What is Veterinary Chiropractic?
A Veterinary Chiropractic examination includes a comprehensive physical and neurological examination to fully evaluate the animals' stance and gait, as well as palpation of the spine and joints while the animal is both static and in motion. The patients' history, work/athletic use, and overall health state is fully evaluated before any adjustment is performed. In most cases, preliminary blood work and x-rays are required to pinpoint the source of the problem(s).
A chiropractic adjustment is defined as "short lever, high velocity controlled thrust by hand or instrument that is directed at specific articulations to correct vertebral subluxations." Veterinary Chiropractic comprises the adjustment of vertebral joints (spine), extremity joints (legs/paws), and cranial sutures (head/neck).
How Chiropractic Works
In a normal, healthy body, the bones of the joints and spine are maintained in a very specific alignment. A subluxation occurs when there is a change, no matter how subtle, in that specific alignment. Each joint and vertebral articulation is surrounded by very sensitive nerves, which are constantly communicating with the central nervous system, brain, and all organs of the body. When subluxation occurs, this communication altered, affecting local muscles, joints, organs, glands, body functions, and nervous system.
Often, chiropractic adjustments are used in conjunction with veterinary acupuncture, herbs, and/or laser therapy to achieve optimal benefit for your pet.
What Conditions Can Veterinary Chiropractic Help?
- Neck, back, leg, and tail pain
- Nerve problems and muscle spasms
- Injuries resulting from accidents, slips, and falls
- Difficulty with the jaw, chewing, or TMJ
- Athletic injuries
- Post-surgical care
- Recovery from illness or injury
- Internal medicine, bowel, and bladder disorders
- Healing/assisting with chronic internal medicine disorders
How Do I Know if My Pet Would Benefit from Veterinary Chiropractic?
If your pet suffers from any of the following conditions, Veterinary Chiropractic could help to improve or maintain a good quality of life:
- Difficulty getting up
- Athletic Competitions (agility, herding, dock diving, fly ball, etc)
- Seizures or neurological issues
- Elderly pet
- Behavior or mood changes
- Chronic health conditions that are not resolving as anticipated
Is an Adjustment Painful?
The majority of the time, the pet will not show any sign of pain during the comprehensive physical and neurological exam or chiropractic adjustment. Most animals will accept treatment willingly. If a painful area is found, the veterinarian will apply very gentle techniques to reduce pain before continuing with the adjustment. If your pet happens to be in severe pain, the veterinarian will likely delay the adjustment until your pet is relaxed and pain is relieved. Often, use of acupuncture, herbs, and/or cold laser will be very beneficial to these patients, as these modalities work to decrease pain, inflammation, discomfort, and speed healing.
How Will My Pet Feel After an Adjustment?
Often, owners will see immediate improvement in the gait, posture, and disposition of their pet. Some animals may experience a period of tiredness lasting for 24-48 hours. This is completely normal, and is due to the body healing itself now that the body has regained its correct alignment. For animals in acute pain, several sessions may be required to fully resolve the problem. If your pet suffers from a chronic condition, several visits will be required over regular intervals to restore and maintain normal function of the joints and nervous system.
Overall, make sure you share all information regarding your pets' health care with the veterinarian, especially if you see several practitioners. This includes, diet, medications, and supplements. The veterinarian may give you specific instructions regarding exercise and at-home care following the adjustment. Be sure to follow all recommendations as directed to ensure your pet receives optimal benefit from the adjustment.
To schedule a chiropractic consultation with Dr. Birdwell, please call us at 512-459-7676