To go or not to go: Constipation in Pets

Constipation and Chiropractic – What’s the Connection?


constipated                Have you ever noticed your pet straining to do their business, and yet nothing comes out? Constipation isn’t a condition that only affects humans, unfortunately. It can hinder our fur family as well. The good news? Chiropractic care helps many animals afflicted with this condition – especially those that don’t have success with traditional treatments. Why is this you ask? First, we must understand the causes of constipation. Then, we can discuss what animal chiropractic is and how it can help our pets.

What are the causes of constipation?

                  There are numerous causes of constipation. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • Swallowing a foreign object like a rock, etc.
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Infected anal glands
  • Stress
  • Neuromuscular disorders involving injury to the nerves that supply the muscles of the colon

The last reason listed is of particular interest to animal chiropractors. To understand why, we must first understand what animal chiropractic care is.

What is animal chiropractic?

Animal chiropractors are vets or chiropractors who pursue post-graduate education in animal care and are board certified. They are trained to evaluate the spine and look for biomechanical abnormalities, often referred to as structural shifts. When they find these, they use very gentle corrections to return them to their normal position. Why is this a big deal? Structural shifts cause an inflammatory response that can affect the spinal cord and nerves throughout the spine.

How can animal chiropractic help our constipated friends?

Unfortunately, these spinal abnormalities can disturb the nerves that run to and from the intestine. This can impair the message between the control centers that initiate defecation and the muscles responsible for pushing. It’s like trying to watch satellite TV on a day when there’s a massive thunderstorm. The image is fuzzy because the message from the satellite cannot get through the obstruction of the storm.

The main nerves responsible for using the restroom come from the rear end area around the hips.   This area is also under a lot of stress as a result of the crazy things our pets do. Even something as simple as jumping onto a couch may affect the spine in the rear end. If this occurs, it can cause inflammation of the nerves running to the colon. Animal chiropractors are trained to detect these minor misalignments and gently correct them. This will result in a normal alignment that reduces the inflammation in the area affecting all the nerves. If there is a neurological component to your pet’s constipation, chiropractic can help them out!

To sum everything up, constipation is a condition that affects all species. There are many different reasons it may occur. However, subtle problems with the nerves as a result of biomechanical issues in the spine are hard to detect and may result in constipation. This is where animal chiropractors can help, and make your pet regular again!


Luxating Patella and Conservative Treatment Options

Luxating Patella – What’s the Cause and How to Treat Conservatively


Luxating patella is a common orthopedic condition in a small animal practice, but what causes it? There are a few theories out there, but many cases appear related to genetics, trauma, or developmental issues. Don’t stress if your pet suffers from it, though. There are conservative options out there to help those afflicted. However, we need to first understand who struggles with the condition and why. Then, we can discuss natural treatments.

luxatingpatellaWhat breeds suffer from luxating patella and why?

As mentioned previously, many cases appear to be inherited – or related to genetics in some capacity. This evidence is so strong that some sources state dogs diagnosed with patellar luxation should not be bred. However, there are a couple of other possible factors that may contribute to the disease as well. For one, trauma may injure the knee leading to a misalignment of the patella. Another potential cause is developmental in nature. Developmental luxating patella may be a result of complex skeletal abnormalities affecting the entire limb, including:

  • Abnormal hip joints
  • Abnormal femur head conformation
  • Abnormal tibia conformation
  • Tightness or atrophy of the quadriceps muscle
  • A long patellar ligament

As you can see, there are many biomechanical issues that may be a factor in the progression of the disease.

Who suffers the most from luxating patella then? The condition appears to affect primarily small breeds including Boston terriers, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, miniature Poodles, and many more. However, the disease continues to rise in large breeds. Akitas, Great Pyrenees, Flat-Coated retrievers, and the Chinese Shar Pei are now considered predisposed to the disorder. While it is progressively becoming a disease of all breeds, it still predominantly affects the little ones.

luxatingpatella2Conservative chiropractic care to treat luxating patella

As mentioned previously, many cases are genetic, developmental, or a combination of both. This means an animal is either born with poor structure, or progressively develops it. Since this is the case, a potential solution should involve a profession that works with the structure of an animal conservatively. This is where animal chiropractors come into play, particularly those that focus on structural correction.

