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Chiropractic Care for Pets

Posted In: Feline Health & Wellness, Canine Health & Wellness

Chiropractic care can be very beneficial for pets, especially senior pets, sporting and working dogs, or pets who have had some sort of trauma to the body, like an injury or surgery. But, what exactly is chiropractic care for pets and how does it help? We asked our in-house Chiropractor, Susan Roecker, DC.


What is chiropractic care for pets? Is it like human chiropractic care?

Just like chiropractic care for people, the treatment is called an “adjustment.” The adjustment to the joint is a very specific controlled force with a high speed, low impulse thrust that restores movement to the joint. The goal of chiropractic treatment is to correct the lack of movement in the spine and restore mobility to the joints.

In technical terms, chiropractic care is a manual therapy used to treat subluxation complexes. The subluxation complex is defined as abnormal movement of one vertebral segment in relation to the next vertebral segment within the normal range of motion of the joint. These subluxation complexes affect the joint involved, but also the surrounding muscles and nerves, and can affect other parts of the body through neural connections and compensations.

What happens during a pet chiropractic visit?

As part of the chiropractic visit, we examine the animal first. The pet’s history is taken to isolate areas of concern, if present. During the exam, the pet’s posture and gait are evaluated for any limitations in motion. Static palpation, which is a technique of using the hands to feel and assess parameters that govern the mobility and health of tissues located near or on the body's surface, is also performed to test spinal temperature changes, muscular changes, and malpositions. The final step of the exam is motion palpation to determine the levels and direction of subluxations, at which point the corrective thrust can be applied. 

How often do pets need chiropractic adjustments?

The treatment plan depends on the individual patient and the desired effects. In most cases, a single adjustment is not sufficient to treat the problem, however most animals show significant improvement with one to four treatments. Some chronic cases may take multiple visits. That said, pets seem to need less adjustments than their human counter parts due to the forces placed on their bodies. 

One important point for pet owners: Chiropractic care is not a replacement for veterinary care, but can provide complementary treatment for various issues.

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America has veterinarians at three locations that can answer questions about your pet’s health. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.