Chiropractic Therapy for Pets

Chiropractic is an alternative health care profession that has been traditionally practiced in humans, but has now begun to move to the animal world. Spinal manipulation is nothing new, in fact, it has been around almost as long as acupuncture, which was being used by the Chinese as early as 2700 B.C.

Chiropractic focuses on the treatment of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. It involves manual manipulation of the spinal column and other joints and soft tissues. It is believed that joint dysfunction can interfere with the nervous system and result in diminished health. When something is out of place, whether it be a bone or damaged muscle or nerves, it throws the entire body off.

The goal of chiropractic is to fix spinal misalignments or subluxations. These misalignments can cause a variety of symptoms from pain to swelling to loss of movement.

Some symptoms to look for include:

  • sitting with legs out to one side
  • favoring limbs
  • stiffness
  • refusing to go up or down stairs
  • changes in behavior
  • sensitivity to touch along the back
  • pain and swelling
  • changes in coordination

Subluxations can be caused by trauma, over exertion or just normal wear and tear. These subluxations are corrected by first performing an examination and x-rays. This will help the chiropractor determine which part of the spine is misaligned. Then, the chiropractor will gently manipulate the spine to help realign it.

Care usually requires multiple visits as it takes time to heal the ligaments, muscles, etc. that have been out of place. It’s important to remember that the chiropractor doesn’t heal your pet, but your pet’s body does. The number of visits varies depending on the animal and the amount of misalignment. Some pets will require a monthly adjustment, while others may require more frequent visits.

I am a strong advocate of chiropractic for humans, being a patient myself, but I hadn’t ever realized that it has been used in animals. It does, however, make sense as they have similar bone structures to humans. It is kind of amazing how much human and veterinary science overlap. Pets receive the same kinds of medications that we do, they have similar treatments (even laser surgery!), so I can understand how it works.

Has anyone ever used chiropractic for yourself or your pets? I’d like to hear your stories!

To find out if there is a Veterinary Chiropractor in your area, visit the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.

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3 thoughts on “Chiropractic Therapy for Pets

  1. Paul says:

    Hi- My 7 month old kitten has hurt his hind right leg. I don’t know what he did. I just found him laying on the floor with one leg looking kinda funny when I got home from work. he won’t put any weight on it and hobbles around. I took him to the vet immediately and they checked him thoroughly and found no wounds and the x-ray showed nothing out of place. can you help? it has now been 3 days and there is no change in his condition. I live in keswick on lake simcoe in ontario canada

    • Lissa says:

      Hi Paul,

      It could be that your kitten just sprained a muscle. Try to keep him from climbing and jumping a lot (I know it’s HARD! LOL). If he is not better by next week take him in and have him reevaluated. If it is just a sprain he should be healed in no time at all.


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