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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dr. Julie Addresses Pet Chiropractic Care

by Dr. Julie Buzby, DVM
Time for an Adjustment for Fido? Read on...
Prior to beginning my training for certification through the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) in 1998, my only experience with chiropractic was from a distance.  For many summers, I’d worked as an assistant for a veterinarian who treated equine athletes.  I heard countless stories of horses performing and feeling better after their adjustments.  Often I’d hold the end of the lead rope while my boss did his work, watching his patients’ reaction to treatments—lowering their head, licking and chewing.  I vowed that as soon as I finished veterinary school and was eligible, I would add chiropractic training to my “toolbox” to treat my patients.

I kept my promise, but less than halfway through the course, I had become discouraged.  Chiropractic was so foreign to what we’d learned in vet school, I was seriously contemplating giving up.  Savannah, a young paralyzed rabbit, changed the course of my career.  She had kicked out her hind legs during a procedure at the veterinary clinic where I worked and had been instantly paralyzed in the hind end.  We’d treated her medically for several weeks with little improvement.  After finishing a pertinent training module, I asked her owner to bring Savannah in for me to palpate her spine.  Immediately after I adjusted her back, we set her down on the floor and she hopped away.  Needless to say, I didn’t quit my training! 

While limited formal research is available on the efficacy of animal chiropractic, and
Dr. Julie at Work
there are plenty of naysayers, having practiced this modality for 16 years, I am positive that it can help dogs in ways that Western medicine cannot.  Don’t get me wrong—I still embrace my veterinary training and combine a traditional medical approach with alternative medicine in my practice, but Western medicine evolved for crisis intervention.  Chiropractic seeks to prevent “dis-ease” and restore balance, to avoid the crisis.

Because chiropractic impacts the nervous system, which affects every cell in the body, chiropractic has the potential to be helpful for a variety of musculoskeletal and internal maladies.  But I find chiropractic care most beneficial in the treatment of neck and back pain, certain lamenesses, injuries, and sudden behavioral changes that can be linked to pain.

Depending on conformation, age, and symptoms, I see patients at intervals that vary from weeks to months.  I strongly recommend finding an AVCA-certified doctor in your area if you wish to learn more about this type of care for your dog.

I included routine chiropractic adjustments in my list of ten ways to help your dog live his longest, healthiest life.  (Carrie—maybe link to article there?)  In order to achieve that goal, we must work in the realm of preventing dysfunction and not reacting to it.  Chiropractic adjustments free the nervous system of interference so the body can do what God created it to do—heal itself!

Dr. Julie Buzby is a homeschooling mom of seven, American Veterinary Chiropractic Association and International Veterinary Acupuncture Society certified holistic veterinarian, and passionate advocate for canine mobility.In her free time she serves on the Advisory Board for The Grey Muzzle Organization. She can be found at Twitter @DrBuzby and on You'll also find more of Dr. Julie's posts at our Ask the Vet Archives page.

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Dr. Julie's opinion or advice does not replace an actual exam with a veterinarian.


Michelle Spayde said...

I would love to read her article on ten ways to help your dog live his longest. In this article, there's a note about possibly inserting the link. Reading this also reminded me that I want to try Dr. Buzby's ToeGrips for Sarah.

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