The basis of chiropractic care is diagnosing and treating spinal subluxations. A spinal (or vertebral) subluxation is when mobility or range of motion in one or multiple joints is lost or reduced. The animal’s spinal column alone has over 100 separate joints. Each of these joints must function correctly for the entire body it to perform at maximum function. When one joint has reduced mobility there is compensation elsewhere, resulting in neurological impingement, inflammation, reduced healing, reduced blood flow, and many other possible symptoms. To return joints to normal motion, a chiropractic adjustment is performed. Chiropractic adjustments are specific low force, high velocity adjustments aimed to correct joint misalignments and to restore proper skeletal movement and muscle/nerve function. The movement within these joints is very small and therefore the adjustments by the chiropractor will be small but significant. Large animal chiropractic adjustments are aimed to adjust one joint at a time and not the entire animal. Once proper motion is restored, the body can heal and return to maximum function.
Why Chiropractic Care?
• The horse’s spinal column has over 100 separate joints. Each of these joints must function correctly for it to perform appropriately.
• The amount and direction of spinal movement is determined mostly by joint size and shape. The neck and tail are the most mobile regions of the horse’s spine. Limited back movement occurs in up and down motion, side to side motion, and rotation.
• When a horse loses its normal range of motion in one or more of these joints there must be compensation elsewhere. Compensation may result in an altered gait.
• To return the joints of the spine to normal motion, a chiropractor will perform an adjustment on the area of the spine affected.
What are chiropractic adjustments?
• Chiropractic adjustments are specific LOW FORCE, HIGH VELOCITY adjustments aimed to correct joint misalignments and to restore proper skeletal movement and muscle/nerve function.
• The movement within these joints is very small and therefore the adjustments by the chiropractor will be small but significant.
• Equine chiropractic adjustments are aimed to adjust one joint at a time and not the entire animal.
Your horse may benefit from Chiropractic care if he or she exhibits one or more of the following problems.
• Injuries from falls, training or other activities
• Muscle imbalance, spasms, or atrophy
• Short striding, uneven strides, toe dragging, stumbling, forging, and uneven shoe wear.
• Head carriage or fighting the bit
• Diagnosed conditions, such as degenerative arthritis.
• Stressful situations, such as poor conformation of the horse, various riding and training equipment, performance level and ability of the horse, shoeing.
• Behavioral changes
How long will my horse require chiropractic care?
• Chiropractic care takes time, since we are allowing the body to heal itself after the proper nerve functioning has been restored.
• Animals recover very rapidly as a rule, but older animals and more serious problems take more time.
• Some problems are so serious that chiropractic will not completely solve the problem. Sometimes referrals for laboratory analysis or radiographs may be necessary. This is the case when problems such as fractures may be present
• The length of time that the problem has been present. The more time that has elapsed since the onset means that the recovery may take longer. It takes time to get sick and it takes time to get well.
• Age and physical condition of the animal. Older animals are slower to heal. It is not possible to return a 24 year-old mare to a youngster, but the quality of her life may greatly increase with chiropractic care.
• Damage. Sometimes there is simply no repair for severely damaged tissues. For example, if the spinal cord is damaged by a ruptured disc, there may be slow and minimal healing with any treatment.
• Cooperation. The speed of recovery often depends on how well the owner will cooperate with the animal chiropractor who is treating his animal. If the animal is removed from care too soon, the best possible results may not be achieved.
Equine Chiropractic Care
Equine chiropractic care is an alternative, drugless method of health care. Humans have enjoyed the benefits of chiropractic care for more than 100 years. Many people see their chiropractor for more than just back pain. People visit their chiropractor for more energy, for improved sports performance, for better resistance to disease, and to help insure drug-free lives for themselves and their families. This is known as wellness care.
Equine chiropractic care deals with the nervous system and the two most important parts are housed within the skull and spinal column. The spinal cord carries the nerves that are distributed to every organ and tis-sue of the body. These nerves exit the spinal column between the bones of the spine called vertebrae. The science of chiropractic care has discovered throughout the last one hundred years that a misalignment of joints (subluxation), especially the vertebrae, adversely alters nerve function from and around those areas. Altered nerve impulses leaving the spinal column can affect the function of organs and tissues supplied by that nerve. This altered function can lead to pain, disease, fatigue, muscle weakness, poor balance, immune suppression, etc. Equine chiropractic is the art, science and philosophy which uses the inherent recuperative powers of the body and deals with the relationship between the nervous system and the spinal column and its associated structures. Remember, the power that made the body, heals the body, it happens no other way.
Keep in mind, chiropractic does not replace traditional veterinary medicine but works very well with it. When a joint is subluxated it loses motion and sometimes position as well. The chiropractic adjustment is designed to restore correct alignment and full working order. A chiropractic adjustment is aimed at correcting the subluxation and restoring the proper functioning of the nervous system. Chiropractic thus works to eliminate the cause of the problem