Chiropractic Therapy

Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy / Chiropractic

Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy is synonymous with Chiropractic, and is a study of the interrelations of bones, joints, and the nervous system.




Spinal Manipulation is often used to “make us feel better,” but it is also very important in keeping our nervous system healthy. All the joints in the body (both ours and our pets’) have nerves in them called “proprioceptors” which give very important information to the brain about the body’s balance and movement. If our spinal joints are not moving properly, they will not stimulate these proprioceptors correctly and the information sent to the brain and nervous system is reduced. Each of these proprioceptors in the body connects with thousands of other nerves, so reduction in the functioning of one area can affect many other areas. The outer covering of the spinal cord is called the Dura Mater (“tough mother”), and protects the spinal cord by spreading out or dispersing any pressures on it. The Dura Mater is so tough, it can hold up your car! If there is pressure on the spinal cord, such as a spinal segment or joint that is not moving, the Dura Mater will spread that pressure over the length of the rest of the spinal cord. By releasing these seemingly unrelated other areas with spinal manipulation (adjustments), a chiropractor can help alleviate the pressure on the area of dysfunction and reduce clinical symptoms and pain.

Since everything in the body is controlled by the spinal cord and nervous system, many other body functions can be affected by a nervous system that is not functioning to its capacity. Very little pressure is required to change the electronic (axoplasmic) flow of a nerve -- about 10 mmHg or the weight of two nickels. If a spinal segment is not moving well and putting pressure on a nerve root, everything in the body supplied by that root is affected. Even the immune system’s function can be stressed if the nervous system is stressed.

Common benefits of spinal manipulative therapy include:

  • Increased mobility and muscle strength
  • Decrease in allergies
  • Skin and dermatological improvement
  • Decreased irritability and increased contentment
  • Better immune system functioning

Spinal manipulations or adjustments are made very gently using the practitioner’s hands. Almost all animals given a chiropractic adjustment relax and are very affectionate afterward. Horses will begin chewing motions and hang their heads peacefully. Dogs will give a whole-body shake, and wag their tails or run around. The period after a chiropractic adjustment is just as important as the adjustment. This is when the nervous system wakes up and begins to function better. The regrowth of nerves takes a long time, even longer in older animals. Overall improvement from an adjustment can be seen continuing up to 4 weeks, depending on the patient.