I often get asked, “How can I know if my animal may benefit from chiropractic care?” One of the easiest things to notice is if your pet is in pain. Some common pain indicators are yipping or yelping, limping, dragging a paw or hoof, licking a certain area not related to allergies or a skin condition. Some of the more subtle things to notice is if your animal has a behavioral change. For example, do they suddenly have a tough time jumping up on the couch? Do you have to coax them to go upstairs when it’s time for bed? Are they holding their head down when walking? Are they eating throughout the day? Did they stop using their litter box? Is it difficult for your horse to turn or collect? Are they bucking when you ride them on the trail?
Animals have nervous systems just like humans do. The nervous system not only sends pain signals but it also tells the rest of the body what to do. This system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. When structural shifts occur in this system, we see animals having a difficult time walking, running, or even turning their head. People wonder how these structural shifts occur for their furry friends. Sometimes it’s from playing too rough or running in too deep of snow. Other times it’s the repetitive jumping on and off the couch or bed. Sometimes just from aging. Animal chiropractors are trained to evaluate the nervous system and adjust any areas that aren’t moving or functioning properly. More often than not our animals do not develop symptoms until they are well past the initial stage of fixation. When this occurs, a common result is decreased motion at a joint, or what we chiropractors call a “subluxation”. Decreased motion can lead to decreased nerve function, muscle atrophy, and overactive inflammatory processes furthering potential joint breakdown. Chiropractic care uses objective indicators to locate these restrictions and then delivers a high velocity-low amplitude gentle adjustment to reduce the fixation. If you’re wondering how it’s even possible to adjust a horse, I actually stand on a large block next to the horse so I’m as tall as they are. This allows me to feel each of the vertebrae and figure out which ones aren’t in the proper position. When your animal’s body is moving and functioning like it should, it heals more effectively, and your animal will be happier and in less pain.
If your animal is experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s advisable that you consult your veterinarian about finding a chiropractor to evaluate your loved one.