Veterinary chiropractic, or animal chiropractic, is the spinal manipulation or manual therapy for animals. Its benefits include enhancing the performance and improving the quality of life of the animals. It is also a popular drugless alternative method of treatment for equine athletes.
The chiropractic treatment of large animals goes back to the early 1900s when animal care was under the exclusive jurisdiction of veterinarians. That has been expanded because both doctors of veterinary medicine (DVMs) and chiropractic doctors (DCs) can become certified in veterinary chiropractic by taking the additional required training. After an eight-week course, the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association can certify those existing doctors to add chiropractic to their practices.
Before the initiation of any alternative treatment, like chiropractic, a veterinarian should examine the horse and establish a diagnosis. Prior to performing a chiropractic adjustment, the chiropractor examines the animal’s vertebrae, extremities, gait, posture, and makes a neurological evaluation.
Why and when does a horse need chiropractic treatment?
Changes in workload, routine wear and tear, stress, and other things add bio-mechanical stress to a horse’s body. That can cause abnormal stress to the muscles and cause the joints to become “stuck” in the normal range of motion. That inhibits the ability of the peripheral nerves to communicate quickly and smoothly with the rest of the horse’s body.
Signs and symptoms for the need for chiropractic treatment
The most common symptoms are pain, abnormal posture with a hollowing of the back, reduced performance, unleveled gait rhythm and/or irregular gait, stiffness, a shortened stride, sensitivity to touch, lameness, compensation for pain by changing posture, and many other signs that a regular check-up will detect.
If you have your horse in the medical care of a program such as equine chiropractic that offered by Piaffe Performance, the staff coordinates the optimal health of each individual horse. In addition to monthly chiropractic services, we arrange for normal and emergency veterinary care, weekly or more frequent farrier visits, and monthly equine massage therapy, equine acupuncture, and equine dental.