Animal chiropractors perform examinations where they assess the quality of motion in the spine and limbs looking for biomechanical issues. When they find any abnormalities, such as a structural shift, they utilize a gentle adjustment to correct it. When this is done it helps the joint move the way it was intended to. This can alleviate many genetic or developmental components that contribute to a luxating patella.

Think about it like this, if the foundation of your house was off would you expect walls to crack and floor boards to pop up? I imagine you would see many problems that develop secondary to a structural shift in the foundation of a house. What might you expect if the foundation of your animal is off? There would be the potential for many secondary conditions such as luxating patella.

To sum things up, luxating patella is a relatively common disease in dogs. It predominantly affects small breeds, but is growing in larger breeds. Most causes appear to be genetic, but there are other factors such as trauma and developmental considerations. The causes all appear related to structure and many cases are suitable for conservative treatment such as chiropractic care. Interested in learning more? Contact a certified animal chiropractor near you today!

Laser Therapy For Your Pet

Laser Therapy

As technology advances, we continue to develop new treatments to treat a wide variety of conditions. One of the new medical technological breakthroughs utilizes lasers. Don’t worry, these aren’t like the lasers you may have seen strapped to a shark’s head in the movie Austin Powers. Rather, it is a small device that can be used to help your pet recover from many conditions. The question is, is it right for your pet? First, we need to understand what laser therapy is, what conditions it may help, and what a patient can expect.

What is laser therapy?
laserA laser is essentially a unique form of light that does not diverge like the normal light we experience. Instead, it concentrates its energy onto a specific area. Because of this, we can use this technology and apply it toward treating many conditions. Laser can penetrate deep into tissue without damaging it. The energy emitted can be absorbed by mitochondria in the cells of the body. Mitochondria are known as the powerhouse of the cell because they produce an energy source for the body called ATP. Injured tissue does not produce the optimal amount of ATP, so laser therapy can stimulate an increase that helps the body heal.

What conditions might laser therapy help?
Laser therapy can help many conditions. After all, it works at the cellular level to create energy for the body. However, a few major conditions it helps includes:
• Muscle, ligament, or tendon injuries
• Post-surgical scarring
• Arthritis
• Hip dysplasia
• Disc disease
• Ear infections
These are all conditions that can be difficult to treat conventionally. We now have a tool to help traditional treatments.

What can a patient expect?
Inevitably, people always want to know if the treatment will hurt their pet. The answer is no. The treatment is painless, and to your dog it may feel like a soothing, warm sensation. In addition, there doesn’t appear to be any known side effects. Finally, treatments don’t take too long. The length depends on the area, but typically, they are 5-10 minutes. The total number of sessions required will vary depend on the condition as well.

To sum things up, laser appears to be a relatively new therapy for pets. While lasers have been around a while, we are just now applying the technology to medicine. It can help a wide variety of conditions, and sessions aren’t particularly long either. Do you have a pet that hasn’t recovered as well as you would have liked? Maybe it is time to talk to your vet!

Why Puppy Sitting is only Acceptable in Puppies!

Is puppy sitting a bad thing? Well for starters YOU should NEVER sit on a puppy. But that’s not what we’re talking about! No we are talking about the way your little pooch pie sits!

puppy sitting

Is there anything more adorable than a puppy? Sure, they may eat your shoes and stain your carpet yellow – but they are still cute. Even the way they sit captivates you and your friends. However, puppy sitting (also known as sloppy sitting or the lazy sit) can indicate a problem for dogs after one- two years of age. Why is this? Find out below.

Normal sitting vs puppy sitting

Dogs after the first two years should sit up straight with their body directly over their hips. This is considered normal sitting. If a dog is sitting with their hind legs sideways, rather than under the hips, it is considered puppy sitting or sloppy sitting. This isn’t as big of a problem when dogs are young because their ligaments are very lax. However, older dogs should be more stable and sitting this way can indicate numerous problems.

What problems might be related?

