Chiropractic adjustments can be very helpful for canine athletes, whether in formal competition or running at the park.
What happens at a chiropractic appointment? A chiropractic exam includes a musculoskeletal exam, neurological exam, and motion palpation. In addition, a complete patient history will be taken to assess the pet’s activity level and goals. Depending on the findings, X-rays or other testing may be needed before the adjustment occurs. Chiropractic adjustment consists of high velocity, low amplitude, thrust to the affected joint. They are directed at a specific joint in a specific angle to correct vertebral subluxations or hypomobility. How does chiropractic care work? Spinal bones and joints are maintained in a specific alignment by the nervous and musculoskeletal systems. The joints of the spinal column need to move correctly to maintain the overall health of the spine and, thus, the entire nervous system. The nerves that surround each joint and vertebral area are in constant communication with the brain, central nervous system, and other organs. Even subtle changes in this alignment can cause problems. Because of the connectivity of the spinal column to the central nervous system, subluxated or hypomobile areas can affect not only their surrounding areas, but also distant areas, organs and body functions. The goal of an adjustment is to restore your pet’s nervous system and musculoskeletal system to its optimal health and function. Will an adjustment hurt my pet? Most dogs and cats accept both the exam and adjustment without signs of pain. Should a painful area be found, Dr. Jamie will use the gentlest techniques to reduce pain before any adjustment. In specific cases of acute or extreme pain, Dr. Jamie may split the complete adjustment into separate visits to achieve the best results. Your pet may show some signs of soreness for a couple of days after an adjustment (a normal reaction). This is due to motion being restored to an area that may not have moved normally for quite some time. When a restricted joint is adjusted, ligaments, tendons and muscles are stretched quickly, which may result in some discomfort for a time after the adjustment. This is similar to us exercising suddenly after prolonged inactivity and the muscle soreness that results from the sudden, unaccustomed movement. How often will my pet need an adjustment? The frequency of adjustments will vary from pet to pet. Adjustments may begin weekly for acute injuries. Senior patients typically make visits every 4-6 weeks. Healthy, young pets oftentimes are seen every 3 months for maintenance. The goal of a chiropractic treatment is to address neurological dysfunction in the spine and restore mobility in the spine and extremities. The muscles and ligaments need to learn to support the spine and maintain this newly realigned position. Dr. Jamie will adjust and correct the animal a number of times, until the body accepts the new position of the spine as normal and the muscles and ligaments can support and maintain this position.
Dr. Jamie Mabeus, DC, CVSMT, CVMRT Certified Animal Chiropractor Certified Veterinary Massage and Rehabilitation Therapist
DISCLAIMER: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your veterinarian or doctor. Your pet's medical protocol should be given by your veterinarian. Dr. Jamie Mabeus is a licensed chiropractor who completed 226 hours of post graduate education specifically in animal chiropractic and an additional 142 hours in veterinary rehabilitation and massage, emphasizing functional neurology, muscular and osseous anatomy specific to large and small animals. Additionally, chiropractic care is a complementary method of care and does not replace traditional veterinary medicine. All of Dr. Jamie’s patients are required to stay up-to-date with their veterinarian. Veterinary referral and consent is required prior to treatment with Dr. Jamie.