Chiropractic therapy is a relatively new kind of treatment for pets having only been accepted amongst the wider veterinary world in the 21st century. The therapy concentrates on the vertebral column and manoeuvring the spine so that the nervous system can work to heal, restore or sustain well-being. When bones in the spine (vertebrae) are out of position and not where they should be, or they do not move or function properly, then this can affect the way the body moves and as a result can be an impediment to the nervous system and how it operates. Vertebrae that are not properly positioned are known as subluxations; the aim of chiropractic therapy is to realign subluxations to halt the progression of a condition or disease, whilst mending the vital connection between the nervous system and the spine.
Reasons for Use
This kind of therapy can be used for both preventative and reactive measures. In terms of preventative measures consistent orthopaedic treatment can help to keep the musculoskeletal system in shape and reduce the chance of it deteriorating as a dog gets older, which in turn can also promote comfortable movement throughout a dog’s life. Chiropractic therapy is also a brilliant way to prevent joint erosion; by keeping your dog’s vertebral alignment intact the body will be prevented from moving into awkward or unnatural positions to compensate for pain caused by injury or deterioration.
Dogs that have floating kneecaps can feel the benefits of this therapy as chiropractic adjustments can be made so that the knees and hips stay aligned and the condition does not worsen. Likewise, dogs that have hip dysplasia, as well as any dog that has suffered an injury, can avoid developing a further injury by having chiropractic amendments. Some dogs that have urinary incontinence can also be helped by this kind of therapy as it can improve their neurological function and bladder control via the nervous system.
Chiropractic care can also be effective in dealing with bowel or bladder disorders, difficulty with chewing or swallowing, injuries from falling over or slipping, jaw problems, muscle spasms, neck pain, nerve problems and post-surgery rehabilitation.
Signs of Subluxation
There are quite a broad range of signs that your pet may have a subluxation and they can include panting more than normal, vocalising lots (such as howling, yelping or whimpering), sitting or standing in an unusual position rather than relaxing normally, a lack of coordination, a refusal to eat or move around normally, discomfort when a harness or collar is put on and sensitivity to being touched in a certain area of their body.
To diagnose an issue with a dog’s spine a veterinary chiropractor will obtain a full medical history of a dog including all past x-rays. They will then perform a chiropractic assessment that includes an evaluation of gait, motion, stance and static palpation (examining parts of the body by touch). During the examination if a subluxation is discovered then the abnormality in positioning will be adjusted back to normal through a variety of hand techniques. Most animals will respond well to these adjustments and be fine with the chiropractor working on their vertebrae.
Please do not treat this article as a medical document. If you feel that your pet may need to be seen then please promptly contact your vet.