There are numerous potential conditions that may be related to abnormal sitting posture. They are:

  • Hip problems – This includes potential items such as hip dysplasia, hip arthritis, or anything else that causes an inflammatory response in the joint.
  • Knee pain – This could be the result of something as serious as a torn cruciate ligament or something more chronic in nature as a luxating patella.
  • Back pain – Back pain may be the result of altered biomechanics, which would affect the joints involved in sitting.

Problems with the anal glands and other inflammatory issues related to the hind end may also contribute.

Buddies Pet Canine Pugs Sitting Dog Bench

What can we do?

If the issue is biomechanical, such as hip, knee, or back issues than a good treatment option includes animal chiropractic. The goal of chiropractic care is to restore normal alignment to abnormal joints using very gentle, specific corrections known as adjustments. These adjustments will help restore normal motion and help your pet sit comfortably. There are other potential causes though, and it may be worth a visit to your primary care vet.


Developing puppies need a healthy diet for their joints to develop appropriately, no different than a human.  There are many options including popular kibble brands such as Fromm, Zignature, Orijen, and more.  If you prefer a dehydrated raw food for your pup, Sojos is a fairly popular brand.  For those that like freeze-dried raw Nulo, Open Farm, Primal, and Stella & Chewy are popular among the holistic pet owners we speak with.

No matter what you feed, you want to avoid ingredients such as by products in the ingredient panel.  Also, it’s a good idea to make sure the first ingredient (the first ingredient listed on the information panel is the biggest component of the food) is a protein like chicken rather than corn, soy, etc.

When it comes to supplements, it may be worth considering a puppy multivitamin.  The glucosamine and other similar ingredients should help growing joints, and may be useful in breeds predisposed to dysplasia, etc.

So, is puppy sitting a bad thing? The answer to that is no – if your dog is still a puppy. However, abnormal sitting can indicate multiple other issues such as hip, knee, or back problems. There are options, however. Animal chiropractic via a certified veterinarian or chiropractor will help the biomechanical problems. A routine visit to your primary care vet can help rule out other issues. To sum things up, your puppy is cute but the way he sits isn’t after the first 2 years of development!

Looking for advice for products that may help your puppy as they age, visit our favorite products page or visit a reputable website like Chewy!


Fleas, Fleas, and more FLEAS!

Does Your Dog Have Fleas?


fleas                  Does your dog love being outside? When he hears the word “walk”, does he bounce around in pure joy? If so, there’s a chance your dog is making new friends during his outdoor adventures. These friends are tiny and annoying – and commonly referred to as fleas. Fleas can cause numerous problems for a dog. Therefore, it is important that we recognize signs of fleas and understand treatment options when our fur pets are affected.

What are the signs of fleas?

When there is a major infestation of fleas, signs are obvious. You can actually spot them moving on and off your pet’s body. When the infestation of fleas is smaller, the signs can be more subtle. You may notice your dog acting restless. For example, they may constantly scratch, lick, and chew more than normal in certain areas of the body. Another potential symptom is excessive shaking of the head or scratching of the ears. This scratching can progressively lead to hot spots and hair loss in areas where fleas are nesting.

What can you do?

                 The first step would be to give your dog a flea bath. Be careful to choose a shampoo carefully, some contain insecticides. Start shampooing at your dog’s neck and work throughout the entire body. Let the solution stand for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. Next, go through with a flea comb and remove any fleas present. Kill any flea you find as fast as you can. Finally, quarantine your infected pet. If you have other pets, you are going to want to keep them separated for the time being.

You will then want to treat your home. Begin by throwing all your pet’s bedding into the laundry. Next, you may want to consider an insect growth regulator spray. This product can get deep into the carpet to target any flea larvae that may be growing. Finally, be sure to vacuum thoroughly. A reasonable accessory to consider is a flea collar for your vacuum. This will make sure fleas die quickly upon being sucked up by your vacuum. Treating your home should help prevent another flea attack from occurring quickly.

