A Vet Discusses Benefits of Equine Chiropractic Careby Brooke Johnson, DVM and IVCA certified Animal Chiropractor Healthy horses are happy horses. Keeping a horse healthy involves balancing feed, mental stimulation, daily exercise, and preventative veterinary medicine. One segment of veterinary medicine that deserves a place in wellness horse care is chiropractic. Many people already use chiropractic for horses that are sick or injured and see great results. Chiropractic actually shines the best when used for wellness care. This article will discuss chiropractic care for the healthy horse.
Before discussing chiropractic care for the healthy horse, it’s useful to define what we mean by “health.” Five important health parameters to evaluate are: diet, exercise, rest, positive mental attitude and innate healing. Innate healing is the body’s internal drive to maintain health and appropriately deal with any potential health problem. Chiropractic fits into the innate category; it helps the body function more efficiently and preserve a state of health.
Chiropractic is a holistic health care system widely used in human medicine and growing quickly within the veterinary field. The word “chiropractic” is a combination of the Greek words for “hand” (cheiros) and “done by” (praktikos), thus meaning “done by hand.” The science and philosophy of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between spinal biomechanics and the nervous system. Restoring spinal motion will optimize nervous system function. Since the nervous system is critical for all body functions, a restriction to spinal movement will adversely affect coordination of movement and overall health.
During a chiropractic evaluation, joints of the body are carefully palpated. Joints not moving appropriately and exhibiting a reduced range of motion are adjusted. An adjustment is a short, controlled, high speed, low amplitude thrust through a joint. Simply put, an adjustment makes a stuck joint become unstuck.
Goals of chiropractic care in well horses are to elevate their quality of life by identifying biomechanical problem areas before they become clinically obvious diseases, raise the level of athleticism for sport horses, and fortify the innate healing of the body to better deal with stresses of daily living. A decreased range of motion within a joint can often be detected by an animal chiropractor when the horse has no clinically visible problem. Many injuries relate to prolonged microtrauma caused by slight repetitive musculoskeletal imbalances generated during daily living. Examples of microtrauma are carpal tunnel syndrome and caudal heel pain syndrome. If an early problem can be corrected by an adjustment, a future major injury may be avoided.
Horses in training and performance athletes put a lot of stress on their bodies. Chiropractic encourages the body to work as efficiently as possible. Increased efficiency allows for increased athleticism and progressive improvement in strength, speed, flexibility and stamina. When biomechanical inefficiencies occur, the body will compensate by recruiting other muscles and tissues to complete the desired movement. Tissues asked to perform a movement they were not designed to do is not only more inefficient, but puts those tissues at higher risk for injury and inflammation.
Wellness chiropractic care treatment schedules will vary depending on the individual animal and its current health and training demands. The animal chiropractor may suggest monthly adjustments, or just a few per year. Choosing a qualified animal chiropractor is important. Veterinarians or chiropractors that have taken extensive animal chiropractic post-graduate training are eligible to be members of the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA) or American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). Using a doctor certified by one of these organizations will ensure your animal is getting the very best treatment.
Chiropractic care has the biggest reward to health when it is used proactively. If injuries are addressed when they are still in a subclinical state, which chiropractic can achieve, the horse and owner have maximally benefited from wellness and preventative care. When one hundred percent of the body works at one hundred percent capacity, one hundred percent of the time, wellness care has achieved the ultimate goal. Healthy horses are willing to listen and learn, and are able to use their bodies correctly during work asked of them. Healthy horses are happy horses.
Notify me of follow-up comments
More equine events»
Keep up to date. When we publish you get updated!
From My Saddle Blog- Popular!Northwest Horse News Horse Health
• Educational articles• Expert answers• News• Events• and more!
Current issue »
Northwest Horse Source offers information on the following topics: Idaho horse, Idaho horse shows, Idaho trail rides, Idaho horse events, Idaho horse news, Washington horse, Washington horse shows, Washington trail rides, Washington horse events, Washington horse news, Northern California horse, Northern California horse show, Northern California trail rides, Northern California horse events, Northern California horse news, Oregon horse, Oregon horse shows, Oregon trail rides, Oregon horse events and Oregon horse news.
Address: PO Box 717, Blaine, WA 98231Phone: 360-332-5579 • Fax: 360-332-1826 • Email: