The evaluation is one of the most important parts of your chiropractic visit as it involves gathering the history of the animal. The past experiences of an animal, including any physical traumas and/or emotional stressors, is helpful in determining how to handle treatment of the animal and what kind of care plan they may require. If applicable this will also incorporate prior x-rays or laboratory analysis and previous diagnoses and therapies. A thorough chiropractic evaluation includes an examination of the animal prior to an adjustment. This examination includes: posture and gait analysis as well as static and motion palpation
Information gathered from the case history and the examination will direct me in determining what chiropractic adjustments are necessitated. These areas of decreased motion, muscle spasm, inflammation, and possible fluid retention are indicative of what is called vertebral subluxation. Subluxated areas are those that require an adjustment by a chiropractor to restore motion in the joint and increase nervous system firing.
Subluxated areas receive a high velocity, low amplitude adjustment. The adjustment itself is very low force and very rarely causes any discomfort for the animal.
Usually the normal response to chiropractic care can be immediate improvement within the first 24 to 72 hours. Results are dependent upon multiple variables, including previous traumas (if any), animal age, concurrent diseases, severity of motion restriction, type of work (if any) the animal does, etc. Bottom line is all animals will benefit from chiropractic. If your animal is coming in for protective or wellness care, signals of improvement will be a happier demeanor, less hesitancy to do various movements, improved temperament, and often times more playfulness. A symptomatic animal is easier to note improvements, especially in the first few days to a week and then you may notice a relapse of the initial complaint. Don’t be alarmed this is all part of the healing process and is not unusual, just make note for your chiropractor to help gauge your animal’s rate of response and probable healing time required. Normally after the first 2 or 3 adjustments then most initial relapses are resolved as your animal continues to responds positively.
A follow-up adjustment may be required in 1 to 2 weeks to continue the healing process. We will talk about this on the initial visit. As your animal improves, follow-up visits may continue to be spread out further. Depending on the activity of your animal, chiropractic checks are recommended to occur once every 4-6 weeks to maintain a state of optimum health. Each animal will have a care plan unique to them, and this will be discussed during your visits.
Animal chiropractic does not dispense medication, perform surgery, inject medications or attempt to replace necessary traditional veterinary care. Underlying pathology should be ruled out prior to an animal chiropractic evaluation. Animal chiropractors are not veterinarians and work in adjunct to traditional veterinary care.
Adjusting an animal is much different than adjusting a human due to the difference in anatomy, thus the reason animals should only be adjusted by certified animal chiropractors. Using our hands, chiropractors are able to localize joints of decreased mobility and perform precise adjustment in order to restore normal range of motion. With the restoration of motion, nerves are immediately able to increase their frequency of firing and improve nervous system function. The end goal is to improve communication between brain and body!
Adjustments take anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on the client! Some pets are much more relaxed than others and can be adjusted easily, whereas others may take a little more time to get situated. Keep in mind we only ever adjust your animal in their comfort zone, that way they only ever walk away with good experiences.
After being adjusted an animal may experience some soreness due to removal of long-time fixations. This soreness should not last very long and within a day or two will dissipate. An adjustment itself should never hurt, though on occasion an animal that is currently experiencing severe pain may note slight discomfort momentarily.
Individualized recommendations will be given after each adjustment for your animal. More often than not the animal should take the remainder of the day off to rest, however, not all of our patients think the same way. Often times with older pets there is a noted increase in energy level, if this is the case feel free to have some extra fun with your animal!
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