Chiropractic care as a holistic approach can be used to treat health and performance problems in animals. Chiropractic is the manipulation or adjustment of joints and their related structures.
The purpose of chiropractic adjustments is to mobilize stiff or restricted joints. When muscle or ligament on one side of a spinal joint is tight the joint is pulled out of proper alignment. The joint and associated muscles and nerves become irritated and swollen leading to pain, stiffness and dysfunction of the nervous system. An adjustment is a very specific, quick, low force thrust of the hand which is directed in a specific direction on a specific joint. The goal is to return restricted joints to proper mobility.
Your appointment begins with Dr Weidenkopf taking a complete history of your horse, dog or cat. Then a chiropractic examination is performed. This includes posture and gait analysis and palpation of the joints and muscles both, statically and in motion. Most animal chiropractors examine one region at a time and make the adjustments as they go using proper position and applying treatment to one joint at a time.
Several factors determine the number and frequency of treatments to correct a problem. In general, long-standing or chronic problems will require more treatments than new or acute problems. If permanent damage has occurred, a return to full range of motion may not be possible and multiple adjustments may be required to achieve maximum available flexibility. Younger animals generally need fewer treatments than seniors. Most issues require 2-5 treatments with about 2 to 4 weeks between each treatment.
For all species, there are common stressful or traumatic situations that can strain the structures supporting joints and thus cause abnormal or restricted movement in the spine.
Common Stressful or Truamatic Situations
- the birthing process
- poor conformation
- injuries - from running into something
- chronic lameness or limping
- repetitive, physically stressful activities
- surgical procedures
Issues That Can Strain The Body's Framework & Restrict Activity
- poor saddle fit (horses)
- poor hoof balance (horses)
- dental imbalances (horses)
- rider imbalance (horses)
- long toenails (dogs)
Symptoms Of Animals In Need Of Adjustment
- ensitivity to touch, grooming or being held
- uncharacteristic irritability or a change in attitude, depression or anxiety
- dragging feet
- decreased interest in playing or working or unwillingness to work
- difficulty getting up and laying down
- digestive problems
For Equine Patients
When your horse loses normal flexibility due to restricted joints, their back, neck or pelvis become stiff leading to resistance and decreased performance. You may find that your horse has difficulty with or exhibits the following symptoms/issues:
- executing desired movements such as collection or bending and flexing
- short strided
- "cold backed"
- "weak sided" with difficulty picking up or maintaining a lead
- unable to perform to their expected level
- painfulness resulting in behavioral problems like head tossing, bucking, or cinchiness
- difficulty posturing to defecate or urinate
For Small Animals
Our dogs and cats may show pain when they are in need of an adjustment. Others may be stiff but not painful. Possible symptoms include:
- inability to jump up or down on objects
- difficulty going up or down stairs or getting in and out of the car
- stiffness or weakness when walking or rising
- excessive licking of paws or hot spots
- hiding from people or other pets
- resentful of a collar being put on
- refusal to sit or sits in an unusual position
- difficulty lowering or raising head
- urinary or fecal incontinence or difficulty posturing to defecate or urinate
- pets with chronic lameness problems such as hip dysplasia, arthritis or pain from fractures
- pain or stiffness from excessive crating, pulling on collar, hard work or play