Fleas are tiny, but present a large problem for dogs. They live outdoors where your pets love to play and strike when they get the chance. An infestation can lead to days filled with endless scratching and chewing – sometimes until hot spots form. If you see some of the telltale signs of fleas, be sure to check your pet’s body. If you do find some, a flea bath and combing can help resolve your pet’s problems. Afterwards, be sure to treat your house to prevent a relapse!


Reverse Sneezing in Dogs

Reverse Sneezing And Your Dog – What Is It?

reversesneezeReverse sneezing is a common respiratory event in dogs characterized by sudden, rapid, and repeated inhalations through the nose, followed by snorts and gagging. This can be a terrifying experience for dog owners. The good news? It doesn’t appear to be harmful for dogs without underlying conditions such as heart disease. In fact, many dogs are normal before and after a reverse sneezing attack. Why does this occur then?

What is the cause?

                  There are a few potential causes of a reverse sneeze. However, the most common appear to be the result of soft palate irritation. This can be caused by many factors including:

  • Excitement
  • Eating or drinking
  • Exercise
  • Irritation of the throat via a leash
  • Foreign bodies in the throat

These potential irritators lead to a narrowing of the airway making it temporarily difficult to breathe. As a result, a dog will try and remove the offending aggravator by rapidly breathing in an out – which may sound like choking. This is the body’s way of trying to clear the affected respiratory area.

reversesneezeHow to treat reverse sneezing?

Typically, a dog will not need any treatment. Most episodes end up resolving quickly on their own. However, there are a couple of treatment methods that can be used depending on the severity of the condition. To begin with, some believe an episode can be shortened by closing the dog’s nostrils with your hand and gently massaging the throat for a few seconds. It is possible this works by helping the dog relax and forcing them to breathe through their mouth. If the episode doesn’t resolve quickly, or is chronic, vets may recommend anti-histamines. This appears to be rarely necessary though.

Reverse sneezing is a scary condition the first time an owner experiences it. After all, it can sound a lot like choking. It is rarely an issue for dogs though. In fact, most dogs are completely normal after an episode. It typically doesn’t require anything more than time. However, if you are concerned about your pet’s health, certainly contact your veterinarian.


Youtube Link to example:

Vestibular Disease in Pets

Vestibular problems and dogs


The vestibular system has an important role in the body. It is responsible for balance and spatial orientation. When there are problems with this system, a dog may display many different signs. Some of these signs may be cute, like holding their head at a funny angle. However, this can be a clue that there is something wrong with the system that controls balance in the body. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, and treatments for vestibular disease.


What are the symptoms?

                  Since the vestibular system affects balance and spatial orientation, we should expect a lot of symptoms related to movement. These symptoms include:

  • Circling
  • Standing with a wide stance
  • Head tilting
  • Stumbling or staggering when moving
  • Head shaking
  • Vomiting
  • Motion sickness
  • And more

In addition to these symptoms, an owner may notice behavioral changes. For example, a dog may sleep on the floor rather than on a pillow or sofa. This is because the hard floor will help reduce the risk of being awakened by vestibular signals caused by subtle movements during sleep. If an owner notices one or more of these symptoms in a pet, there is a significant chance they may suffer from a vestibular condition.

vestibularWhat are the causes?

                  There are 2 types of vestibular disease – central and peripheral. The peripheral form is much more common. Some of its causes include ear infections, trauma to the head, stroke, tumors, hypothyroidism, and side effects to certain medications. In addition, elderly dogs may suffer from an idiopathic version of vestibular disease. This means that doctors are not certain of the actual cause. Central vestibular disease, the less common version, appears to be caused by infection, bleeding in the brain, loss of blood flow, and cancer.

What treatments are available?

When it comes to treating vestibular disease, the goal is to treat the underlying cause. For example, if an ear infection is causing the vestibular disturbance then doctors will treat the ear infection – typically with medication. Therefore, a trip to the veterinarian is an important step in managing these conditions. If they can identify the cause, the condition has a more favorable prognosis.

Fortunately, peripheral vestibular disease is the most common form. In most cases, it improves quickly when the underlying issue is addressed. If it is a central vestibular issue, the prognosis tends to not be as favorable. This is because it is likely that there is damage, particularly the brain stem.

