Animal chiropractic is a growing field: there are horse chiropractors and canine chiropractic practices.
Chiropractic care is “done by hand”, and this “manual medicine” is meant to restore proper functioning to the joints, muscles, and nerves. Animals can benefit from chiropractic care, much as people do. An animal chiropractor evaluates the movement of the animal and watches to see how the horse or dog, for example, moves to protect their damaged joints. The adjustment may consist of a “quick manual thrust”. In addition, owners learn about rehabilitation and stretching exercises so that they can take care of the animal between visits.1
A horse chiropractor, also known as an equine chiropractor, treats many medical issues that horses experience. Some of the conditions treated, often “in concert with (a) veterinarian” include “asymmetrical back soreness”, pain in the tail, leg, back, and neck, muscle spasms, nerve problems, injuries, difficulties with trotting, jumping, and running, short stepping, difficulties with agility, hyperactivity, jaw problems, lameness, digestive problems, and many more.2
A dog chiropractor (canine chiropractor) treats these animals for a variety of conditions similar to those found in horses, including injuries, nerve and muscle problems, back, tail, leg, and neck pain, asymmetrical stiffness, hyperactivity, jaw problems, hip dysplasia, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and others. As with the equine chiropractor, a chiropractor for dogs often works with veterinarians.3
Training and Organizations
The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) provides certification for veterinary chiropractors. They also set “stringent standards for education and testing”. Certification lasts three years and requires the completion of “30 hours of approved animal chiropractic CE to maintain AVCA Certification”. The AVCA also supports research and maintains a list of Certified Doctors.4 There are animal chiropractic colleges available, such as Options for Animals, which offers an Essentials Program as well as Advanced Courses. Some of the training is provided in an accelerated manner over the course of five weeks.5 Another organization that veterinary chiropractors can join is the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA).6 Like the AVCA, the IVCA establishes educational standards, offers certification examinations, and has professional codes of conduct. In addition, they maintain a list of certified animal chiropractors.7 Members must be registered veterinarians or chiropractors who have completed the necessary educational courses and exam, and they must “agree to complete the IVCA CPD requirements” and “adhere to the IVCA code of conduct”.8
Learn more about chiropractic for animals.