I am frequently asked about “when do you know if chiropractic is indicated in my pet’s situation?” Asking your veterinarian first is, of course, indicated and I find that unless that veterinarian is versed in chiropractic and/or has been a patient of chiropractic offices, they often are still learning which conditions are responsive to chiropractic. I am still learning some of these myself and I have been a chiropractor for over 25 years.
Chiropractic care is very successful with mechanical problems. By that I mean, sprains, strains, disc problems, shoulder and elbow problems, non pathological limping or lameness, neck problems. In other words, we are specialists in analyzing joints and there movement and have techniques to help normalize these areas through balancing the musculoskeletal and nervous system associated with those areas. Chiropractic dovetails very nicely with physical therapy, stretching, accupunture, Tellington Touch, and other neuromuscular therapies. Used in conjunction they are synergistic.
Watching your animal walk and perhaps run as well (called gait analysis) is important. After that, evaluating the joint movement in the areas in question for abnormal motion, pain, restrictions, heat, noises etc. You as a pet owner are extremely helpful when we talk about your pet and what is going on. As with people, the history of the condition is so very important. So look at your dog, cat, horse, llama, donkey etc. and draw a visual line down the center and observe the animal walking away from you, then toward you, then observe from both sides. Does your pet move the same on both sides of the visual line? Is there head bobbing, tail swishing, shoulder dropping? These are some of the things to look for.
Often, the conditions that your veterinarian uses anti-inflammatories and pain meds for might also be helped with chiropractic care.
So, the next time you are out with your pet and you notice some asymmetries of movement, limping etc. give it a day or two and if it is still present call for an evaluation.