To sum things up, our pets can suffer from vestibular issues just like us. Fortunately, if we can identify the underlying cause, then we can treat the disease. For example, if an ear infection is causing the vestibular disturbance, then treating the ear infection will typically bring about a quick recovery for our pets. One of the best ways to address ear infections and vestibular disease in animals is through visiting your certified animal chiropractor. Often times the root cause of these issues is structurally related. If there is misalignment in the cervical vertebrae this can put pressure on the brain stem and or the ear canals. Any tension on the spinal cord in the upper cervical region can lead to vestibular problems. Having your pet adjusted can help both prevent and or recover from vestibular syndrome! Feel free to contact us with more questions or concerns.



Luxating Patella: What you Knee’d to Know

Luxating Patella: What you KNEED to Know!


Your dog is running across the yard to fetch his favorite ball, but suddenly pulls up lame. Without warning, he begins to hop around on three legs. After a few minutes, he finally drops his injured leg back down and begins walking normally. Does this sound familiar? If so, your dog probably suffers from a condition known as luxating patella. It is a condition I see a lot in my practice. The question is, what is it, what breeds suffer the most from it, and how can we treat it?

What is luxating patella?

To explain luxating patella, we need to understand the anatomy of the knee. The knee is a joint where the thigh bone (femur) and shin bone (tibia) come together. In the middle of where these bones connect is a deep groove. This groove contains the knee cap. When the knee is working properly, the knee cap will slide up and down this groove like (insert analogy). Sometimes this groove isn’t as deep as it needs to be. When this occurs, like in luxating patella, the knee cap can slide out. When the knee cap slides out, a dog will experience pain and will appear injured until the knee cap makes its way back into the groove. In summation, luxating patella is a condition where the knee cap ends up in an irregular position because of an abnormality in the knee joint.

luxpatellaWhat breeds are affected?

The causes of this condition can be congenital, genetic, or traumatic. Many small breeds suffer from luxating patella. This includes: toy poodles, Maltese, Jack Russell Terriers, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, Pekingese, Chihuahuas, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Papillons and Boston Terriers. In addition, certain large breeds are predisposed. This includes: Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Akitas, Malamutes, Boxers, Huskies, and St. Bernards. Apart from a relationship with certain breeds, if a dog has no angulation of the hock, then it can also contribute to luxating patella.

luxpatWhat can be done?

                  Traditional methods of treatment include surgery, bracing, and medication. A less known conservative treatment is animal chiropractic. An animal chiropractor is trained to locate joints that are in an abnormal position. This includes the joints of the spine, knee, hips, and more. When an abnormality is present, an animal chiropractor guides the joint back to normal by utilizing a very gentle adjustment. With respect to luxating patella, a certified animal chiropractor can determine whether a knee is in an abnormal position. If it is, they will correct the misalignment which in turn optimizes knee biomechanics. This should help relieve a pet of pain, as well as help the joints above and below like the hips and the hock (ankle).

Seeing a pet struggle is difficult for an owner – especially when they are afflicted with a condition like luxating patella that pops up out of nowhere. The good news? There are certain conservative treatments like animal chiropractic that can help stabilize the knee joint. When the knee is sturdy, it can help reduce the severity and frequency of this troublesome condition. I certainly recommend locating a certified veterinarian or chiropractor near you for help with this condition!

What Dog Breeds Are Predisposed to Back Problems?

dachschunWhy do certain dog breeds suffer from back problems?


Did you know certain dog breeds are predisposed to back problems, like intervertebral disc disease, at much higher rates than others? Unfortunately, a combination of genetics, body shape, and daily activities contribute to this doggy dilemma. Is there anything we as pet owners can do to treat the problem? To answer this, we must first understand what contributes to disc disease.

What breeds are most affected and why?

                  The most common breeds affected by disc disease appear to be:

  • Daschunds
  • Beagles
  • Basset Hounds
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Shih Tzus
  • Lhasa Apsos
  • Pekingese
  • Corgis

corgiThis is probably due in part to their genetics. Unfortunately, the sequence of genes in these breeds appears to predispose them to back problems at some point during their lives.

