What is Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care focuses on the movement of the spine and extremities, and the effects of this movement on the nervous system and the entire body. The goal of chiropractic treatment is to remove restrictions on this movement, re-establish correct spinal movement patterns, and thus optimize nervous system function.
For You and Your K9
Canine chiropractic treatment does not replace traditional veterinary medicine. However, it can provide additional means of diagnosis and treatment for spinal problems, as well as biomechanical and related musculoskeletal disorders. Chiropractic is also an effective treatment for acute or chronic pain syndromes.
Starting with Anatomy
To fully understand how chiropractic works, let’s start with the basics of canine anatomy. First, a dog’s spine is a complex structure made of bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons and nerves. It has various functions in the body, including a framework of support, attachment for muscles, protection of the spinal cord, and protection of internal organs. The spine consists of bones, referred to as vertebrae. In a dog, there are 7 cervical vertebrae, 13 thoracic vertebrae (which connect with the ribs), 7 lumbar vertebrae, 3 sacral vertebrae, and up to 18 coccygeal vertebrae. Where one vertebrae connects to another is called a joint, and there are approximately 200 joints in the dogs spine. Muscles attach to the vertebrae and allow the spine to move. The back and neck as a whole are very flexible. If flexibility is lost, a dog cannot walk, run or jump, and it creates additional wear & tear on the joints and muscles.
Vertebral Subluxation Complex
The spinal cord runs through the vertebral canal that is in the center of each vertebrae. Nerves branch off of the spinal cord and exit the vertebrae to connect to other parts of the body, such as muscles, organs and connective tissue. Nerves transfer information on these “nerve highways” to other parts of the body and allow proper function. When there is restricted motion in the spine, there is a block or “traffic jam” on the nerve highway, resulting in poor coordination, muscle imbalance, and strain on organs and other tissues. This process is called a vertebral subluxation complex. These subluxations in the spine can also lead to stiffness, muscle tension, pain, and altered walking, running, and jumping patterns.
Common causes of vertebral subluxations complexes include trauma, such as trips, falls, slips or major accidents, long travel times in the car, jumping up and down from the car or couch, difficult births where puppies are forcibly extracted, lack of space for the dog to move and stretch, long nails that can change the action and formation of the toes, increased age, the type of collar or harness used on the dog, what types of sport they participate in, what their day to day “job” or activity is, even aggressive play at a dog park or boarding facility.
Common symptoms of a vertebral subluxation complex include abnormal head posture such as lowered head carriage, inability or hesitation to jump in and out of a car or a couch, reluctance to climb stairs, signs of pain when being lifted, stiffness when dog first gets up, stiffness after exercise, sensitivity to touch, ambling of slow gait, worn down nails on one or more pads, altered sitting position “puppy sitting”, lick granulomas on legs or paws, dog only lies on one side, recurrent digestive trouble, dripping urine or inability to hold feces, and recurrent ear or anal glad infections.
The treatment of a vertebral subluxation complex is with a precise chiropractic adjustment. When a chiropractor or veterinarian who is professionally trained in animal chiropractic identifies a subluxation, he or she aims to correct the lack of movement in the spine and remove the subluxation with a specific and precise adjustment to the involved joints. The adjustment is a quick, short thrust along the plane line of the joint that restores movement of the affected joint. A complete chiropractic treatment also includes the examination, and if necessary treatment, of the limb joints and the jaw.
Ultimate Goal: Enhancing Your Dogs Life
So if you have a four-legged friend who isn’t moving quite right or has perhaps slowed down, call Contour Chiropractic, where Dr. Ann Lauzon and Dr. Kendra Miller are professionally trained animal chiropractors and look forward to enhancing the life of your loved ones.