Chiropractic Care for Your Pet

by Laurie S. Coger, DVM, CVCP

Many people seek help from a chiropractor for back problem, injuries, arthritis, or other painful conditions. Did you know that your pet can benefit from this natural method of health care too?

The term chiropractic comes from the Greek words meaning, “practicing with the hands.” Chiropractic is a system of manipulation and adjustments of the bones and joints of the spine to address misalignments, commonly called subluxations. When bones and joints are not in perfect position, the nerves, muscles, blood supply, and other structures in the region cannot function properly. By returning structures to their normal state, body function is restored.

An adjustment can result in immediate total or partial relief of symptoms. However, many times the body will revert back to maligned state, by moving a certain way or because the muscles and connective tissues have been in an incorrect position for a long time. Fortunately a series of treatments can overcome this tendency of the body to fall out of alignment.

Recently, the VOM technique, which uses an instrument called a spinal accelerometer, has been used on animals. It is a spring-loaded device that delivers a quick, short impulse. It may create less apprehension for the dogs and cats than normal hands-on chiropractic and allows multiple adjustments to be performed much more easily. The intensity of the impulse can be adjusted from strong to very gentle, making adjustments comfortable for a variety of pet sizes.

Chiropractic therapy is often first thought of as a method of pain relief, which is true in many cases. Pain can be thought of as the body’s way of telling us that tissue damage has occurred or is about to happen. Pain is relieved because an adjustment restores normal nerve function. Re-establishing normal nerve function leads to better blood circulation, restoring the affected area to a normal state. In this way, the correction of subluxations can improve the health of some internal organs such as the heart, urinary system and gastrointestinal system.

Musculoskeletal problems are the most common reason owners bring their pet to a veterinarian for chiropractic treatment.  Injuries, hip dysplasia, and arthritis can all lead to pain and difficulty in movement. Chiropractic adjustments can relax tightened muscles and connective tissues, which improves flexibility and range of motion. Adjustments also restore normal nerve impulses, allowing the body to properly coordinate basic functions.  Blood circulation to the affected area is improved, decreasing inflammation and pain, as well as speeding rebuilding of damaged tissues.

Chiropractic care offers a natural addition to your pet’s total health care. Chiropractic care can decrease pain, restore free movement, and improve well-being. Integrating chiropractic care with other alternative medical approaches, such as Joint Resolution, an herbal-collagen blend, and conventional medicine provides a supportive, whole body approach to wellness for your pet.

Dr. Coger is certified by the International Association of Veterinary Chiropractitioners in the VOM chiropractic technique.  More information is available at her website The WholisticVet.

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