Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy (Veterinary Chiropractic)
A brief definition of chiropractic: Chiropractic science is concerned with the relationship between structure, primarily the spine, and function, primarily the nervous system, of the body as that relationship may affect the restoration and preservation of health. (Motion Palpation Institute)
When Palmer made his chiropractic adjustments in 1895, the profession promoted the concept of subluxation to explain the modalities. It wasn’t until 1934 when Cajal was awarded the Nobel Prize for his neuron theory did it become clear that the concept of a subluxation with pinched nerves did not adequately describe chiropractic techniques. Because of the neuron theory we now know that the nervous system is receptor-based. This means that receptors embedded in muscles and around joints drive the nervous system and maintain its integrity. The joint mechanoreceptors are responsible for maintaining the nervous system as a functional unit. When a vertebra or other joint is unable to move within its normal range of motion, the joint mechanoreceptors do not fire which decreases the input to the nervous system and the effects can be seen in the spinal cord all the way to the cerebellum and cortex (brain). It is not the “unpinching of a nerve” that allows the body to function properly, rather, it is the stimulation of these joint mechanoreceptors that re-establishes neuronal integrity. Veterinarians trained in spinal manipulation (“chiropractic”) are trained to look at the structure of the dog’s frame. They are trained in the proper motion and function (the biomechanics) of the gait. This advanced training allows them to detect structural and functional abnormalities before they become major problems such as injuries or poor performance. Veterinarians trained in this art, use their knowledge to correct asymmetries found in the dogs’ bodies and return them to their natural balance. During a chiropractic examination, the dog is examined for muscular problems, lameness and gait changes. Lameness can be seen in gait changes such as a head bob, hip hike, limb weakness and/or a decreased ability to place one’s feet properly.
On examination, Dr. Fife looks for muscular problems, lameness and gait changes. Lameness can be seen in gait changes such as a head bob, hip hike, limb weakness and/or decreased ability to place one’s feet properly.
Situations Chiropractic can be useful
Increasing or restoring performance in a working animal:
Police K9 work
Search & Rescue
Schutzhund / other Ring sports
Racing / lure coursing
Among Others . . .