When part of the body is not moving normally scar tissue and inflammation can develop, further reducing movement and resulting in pain. Veterinary chiropractic uses gentle palpation of the joints to identify areas of reduced motion, also referred to as restrictions. These restrictions can be due to scar tissue forming between joints (adhesions), trapped joint membranes (synovial folds), or mild subluxations. A chiropractor uses a high velocity/low amplitude thrust at a specific angle over a specific joint to break down adhesions, free the trapped joint membranes or help to return the joints to their most functional angle. This returns the joint to normal range of motion that is no longer painful to the animal.
When an animal is in pain we know scientifically this can affect their immune system. Pain results in the release of stress hormones (cortisol) that can suppress immune system function. By returning a joint to full range of motion, thus decreasing pain, we can alleviate suppression of the immune system. This is how chiropractic can keep your overall body healthy and decrease susceptibility to illness.
How often an adjustment should be performed depends on what is causing the restriction and the subsequent pain. Sometimes multiple adjustments over a period of weeks are needed to return a joint to full range of motion if the issue has been present for over weeks/months/years. Sometimes an owner can see obvious improvement with the animal’s discomfort after one treatment. We believe in preventative medicine and recommend an animal having a chiropractic adjustment every 4-6 weeks to prevent the development of adhesions, release any trapped joint tissue, maintain full joint range of motion and help the immune system to continue to work at its fullest to prevent illness.
Signs that your horse could benefit from chiropractic:
- Pain or tenderness along withers or back
- Pain/tenderness or bucking/rearing when being saddled
- Behavioral changes
- Difficulty flexing at poll
- Poor collection from hind end
- Favoring one direction
- Asymmetric in gait at walk, trot, or lunge line
- Asymmetry of muscle development
- Refusing jumps
- Change in behavior with normal tasks: picking up hooves, trailering, saddling, etc.
Veterinary Chiropractic treatment is not meant to replace conventional veterinary medicine. During the examination of your horse, Dr. Kelley will give recommendations regarding any diagnostics or treatments that may be needed from your regular equine veterinarian before performing a chiropractic adjustment.