Everything You Wanted to Know About Animal Chiropractic
Updated: Sep 15
Animal chiropractic has some similarities to human chiropractic treatments but there are also lot of differences.
1. Animal chiropractors don't use the same table that are used for people. Small animals are treated on an adjusting block. Mine is blue as seen in the picture. The block can help an antsy animal focus especially in a home visit. It also helps me protect my own back by raising the animal. But not all house pets are adjusted on the block. Great Danes, for example.
2. There's no cracking sound! Our joints make a cracking or popping sound when they're moved in a certain way. One scientific theory about this is that the air between our joints gets compressed during an adjustment causing that popping sound. It's not necessary have that when you get an adjustment however. In fact, many chiropractic methods that are used on us (like the one that I use in my other practice) don't cause that sound. Animals joints, while similar to ours, fit together slightly differently and no sound is created when these are gently compressed during an adjustment.
3. A full exam, including reflexes, gait analysis, palpation and checking ranges of motion are done on animals, just like they're done on people in a chiropractic office.
4. Sometimes adjustments have to be stopped in the middle. Sometimes, animals get too stressed out by the whole process. The process itself usually feels like I'm just petting them but being sore can make them feel anxious or some dogs and cats don't like strangers touching them. I always work at the pet's pace and that can mean we stop before we're done. The second appointment is almost always better. The good news is even one adjustment can make a difference. I have a patient who did NOT like me the first time I saw her. I was able adjust her back before she told me she was done. Even though she didn't get a full treatment, her owner later told me that she was moving better and acting happier. The second appointment, she was happy to see me and let me treat her completely.
5. Animals don't need as many adjustments as we do. Between 4 and 8 adjustments is what the typical dog or cat needs. Sometimes, for IVDD cases or other severe conditions, I'll need to see your pet a few times a week. For most, it's a weekly visit until they're back on their feet. Once the initial condition is taken care of, maintenance treatments every quarter (or monthly for a senior pet) is a good idea.
6. Dogs and cats get a treat at the end. People don't. Sorry.
These are a few of the main differences between animal and people adjustments. If you're not sure if your pet could benefit from chiropractic, a quick phone call or email will help us figure that out.