More and more Canadian pet owners are turning to specialists to complement their pet’s veterinary care and improve their overall health and happiness.
One of the growing specialty fields is canine or dog chiropractic care.
To get the 411 on doggy chiropractic care, we asked doggy chiropractor Dr. Mark Fleet a few common questions.
Does canine chiropractic replace, or complement regular veterinary care?
Although canine chiropractic can be a complementary part of your animal’s health routine, it does not replace regular veterinary care.
What are the most common symptoms of dogs that require chiropractic care?
The types of things that are seen most commonly include:
- Symptoms of suspected or confirmed cases of herniated discs such as pain, weakness or neurological deficit in the limbs.
- Older arthritic dogs who have problems getting up, climbing stairs, or having their feet slip out from under them.
- Dogs with noticeable gait issues, such as limping or scraping or nails or uneven nail wear.
- Dogs who exhibit appetite changes, energy loss or show resistance to being touched or other signs of pain.
Are there particular dog breeds that are more prone to these symptoms?
Some breeds with elongated spines such as Daschunds, Basset Hounds, and Corgis may be more prone to spinal issues. Some dogs are predisposed to certain issues due to genetics. Larger dog breeds can have problems as they age due to their muscle and weigh density.
What can chiropractic care do for dogs? What is an average treatment timeline?
Chiropractic can help dogs that have some of the specific problems mentioned above. As well, regular chiropractic care can help improve and maintain the quality of life for dogs as they age. Treatment may be more intense at the beginning when dealing with a specific problem and may involve more frequent visits: possibly once or twice a week. As progress occurs the schedule is adjusted accordingly and visit frequency may change. Many owners choose to bring their dogs for preventive care after symptoms of the primary problem are resolved.
What can dog owners do to help prevent back, neck, and leg pain and other issues related to chiropractic care?
Proper diet and exercise are very important. Weight gain is probably the most easily controllable issue for a dog owner. However, owners also have to have realistic expectations that their dog’s metabolism and exercise needs will change as they get older and make accommodations for this. As well, owners need to be aware of other things that may occur as dogs age, such as the possibility that their dog may not be able to jump up into the owner’s bed or climb stairs and may need to be confined to the main floor.
What do I do if I think my pet might benefit from chiropractic medicine?
The first thing to do is to talk to your veterinarian. If he or she does not provide these services, then they can refer you to a chiropractor whom they feel can safely work on your pet. When applied to a pet, chiropractic medicine is considered part of veterinary medicine and, as such, must be provided by a veterinarian or under the supervision of a veterinarian.
Did you know that Pets Plus Us’ Accident and Illness Coverage for Dogs includes chiropractic care under “alternative therapy”?