It has been said that, “the nervous system holds the key to the body’s incredible potential to heal itself.”  Chiropractics are, oftentimes, an overlooked area of specialty care.  However misalignment and malfunction of the spine don’t just limit joint mobility, they also prevent the body from functioning optimally.  When the same old “tried and true” veterinary methods aren’t working for your favorite furry friend, you might try an “alternate” approach.  This is the first of a three part series that Wisconsin Pet Care is featuring on holistic pet care: Are chiropractics just what the doctor ordered?


If your dog suffers from joint pain (either from injury, arthritis or advancing age), difficulty standing up or lying down, bowel or bladder issues, TMJ or jaw problems, neurological issues, or simply an ailment that has not been resolved by other medical methods, chiropractic care could be a solution.  Chiropractic therapy uses manual spinal manipulation to correct misalignment of the vertebral column.  It utilizes the relationship between the spine and the nervous system to restore and maintain good health.


What can you expect from a visit with a Veterinary Chiropractor?  First you will be asked to disclose your dog’s medical history (be sure to bring previous x-rays).  It will also be helpful to advise the chiropractor of Fido’s lifestyle habits.  Next your pup will be given a neurological assessment, gait evaluation, and range-of-motion tests.  During this examination, the doctor will take note of any abnormalities in your dog’s spinal positioning.  These abnormalities will be “adjusted” through spinal manipulations.


Will it hurt?  No.  Your pet will most likely tolerate the treatment very well.  Animals are instinctually aware of problems that exist within their bodies.   Some chiropractic veterinarians have reported that certain pet patients have actually changed their positions in an effort to help the doctor treat the misalignment.


Are chiropractics safe for my pet?  Generally speaking, yes.  But not without one word of caution: Be sure to find a certified Veterinary Chiropractor.  Your human chiropractor may say he can adjust your dog’s spine, but human physiology and canine physiology are extremely different.  It is vital to find a specialist in the field to be sure your pet is receiving the best care possible.


After my dog sees the Veterinary Chiropractor, what are some things we can do to keep him moving freely at home?  First, you will want to maintain a regular schedule with the Chiropractor.  If you think of chiropractics like a “workout for your back”, you’d understand that it doesn’t take just one visit to the gym to get your body physically fit.  In the same way, it does take regular visits to the chiropractor to keep your dog feeling his best.  However, what may start as a weekly visit could eventually become a less frequent visit (like once every few months), as the spine is realigned and the muscles are strengthened.  It is also very important to maintain any spinal exercises your pet’s chiropractor has assigned in between visits.  These exercises help strengthen the muscles and keep the spine aligned after adjustments.