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What is Animal Chiropractic Care?

  • It is a therapy in which a doctor’s hands are used to affect joints of the spine.
  • It focuses on the biomechanical dysfunction of the spine and its effect on the entire nervous system throughout the body.
  • It treats decreased function of the spine.
  • It influences the function of spinal cord and nerves.

What are the spine and nervous system?

  • An animal's spine consists of bones called vertebrae.
  • The spine is important for the protection of the spinal cord and the exit point for the spinal nerves.
  • The spinal cord is the "information highway" which allows the transmission of information between the brain, muscles, skin and all organs.
  • When even a subtle change in alignment occurs, it is called a subluxation or VSC.
  • A VSC (vertebral subluxation complex) is a change in the alignment of the spine that can lead to decreased movement within a join's normal range or motion.
  • Reduced mobility between two vertebrae can negatively affect the nerves that leave the spinal cord. This results in less information being able to travel to the rest of the body.

What causes VSC's to happen?

Every day most animals are exposed to situations which can cause damage to their spine like:

  • Trauma
  • Conformation (body type)
  • Training
  • Environment
  • Lack of Excercise
  • Daily Activities
  • Age
  • Weight Issues

What signs do animals with VSC's Show?

  • Changes in posture and behavior
  • Decreased activity
  • Not wanting to climb stairs or jump up on furniture
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Lack of coordination or short-strided gait, or stiffness in their motion
  • Unusual body or tail rubbing
  • Alternating lameness

How Can a VSC be treated?

  • A VSC/subluxation is identified by doing a chiropractic examination.
  • An examination includes gait analysis, posture analysis, and static and motion palpation.
  • Once an area of decreased range or motion and misalignment is identified, the doctor aims to realign and increase mobility to the specific joint.
  • Realignment of the joint is accomplished by an adjustment.
  • Adjustments are:
  • Specific in direction
  • Quick speed
  • Low force
  • Adjustments are done within that affected joint's normal range of motion.

What are the goals of chiropractic care?

  • Mobilization of joints in the spine and legs.
  • Restore normal range of motion.
  • Reduction of muscle spasm and pain.
  • Stimulation of the nervous system which in turn leads to the improved overall health of the animal.

What can I expect following an adjustment?

  • Sometimes there is a 24-48 hour period of tiredness.
  • Do not work the dog or allow rough play with other dogs for two days, however walking the dog is recommended.
  • Some animals require a few sessions to resolve acute pain.
  • Often, with chronic health problems, the doctor will want to see your animal several times to maintain and re-establish normal function of the joints and nervous system.

How many treatments will be necessary?

  • Most dogs show significant improvement in two to four treatments.
  • The purpose of the adjustment is to restore function to a joint in the spinal column and to realign the spine.
  • The animal's muscles and ligaments of the spinal column must be able to maintain the correct alignment once the adjustment has been done.
  • The condition of those supporting structures is what determines how many times and how often the patient needs to be treated
  • Chronic conditions tend to take more time and treatment.
  • More recent minor injuries respond most rapidly.
  • Several adjustment over two to four weeks are generally needed for the body to accept and maintain the new corrections.
  • Age and conditioning are the other major factors as to whether the subluxations may reappear.

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