Another factor involves the length of your pet’s back. Unfortunately, a long back isn’t the best design for spine stability. Think about it like a bridge. When you are traveling over a small river, does a bridge need a ton of support in the middle? Probably not. Now, imagine traveling over a bridge multiple miles long. I bet you see support columns every couple hundred feet to help dissipate the stress over the middle of the bridge. If it didn’t, the bridge would succumb to the stress and collapse. This stress is what long backed dogs experience in their spine and discs.

pekingese back problemA final issue involves smaller breeds. The little ones tend to enjoy jumping up and down from furniture. Unfortunately, jumping can be stressful because it leads to a compressive load on their discs. Dog discs aren’t designed for a compressive force like a human disc because they don’t walk upright. Imagine for a second that a dog disc works like an Oreo. The cookie part of an Oreo represents the bones of the spine and the cream filling signifies the vertebral disc. Dog discs are designed to resist shear forces. This force is similar to what happens when you twist the cookie top off of an Oreo. When it is done this way, the icing usually remains in the middle and is stable. Now, what happens if you squeeze the cookies together? The icing squirts out! This is how a compressive load works and can lead to back problems for dogs over time.

What can we do?

There are multiple options depending on the severity of symptoms. When it comes to a structural solution, surgery and chiropractic are effective treatments. Chiropractic is a great conservative route because an animal certified practitioner can guide misaligned spinal bones back toward a normal position. When the spine is in a more normal position, inflammation and stress is reduced on the vertebral disc and nerves. This will relieve any secondary problems like back pain and even paralysis. If a course of conservative care doesn’t work a veterinarian may recommend surgery. A surgeon will be able to work on the disc and ideally relieve pressure on aggravated nerves.

Many dogs will experience back issues during their lifetime. If they are a breed listed previously, it is probably the rule rather than the exception. Vertebral disc disease can be scary for our furry friends. Fortunately, there are structural treatment options for our pets like animal chiropractic!



Pet Dementia: Does it Exist?

Kitty Alzheimers, puppy dementia, are these even real things? You bet your bottom dollar. Though not the exact same as the human version, animals have a similar disorder designated “Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome”. All those times you thought Fluffy and Fido were acting just a bit off, perhaps even a bit confused, could have been early signs of this disorder.

dog brain

According to a study done a few years ago, by the age of 11 approximately 50% of pets have started to show signs of CD, and by the time your pet hits 15 that number goes up to 68%. That means that the majority of senior animals are struggling with some semblance of cognitive distress. Several pets begin to show signs of mental decline beginning at middle age, and for whatever reason it seems to have become more prevalent.



Some of the symptoms of cognitive dysfunction include:

  • Increased sleeping during a 24 hour period
  • Apathy
  • Lack of interest in activity
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to remember simple tasks previously learned
  • Increased anxiety through the day, notable discomfort
  • Staring into space with a blank look
  • Pacing
  • Unusual or unwarranted barking
  • Trouble recognizing familiar environments and/or people
  • General confusion


All of the above listed symptoms can be part of other conditions, and do not in themselves diagnose a pet with cognitive dysfunction syndrome. A variety of tests are often run to rule out other possible diseases. For instance, animals with incontinence as they age could fall into the CD category as well as those with seizures. In these cases the underlying condition is the cause rather than the actual dementia


What can you do about cognitive dysfunction disorder? To start, keeping your pet mentally stimulated is imperative. Much like humans, the brain is similar to a muscle in which if you don’t use it, you being to lose it. Mental exercises will keep your pet sharp and entertained while also strengthening your bond. In addition to mental stimulation, a healthy and appropriate diet along with regular physical exercise maintains a sound mental state. A healthy body promotes a healthy mind!


cat dementiaIf you think your pet may be suffering from a form of kitty alzheimers or doggy dementia, definitely pay a visit to your local veterinarian to rule out any other potential causes first. Once that has been done, do your best to keep your pet active, both physically and mentally. Doing this will pay off in the long run and can keep you both happy! If you have further questions feel free to contact us at 248 602 0807 or via email at