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How do you know if your pet needs chiropractic care?



CHIROPRACTIC CARE is a drug-free approach to relieving pain, restoring function, and optimizing health. Chiropractors remove nerve interference, allowing the body to heal itself more thoroughly, naturally. Now this powerful, holistic modality is available to your entire family, even your animal companions!

Chiropractors perform adjustments to subluxated joints. A subluxated joint is one that is not moving properly. A well-delivered adjustment restores normal anatomical motion. Why is this important? Because normal anatomical motion decreases pain and keeps the central nervous system healthy by allowing accurate, abundant neurological input from the body. [i], [ii] Surprisingly enough, the ultimate effect of a chiropractic adjustment is not on the joint itself, but within the central nervous system.

Many animals hide pain or dysfunction as long as they can. So, how do you know when your companion needs adjusting? If something has changed about your animal’s activities or abilities, or they are “aging” quickly, chiropractic may be the key.

Has your animal discontinued activities that used to be commonplace? Reluctance to sit, play, or jump to favorite perches can be indicators of pain.

Is your animal less willing or able to perform? Dogs lag behind on walks, lameness or incoordination becomes evident, competitive performance suffers. Horses resist being saddled, or riders notice irregular gaits or reluctance to take correct leads.

Is your animal “missing the litterbox” or “going in the house?” Changes in bathroom behaviors (in the absence of an infection or parasite infestation) can indicate discomfort.

Animals that have become fearful, aggressive, or anxious may be reacting to chronic pain. Subluxated ribs can cause pain with every inhalation. Over time this may affect an animal’s confidence or behavior.

Even animals with pre-existing conditions such as arthritis, disc herniations, degenerative myelopathy, or hip dysplasia, can benefit from chiropractic care. All of these conditions can cause, or be aggravated by, subluxations elsewhere in the body. Although chiropractic will not necessarily eliminate these conditions, it can often help the body cope with them better. [iii], [iv]

All of the body’s systems, like the immune, vascular, digestive, respiratory and endocrine, get their marching orders from the central nervous system. Human chiropractic patients often become less reliant on medications for asthma, hypertension, endocrine disorders, etc. [v], [vi], [vii] Improvements also occur in some patients with incontinence, because the root cause is often neurological.[viii] How does all this happen from simply adjusting the spine? Because the internal organs receive input from the same spinal nerves that supply the muscles and joints. A treatment from a qualified chiropractor is a full-body tune up!

Many owners choose regular maintenance care for their animals to keep them in top-notch condition. Maintenance visits are generally one to three months apart. Healthy animals seem to need less maintenance than people do. Perhaps because they don’t drive cars, work at computers, or worry about anything other than squirrels in the yard.

Chiropractic is a powerful modality. As stated before, its ultimate effect occurs within the central nervous system. Even a well-intended attempt at adjusting, if performed by untrained hands, can have devastating effects on your animal. Be certain that you fully understand the credentials of your service provider. Find a chiropractor or veterinarian that has completed a post-doctorate training course approved by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association or the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. These courses train chiropractors to recognize situations that require immediate veterinary intervention or co-management.

Annie Seefeldt, DC, CVSMT, is Minnesota’s first Board Registered Animal Chiropractor. For additional information, owner testimonials, and contact information for Dr. Seefeldt and other Board Registered Animal Chiropractors visit www.MNAnimalChiro.org (Minnesota Animal Chiropractic Care).

[i] Pickar, J.G. Wheeler, J.D. (2001) 'Response of Muscle Proprioceptors to Spinal Manipulative-like Loads in the Anesthetized Cat' Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Vol 24, Part: 1: pp. 2-11

[ii] Cramer, G.D., Lecture Notes. Healing Oasis Wellness Center, Basic Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Module 2, November 2007.

[iii] Huff, L. and Brady, D.M. Instant Access to Chiropractic Guidelines and Protocols. 2nd ed. Elsevier Mosby, St. Louis, MO, 2005.

[iv] Gatterman, M.I. Foundations of Chiropractic: Subluxation. 2nd ed. Elsevier Mosby, St. Louis, MO, 2005.

[v] Gibbs, A.L. (2005) 'Chiropractic Co-management of Medically Treated Asthma' Clinical Chiropractic, Vol 8, Part: 3: pp. 140-144

[vi] DeNoon, D.J. (2007) 'Chiropractic Cuts Blood Pressure' WebMD Health News, March 16, 2007, [online] Available at: <http://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20070316/chiropractic-cuts-blood-pressure> [Accessed 12/15/2008]

[vii] Ali, S. et al. Proceedings of the 2002 International Conference on Spinal Manipulation.

[viii] Bagley, R.S. Fundamentals of Veterinary Clinical Neurology. Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA, 2005.

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