Animal Chiropractic (Part 1)

Why use animal chiropractic for my dog or cat?


It was 1994 when I discovered the amazing benefits of chiropractic but it wasn’t through experiencing it for myself as many of my colleagues professed. It was through the recovery of my friends black lab Tasha who had been sideswiped by a car and left with multiple hip fractures. Her prognosis was poor with the clear understanding from the surgeon that she would never walk again without assistance. 

One year prior to Tasha’s accident I decided I would take my pre-med education and apply to chiropractic school. It was chiropractic’s straight forward idea of optimizing the body’s innate healing that caught my attention. 

I learned that through aligning and freeing the nerve supply at the spinal level I would improve a key system of the body - the nervous system. The nervous system is considered one of 11 systems of the body but the reality is, it is not separate from each of the others but rather integrates deeply. As in psychoneuroimmunology - the study of the relationship between the mind, nervous system and immune function.

With a clear passion for learning more and trusting that chiropractic would serve humanity I started my pre-chiropractic training through acquiring massage training and working as a chiropractic assistant. During my time working at my local chiropractor’s office is when Tasha ran out of my friend’s house and crossed a low traffic but rolling hill road. 

The driver hadn’t seen her as they crested over the hill and stopped too late. Tasha had been thrown several feet and was bleeding from her injuries by the time her owner found her. Amazingly she had no internal organ damage but she suffered fracture sites that split her pelvis in four parts. The surgeon was tentative to offer much hope but agreed to perform the surgery.


Healing


I can’t honestly remember how long it was before Tasha’s surgical sites were totally healed but it felt like months. There was a lot of wound cleaning, working to prevent infection and carrying her. All of her “walks” were either my friend or I carrying her and holding by a towel sling so she could do her business. After weeks had passed she exited the critical recovery phase and entered into a stable convalescent phase. 

Everything looked great and her veterinarian released her

Representational image of a chiropractic adjustment

from active observation. The only problem was she was unable to use her back legs. She would not put any weight on her feet or legs and it appeared she had serious sensory loss in her feet. This is when I suggested we take Tasha to see my chiropractor.

Most people in 1994 didn’t fully understand chiropractic and how it works nor were people using animal chiropractic regularly. I was feeling unsure if chiropractic could help Tasha. Would it make her feel more comfortable? Would she ever walk again? I would have been pleased with anything that would improve her life, even 10%. 

We carried Tasha into the chiropractor’s office and held her up while the doctor examined her spine and pelvis. She took her time to feel and motion the spinal joints and large pelvic joints. After reviewing the x-rays from the veterinarian my chiropractor decided it would be safe to adjust Tasha. She only did a few adjustments, then told us to put her down with all her feet on the floor. What happened next set the stage for a huge shift in my life.


The Adjustment


Adjusting the spine not only re-aligns joints, it also restores motion. Most importantly it restores nerve flow from the brain to the body. When Tasha was adjusted it was as if someone flipped a switch inside her. She immediately was able to put weight on her legs and hips. 

Albeit wobbly Tasha was able to stand for the first time since her accident! As the days went by she slowly began to stand more and within a short period of time she took her first steps. Tasha continued to walk more, gain more muscle, and so on. 

One year later Tasha looked and functioned completely normal. Aside from the scar on her back one would never guess what had happened to her. We took Tasha a couple more times for her chiropractic adjustments. Although, it has been more than 25 years since Tasha had her chiropractic miracle, the event left an indelible impression on why I offer animal chiropractic. I will remember her for her strength and the gift of seeing the amazing results of chiropractic care for animals and people.

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Integrative Veterinarian

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