Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to many of the health and performance problems of the horse. Chiropractic does not replace traditional veterinary medicine and surgery, but provides an alternative method of care. Chiropractic adjustments have proven to be invaluable in detecting and treating gait abnormalities and other performance-robbing problems in the animal athlete. It has also been shown to alleviate pain in the back and neck of large and small animals.
- Problems or difficulty executing desired movements.
- Behavioral changes (i.e. refusals, cinchy, bucking)
- Short striding
- Diagnosed conditions, such as degenerative arthritis
- Muscle imbalance, spasms, or atrophy
- Gait problems, such as cross-canter, loss of collection, refusal to pick-up lead
- Injuries resulting from falls, training, or other activities
- Loss or decrease in performance
What Is Animal Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a complementary or holistic system of health care that uses the inherent power of the body to heal itself without the use of surgery or drugs. Chiropractic care focuses on restoring, optimizing, and maintaining health. It is part of "integrated medicine" which is the practice of combining conventional medicine with complementary and alternative approaches in an effort to create a comprehensive treatment plan.
If you've ever wondered how an animal as large as a horse can be manipulated and have their spine treated, consider that the horse is evaluated and adjusted just one joint at a time. Adjustments are not aggressive, nor do they require excessive force. Chiropractic does not replace traditional veterinary health care, but it can help maintain the health and function of both large and small animals.
How do I know if my animal needs a chiropractic adjustment?
In many cases presented to a veterinarian, there is a primary problem or pain that the animal has been coping with which results in discomfort in the back or neck. The body compensates for the pain, causing changes in gait, altered weight bearing, and tight muscles. For horses, signs may include lameness, stiffness, lack of power or impulsion, difficulties in collection, bad attitude, changes in gait (shortened stride, cross- cantering, not picking up a lead), or observable muscle atrophy. These are all indications for a chiropractic evaluation. Other symptoms may include: resistance to the bit, reduced flexibility in one direction, a noticeable difference in gait from one direction to the other, "cinchiness", appearing "sore backed" or "cold backed" and bucking under saddle or during gait transitions.
For small animals (dogs and cats) signs may include difficulty getting up, reluctance to jump, weakness, stiffness, abnormal movement or sitting positions. For animals used for any type of performance including agility, herding, or hunting, chiropractic may improve their work. Even if your animal does not demonstrate any of the easily observable symptoms, a thorough chiropractic exam and adjustment may improve the comfort and performance.
Dr Johnson attended The Healing Oasis in Sturtevant, Wisconsin.