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A limping, shuffling, or dragging dog will affect almost every pet parent, and it seems like there is little we can do about it, especially when a dog is getting on in years.
But there might actually be something you can do – or something a canine chiropractor can do. They are experts in both how your dog’s joints work and how best to ensure that those joints are performing to their full potential.
We have worked with Christine Horne, DVM, CCRP, CVA, CIVCA who works at Georgia Veterinary Rehabilitation at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Marietta, Georgia.
Are There Canine Chiropractors?
Indeed there is. Some, like Horne, are both veterinarians and chiropractors. But don’t assume that all vets are chiropractors and vice versa. If your canine chiropractor is not a veterinarian, make sure they are compliant with the treatment your veterinarian prescribes. As always, there really is no substitute for veterinary care, so this should always be your first port of call to addressing your dog’s health issues.
When looking for a chiropractor, your best bet is to look for someone certified in animal chiropractic by either the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) or the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA) that Horne has certified. Both require their candidates to pass written and practical exams.
“It has to be someone who has completed dog chiropractic training,” Horne tells Daily Paws.
The certified have both the anatomical knowledge and the technical know-how to safely treat your dog, says Horne. Both the AVCA and IVCA have chiropractor directories on their websites so you can find one near you.
Also, make sure that every animal professional you work with uses positive reinforcement techniques. In addition to verifying their credentials, ask potential caregivers how they can make visits to your pet as stress-free as possible and how they can prevent further harm to your dog.
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How to Safely Receive Chiropractic Adjustments for Dogs
The first and truly only thing dog mothers and fathers must do to keep their pups safe for chiropractic adjustments is to see a qualified chiropractor with the references outlined above. You shouldn’t try out adapting your dog alone at home. It can even make your dog’s condition worse, Horne says.
Here’s what happens when your chiropractor adjusts your dog’s joints that aren’t moving properly:
“It’s not moving through its full range of motion, and you’re using that adjustment to basically open up the entire joint so it can use its full range of motion,” says Horne.
When the joint is open it allows the body to communicate better with the brain and nervous system, which hopefully reduces the dog’s pain while allowing the joint to move as it should. If you’re more of a visual person, it can look like this:
Can chiropractic care for dogs help with conditions like IVDD and hip dysplasia?
Hopeful! This is one of the main reasons and ailments that Horne will see in dog patients. Other main reasons pet parents use their services are:
If chiropractors are unable to restore full range of motion to the joint, there is still a good chance they can relieve a pet’s pain. If the treatments don’t work, you can talk to your veterinarian about other pain relief options, whether through medication or even surgery.
“Pretty much anything can benefit from chiropractic as long as there is no injury or instability to the joint,” says Horne.
At this point, some joints could prove to be unstable and no one should push, pull, pull or grasp on them. However, these inoperable joints are likely to put more pressure on other parts of the body to make up for the lack of exercise. A chiropractor can examine and work on these overloaded joints to make sure they are working properly.
When the functioning joints and muscles regain strength, your dog can still enjoy a high quality of life.
What To Do Instead Of Seeing A Dog Chiropractor?
As mentioned earlier, don’t try to make adjustments at home alone. The YouTube video above is for reference only, not a guide. But you can talk to your veterinarian and see if they have other treatment options – which you can do at home. That could include massaging your dog, for example, Horne says. Your veterinarian has ideas and can guide you on the pain relief options that are most suitable for you. You know your pet’s health better than anyone.