A veterinarian chiropractor performs spinal adjustments on animals to address musculoskeletal problems. This particular aspect of veterinary care is a form of complementary or alternative medicine and the level of regulation available depends on the location. In some countries, for example, people can only provide medical treatment to animals if they are a veterinarian or are working under the supervision of a veterinarian. Regulations may be more flexible in other areas. Animal owners concerned about a care provider’s level of experience and certification can ask for more information.
These care providers require a broad understanding of animal anatomy and physiology to provide the best treatment. They work with animals that have conditions associated with musculoskeletal problems, most commonly horses and dogs. The extent of treatable conditions with chiropractic manipulation is a matter of debate. Some physicians believe that issues such as back pain, stiffness, and muscle injury can be treatable, and others extend it to a wider spectrum of conditions, including chronic health conditions, vomiting, and behavioral problems.
A session usually begins with a review of the animal’s medical records. In some cases the veterinary chiropractor is referred by the animal’s primary care provider. Some veterinarians provide complementary health care as an adjunct to their routine practice and may recommend adjustments as part of treatment. If clients are seen without a referral, the care provider may ask for a detailed history and request permission from the primary care provider before proceeding. The veterinary chiropractor examines the animal, examines spinal alignment issues, and discusses the symptoms with the handler.
If an examination leads to a finding that can be resolved with an adjustment, the veterinary chiropractor may use gentle pressure and manipulation to pull the spine into alignment. The handler can be present to calm the animal, and technicians can provide assistance with positioning and restraint. This can be particularly important with larger animals such as horses. Follow-up visits may be necessary to assess the response of animals to treatment and to demonstrate microorganisms.
The efficacy of care provided by a veterinarian chiropractor may vary depending on the practitioner’s position, level of training, and experience. People skilled in this area can determine when their services will not be helpful and make recommendations for other methods of treatment. They can work closely with veterinarians or be licensed veterinarians to ensure that animals receive the full spectrum of their care. For example, a horse with back problems can not only benefit from chiropractic care, but can also make changes to medications, saddle and harness fittings, and physical therapy.