Chiropractic Care

Following an initial consultation with Dr. Ilana, it may be determined that chiropractic care is an appropriate treatment for your pet as part of his/her custom treatment plan. Below we describe what it is, how it works and the many benefits of chiropractic treatments.

What is Chiropractic Care?

The term “chiropractic” refers to the practice of manipulating the spine and joints to ease discomfort and correct imbalances caused by restricted or limited movement. Inhibited biomechanics (the workings of body movement) can create pain and loss of range of motion, leading to both short and long term health problems.

Chiropractors look at the role of the spine in normal body movement as it relates to the nervous system and various other body systems. Veterinary spinal manipulation therapy is performed to inhibit the advancement of disease and restore health. The purpose of chiropractic care for your pet is to re-establish clear pathways of communication from the nervous system, thereby allowing the body to function at its optimum level.

A chiropractic adjustment may consist of a lighter touch such as soft tissue manipulation, as well as deeper force manipulations of the spine and extremities. Also muscle work, stretching, gait analysis, and exercise/lifestyle modification recommendations are made depending on the specific needs of your pet. Results of chiropractic adjustments can include increased energy, balanced gait, increased coordination, and an overall higher quality of life. Many owners find that with consistent adjustments their pets find relief from pain and chronic dysfunctions.

Even when your pet is not in pain, regular wellness visits are just as important, since pain is often the final signal our bodies give when there is a very serious underlying problem.

A typical chiropractic appointment lasts from 45 to 60 minutes and most dogs and cats are able to receive chiropractic care regardless of their age, function, or pain level. In order to best diagnose and treat your pet, the chiropractor may recommend x-rays prior to beginning spinal adjustments.

Who practices chiropractic therapy and do I need a referral?

Chiropractors who work on animals must have specific training in both chiropractic theory and animal anatomy so that they are knowledgeable about the differences in biomechanics and neuromusculoskeletal function between humans and animals. In North America, there is a certification process to ensure that practitioners possess the appropriate knowledge and skill to treat animals.

At A Well Adjusted Pet, treatment is conducted by Dr. Ilana Strubel, who has successfully completed training in veterinary spinal manipulation therapy at a nationally accredited school and is a member of the College of Animal Chiropractors. While referrals from your primary veterinarian are welcomed, they are not necessary to begin treatment.
 We request that all clients complete our Pet Mobility Questionnaire prior to commencing a chiropractic treatment.

What conditions are most often treated?

Conditions that stem from body movement issues as well as neurologic (nerve) disease respond well to chiropractic treatment. This might include degenerative joint diseases such as hip dysplasia and spondylosis, neck instability or pain, and disk disease. Problems such as urinary and fecal incontinence, muscle weakness, and pain that is otherwise difficult to diagnose and treat conventionally also respond well to chiropractic treatments.

How can my pet benefit from chiropractic care?

Chiropractic is one of the few procedures in veterinary medicine where results are often immediate, and can be seen within minutes of treatment. In general, improvements are defined as a more balanced gait and a noticeable reduction in pain. In orthopedic conditions such as fractures or ligament tears, chiropractic care may not replace the need for surgery, but will be useful in correcting secondary problems caused by compensation or overcompensation to the injury.

How successful is chiropractic therapy?

Chiropractors see the patient as a functional whole, rather than the sum of its parts. Ensuring normal range of motion of the spine and neck helps optimize function of the lymphatic system, blood vessels and nerves, which communicate between the spine and various body structures. This allows the body to function optimally to the point that further treatment may not be required. Applied correctly, chiropractic adjustments can alleviate or eliminate the need for long term drug therapies. The success of treatment depends upon both the severity and duration of the condition.

Can chiropractic therapy be combined with other types of veterinary medicine?

Chiropractic therapy is often combined with other forms of traditional and alternative veterinary medicine. There appears to be a particularly strong synergy between acupuncture and chiropractic. When multiple types of treatments are used, it may be difficult to determine the effectiveness of a chiropractic treatment, unless the different treatments are performed at alternate times. Veterinary chiropractors have the knowledge and skill to understand the interactions between different forms of treatment and are able to accurately interpret the patient’s response to therapy. Your veterinary chiropractor may also recommend a home exercise program (HEP), or physical or swim therapy to be done at a referral facility.

Featured Article by Ilana Strubel, DVM on Oct. 1, 2015: Chiropractic care for animals: It’s not magic—it’s neurology


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