What is a Dog Chiropractor?
A dog chiropractor is a chiropractic care professional who has trained to give spinal adjustments to dogs. Often, dogs develop painful conditions and lose their former agility as they grow older. Dog chiropractic is becoming more common because more veterinarians are undergoing training and certification to administer holistic treatment to their canine patients. In fact, many of the same principles and general methods that a dog chiropractor uses are very similar to chiropractic care for humans. Primarily, dog chiropractors focus on treating vertebral misalignment through spinal manipulation. Dog chiropractors, much like human chiropractors, prefer natural treatment options over medications and surgery. Of course, pet owners who notice that something is wrong with their dog should first consult a veterinarian before trying dog chiropractic. For the most part, dog chiropractic is a complementary treatment and not a replacement for regular veterinary care.1
What to Expect During and After an Appointment
Just like a human patient’s first chiropractic visit, dogs require a thorough exam an assessment during their first appointment. The canine chiropractor will observe the dog’s movement, posture, body symmetry, and they may even take X-rays. Then, the chiropractor will perform gentle adjustments with either an activator tool or their hands. Both very young and very old dogs can benefit from regular treatment. Some patients show improvement after very few appointments, and treatment is usually complete when the dog has good mobility. After, the dog may be sleepy and a little sore from the adjustment in the same way that humans may experience some tiredness. For safety, dog owners should inform chiropractors about any injuries or conditions that the dog has sustained. Generally, dog chiropractic is safe, and other aspects of treatment may include massage, acupuncture, laser therapy, and rehabilitation.2
Credentials to Look For
Owners should look into potential dog chiropractors’ credentials. First, they must hold either a veterinarian degree or a human chiropractor degree. Second, they must train specifically in animal chiropractic for about two hundred hours in a program approved by the Animal Chiropractic Certification Commission. Generally, owners who receive a referral for a dog chiropractor from a licensed veterinarian can trust the recommended chiropractor. Both training requirements and the necessity for a vet referral vary state-by-state, so owners should consider their options with higher standards in mind.3
Conditions That a Dog Chiropractor Can Treat
There are many symptoms that a pet can display that indicate that they need extra care. Pets who have trouble climbing stairs, walk with a limp, drag their back legs, have weak front legs, have trouble standing or lying down, exhibit decreased mobility, are unable to jump, sit or stand in abnormal positions, have a hunched back, or display sensitivity to touch may benefit from chiropractic treatment. Older dogs display many symptoms, but the symptoms are not always age-related. Additionally, chiropractors can give older dogs relief from the effects of aging. First, owners should talk to a vet about the symptoms before seeking attention from a dog chiropractor. Commonly, dog chiropractors can treat subluxations, repetitive stress injuries, neck and back injuries, hip dysplasia, urinary incontinence, forelimb lameness, stiffness, and provide osteoarthritis relief and post-surgery recovery.4
Dog Chiropractor Near Me
There are a few ways that owners can find chiropractors for their pets. As previously mentioned, veterinary referral is one of the most reliable options. Owners can also visit the websites for the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association or the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association to search for local dog chiropractors. Specifically, good dog chiropractors are certified by the aforementioned associations which means that they have undergone postgraduate schooling and rigorous testing. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association was founded in 1989 and, in addition to allowing owners to search for locations of certified dog chiropractors, it also provides resources about animal chiropractic.5
What Does a Dog Chiropractor Cost?
Generally, dog chiropractor prices range between fifty and two hundred dollars per session. Of course, the price varies depending on geographical location as well as the dog’s age, condition, and behavior. The price is about the same as conventional physiotherapy, and some types of physiotherapy are even more expensive because they utilize specialized equipment.6 Additionally, some pet insurance companies cover multiple types of canine treatment. Specifically, owners should find out whether or not their insurance covers alternative treatments such as dog chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture. Of course, owners who do not have pet insurance can look into insurance providers who cover medical expenses.7
How to Become a Dog Chiropractor
As previously mentioned, it takes many hours of study and several exams to receive certification from the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Furthermore, the certification is only valid for three years. Then, the dog chiropractor must complete an additional thirty hours of continuing education every three years in order to maintain their certification status. Often, dog chiropractors work with veterinary facilities or mobile clinics. However, they can also work at zoos, racetracks, farms, animal hospitals, and other places where animal health is important.8
Chiropractic Care for Cats
Dogs are not the only animals who can be treated by chiropractic care. Pet chiropractors can also help felines maintain joint and spine strength through chiropractic adjustments. For the most part, cat chiropractic is very similar to dog chiropractic. The chiropractor will evaluate the animal and then perform gentle manipulation to bring the body back into alignment. Further, cats may also require additional physical therapy and exercises at home to complete the treatment plan. Typically, the first chiropractic visit will cost over a hundred dollars, and follow-up visits will cost around seventy-five dollars. Cat chiropractic is meant to treat chronic issues, such as arthritis and mobility problems. Owners should first consult a veterinarian before trying any new treatment options.9
Even horses can benefit from chiropractic care. In general, equine chiropractic is used to treat back or neck pain, stiffness, and altered gait. The chiropractor will look for issues in the muscles, skeleton and joints. Often, chiropractic care is treated as a final option even though it is usually most effective when it is applied during the early stages of the animal’s condition.10
1, 4, 7 https://www.caninejournal.com
2, 3, 5 https://www.petmd.com
You also may want to know more about animal massage.