Many people who have benefited from the work of a chiropractor wonder if chiropractors work on animals as well. The simple answer is that yes, they do, and animal chiropractors can be found to work on animals ranging in size from giant draft horses to small cats and dogs. Often, chiropractors work on animals in addition to offering other alternative veterinary medicine choices such as acupuncture and Chinese herbs. These special chiropractors can be found all over the world, and if you are having difficulty finding one you can get in touch with a veterinary chiropractic association to get a referral.
Chiropractors work on animals for much the same reasons that they work on humans. An animal chiropractor uses special skills to perform adjustments designed to help the animal move and live more comfortably. In the cases of animals like horses, these adjustments can require considerable strength: for small animals, the chiropractor must err on the side of caution so that no injury is caused. In all cases, chiropractors work on animals only after receiving extensive anatomical training, and for this reason animal chiropractors usually choose a specialty such as horses, cats, or marine mammals to focus on.
In most countries including the United States, any type of medical work on animals must be performed by a veterinarian or under veterinary supervision. For this reason, reputable chiropractors either work under a veterinarian or have degrees in veterinary medicine. If you are seeking out chiropractic care for your animals, it is best to work with your veterinarian to find a practitioner, because an inexperienced or improperly trained chiropractor can seriously hurt your animals. Always inquire about the certifications of a chiropractor to ensure safety and well being.
Chiropractors work on animals in sessions which are much shorter than humans, because of the shorter attention span on the part of the animals. Some animals such as horses will tolerate much longer sessions of chiropractic work, especially if it is combined with massage therapy. Other animals like exotic species can only be handled for brief periods of time. When working with a good animal chiropractor, your animal will be carefully examined first, to determine overall health and movement patterns. Sometimes the entire first session may consist of an examination, and the chiropractor will reserve actual adjustments for a second session.
Much like with humans, chiropractors work on animals in a series of sessions, designed to strengthen the body and improve comfort, posture, and muscular health. Depending on needs and physical activity levels, chiropractors work on animals in intervals ranging from one a week to once every few weeks, with more sessions for animals living physically demanding lives. In the case of a specific injury, chiropractors work on animals for a set period of time until the injury is alleviated. For animals who just need routine work, the sessions may continue for the life time of the animal, just like with people.