Animal Movement

Animal chiropractic care is a holistic approach to movement and health problems.

Category: Cats

What can I expect at my animal chiropractic visit?

I am often asked this question from many pet owners who have visited chiropractors for themselves and some who have not. The initial chiropractic evaluation for your animal is similar to the evaluation for you.

Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork…everyone dislikes filling it out and the value is it give a basic background of your pets spinal, musculoskeletal,  and joint health, general activity level, past injuries, surgeries, trauma, living situation, recent stressful changes, general veterinary history, etc. Even though we ask those questions on the first day, it might trigger a memory in another way, so thanks for filling everything out.

Dog getting an adjustment

As in any chiropractic evaluation, we are interested in movement or lack thereof, pain patterns, gait (walking, running) abnormalities, as well as general health. Working closely with veterinarians provides their histories and treatments in the past and general information on your pet. Past treatments, veterinary and others, and the effectiveness helps a lot to give a more complete picture.

So on day 1, after we go over the specifics of “why are you here, what is going on with your pet, how (from whom) were you referred, and the general information on the animals (the paperwork stuff we talked about) we take a hike – actually a walk and trot and circles. I will watch your pet walk away, walk toward, circle left and right (tight circles), uphill walking if available, and trotting if possible. Then comes the hands on portion of evaluating tenderness, tightness, muscle tone, etc. I always talk to the animal and let them know what to expect (not doing your temperature today, you can relax)…and spend a little time getting to feel the energy of your pet and give them a chance to feel my energy and touch. I move the joints through ranges of motion noticing any restrictions, pain, muscle spasms or tenderness etc. Chiropractic analysis finding misalignments and fixations (again, hands on gentle bouncing, pushing, pulling etc.) neurological evaluation, checking balance, sensation, alertness etc. etc. It is very interactive, and I spend a lot of time talking while I am evaluating to put the animal at ease and educate the owner too.

Depending on the situation, we might want x-rays or certainly look at any x-rays skeleton

Then we talk about what I think is going on and what chiropractic adjustments can do to help – and what to expect if this is the first experience of chiropractic.

Then comes the real fun for me – the adjustment(s). Adjustment, manipulation, mobilization, realignments…lots of terms are used…and  we are trying to get motion back closer to normal and balance…get the dog or cat or horse back into alignment and balance.  Muscle strength and tone is important so everyone goes home with work to do – either extensive rehab work depending on the history (post surgery, disc problems, knee, wrist repetitive injuries, etc.), simple stretches or strengthening exercises or activities that can also be lots of fun for you and your pet.


Follow up visits are scheduled and questions answered if not already covered.  If a referral to another animal specialist is required that is discussed and coordinated with the veterinarian(s) involved.

This is by no means a complete explanation of what happens on day 1.  Contact your certified animal chiropractor (D.C. or DVM) and set up an appointment today to have your pet evaluated.  From athletes to our older animals, chiropractic care is useful and helpful for all.

As my friend Dr. Jackie says, as she sees her dog patients go to the Westminster show or the national agility competitions… “on her (his) way to the show and in alignment”.

To find a certified animal chiropractor in your area visit or ask your local veterinarian or chiropractor who is certified in your area.  I am happy to answer emails as well.


Me and Remy on PEMF

Years ago when I injured my knee, (ACL and medial meniscus), surgery was not a good option. So I endured the pain of arthritis settling in, discomfort whenever I walked, and limitations on doing many things I loved doing. Then along came PEMF! (Pulsed Electro Magnetic Force)

I borrowed a PEMF machine, and after using it daily for two weeks, my knee pain was dramatically reduced. I could exercise enough to rehab my knee without surgery. Since then, I have used this excellent therapy on many people, and, through my affiliation with several veterinary offices, am now using it with animals – mostly dogs, some horses, and some cats.


PEMF is a small electric current targeting a specific area (i.e. spine, knee, neck, elbow) which induces biochemical changes that promote healing. It reduces inflammation, increases wound healing, and controls pain (including degenerative arthritis, etc.). It would be used in conditions that your veterinarian would use anti-inflammatory and pain meds. Easy to use, it is painless, and can be done at home with portable units. PEMF is non-invasive, non-pharmacological, and has no adverse effects. Visit for information on their targeted PEMF device. Their research is solid.

PEMF is used on top canine athletes to lessen their post-competition pain levels; on older animals that have difficulty getting up, climbing stairs, etc.; on post-surgical healing of ACL injuries; on rehab of operations and orthopedic injuries; on and on. Any time you might use anti-inflammatory or pain meds, consider asking your veterinarian about PEMF.

Remy2One day, Remy, a sweet, older Golden Retriever was brought to see me. He was having difficulty getting up after lying for a bit, wasn’t using stairs, and wasn’t getting into the car. He seemed a bit depressed, which was understandable, because he was limited in running and he is, after all, a Golden Retriever. Daily Cosequin and occasional Rimadyl were helping, but his quality of life was definitely suffering.

In addition to chiropractic treatment for Remy, I also recommended that the owners use PEMF at home. They did, and there was wonderful improvement! He now moves with greater ease, and has a dramatically improved quality of life. He still has some old dog problems, but Remy also has greatly increased movement and decreased pain. And his humans are joyful to see him doing so well.

Ask your veterinarian if PEMF could help your dog or cat.

Dr. John Faherty has been providing chiropractic care to humans since 1985, and animals since 1996. He is dedicated to helping individuals and their animals enjoy an improved quality of life as they age and recover from life’s injuries. He served for many years on the Board of Directors of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). He is affiliated with a growing number of veterinary offices in Asheville, Swannanoa, and Dillsboro. Dr. John can be reached at or 828-712-8017.

Cats Rock

Cats are such interesting creatures. They have that independent streak and are cuddly when they wish to be. The feeling of a cat lying in the crook of my arm while taking a nap is such a relaxing feeling.

Cats are hunters. They are sleek, toned, alert, and agile. When something moves they notice. They can jump on high surfaces and are so light on their feet that it seems effortless. They have no clavicles (collar bone) so they are able to squeeze through spaces much smaller than you would think. Their whiskers are highly sensitive to help them locate where they are in space. They love to groom themselves and can be picky about much in their environment..

As an animal chiropractor I see some cats, but noticeably less than dogs. Cats stretch and stay limber. Their hind legs are longer in proportion to the length of their spines so jumping and pouncing are very efficient for them. When someone calls about a cat, it is likely an accident of some sort (cat hit by closing door, etc.) or an older cat. As with any quadriped, as time marches on the joints of the spine, knees, elbows, etc. all get stiff with small or large amounts of arthritic changes. Movement helps these stiff areas but sometimes is painful. When chiropractors adjust a facet joint (what we call the joints in the vertebral column), a neurological signal is sent into the spinal cord, which communicates with other nerves which inhibits or lessens the nerves that carry pain. So adjustments help allow more motion while decreasing pain. In addition, adjustments increase the range of motion of the joint involved and lessen the resistance to motion. When the nerves are free from pressure (misalignments, adhesions, tight, short, or weak muscles) the nervous system works more efficiently.

If you have any questions about your cat ask your veterinarian or send me an email.

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