Spinal misalignment in dogs can result in abnormal nerve function, which can manifest itself via poor or decreased athletic performance, behavioural problems, gait problems or lameness.
Such problems may go undiagnosed or not be corrected by more traditional treatments, but may respond favorably to chiropractic care.
Symptoms of possible problems that may require chiropractic therapy include:
- Uneasy/abnormal posture while standing
- Unexplained deterioration in performance
- Uneven muscle tone
- Reluctance to jump, measuring or refusing
- Discomfort when grooming
- Sore areas along the back and spine
- Unusual sensitivity to touch
- Uncharacteristic behavior patterns or changes of temperament
- Un levelness or unevenness of steps
- Lameness after injury when causes have been ruled out by a vet
Spinal misalignment in dogs may occur as a result of a wide variety of reasons, such as:
- Trauma from accidents, falls, stumbles and slips
- Boisterous games with other dogs
- Slips or “wrecks” when jumping or using agility equipment
- Repetitive asymmetry in action (caused by actions such as getting in and out of a car or jumping up and down on furniture)
- Jerks and yanks on the lead or collar
Chiropractic treatment is concerned with the musculo-skeletal system and in particular the spine and its relationship with the nervous system. A Chiropractor’s expertise lies in first evaluating the health and biomechanical function of the dog’s spine, then in manipulating the spine and joints of the body to realign the skeletal frame and relieve any associated nerve irritation and muscle spasm.
The assessment stage of the treatment begins with a discussion of the dog’s health history and current symptoms. This is followed by palpation to discover any muscle spasm or soreness of joints in the spine or pelvis.
The dog’s spine consists of a collection of irregular bones known as vertebrae that fit together and work with one another to facilitate movement while protecting the spinal cord. The point at which bones meet is called a joint. When joints are taken to the extreme ranges of their movement, the muscles around the joint tighten to prevent further movement, thus providing protection from further injury. Such tightening is often resolved through normal movement but sometimes the muscles can go into spasm and restrict the normal range of movement.
If misalignments or subluxations in joints are detected, Dr Jill may determine that chiropractic treatment is appropriate. The treatment usually involves the use of hands to provide rapid and precise manipulations of the problem areas to correct any misalignments, relieve nerve irritation, reduce muscle spasm and increase range of motion.
Following treatment, and dependant upon the severity of the injury, restricted exercise such as lead walking for a few days may be recommended. Additional treatments may be required and Dr Jill recommends annual or bi-annual check ups to help maintain optimum health.
Many of us will seek chiropractic therapy once symptoms first appear. However, regular chiropractic care before problems develop is equally
important in maintaining optimal health.
As an analogy, just think how the tires on your car wear improperly if the wheels are misaligned . The same problems apply to your dog’s spine. Such wear and tear of the spine is called osteoarthritis. Research shows that spinal manipulation may slow progressive degenerative changes that occur as the dog ages. So in addition to a healthy diet and regular exercise, chiropractic therapy can reduce the advancement of osteoarthritis disorders.
Chiropractic therapy performed on a regular basis can also help to maintain the health of the delicate tissues of the spinal cord and nerve
roots, leading to a well-adjusted spine, which is important for the prevention of lameness.
Canine chiropractic makes great sense, as treatments help to thwart impending musculo-skeletal ailments, slow the degenerative processes
and improve health and well-being. Studies and clinical trials by mainstream medical researchers support the health benefits of spinal Manipulation and canine chiropractic care is becoming increasingly poplar.