Considering how much people love to raise animals and appreciate having an animal companion, it makes sense to care for their health through the specialty practice of animal chiropractic. Animal chiropractic offers non-surgical, drug-free options for correcting bone, disc, and soft-tissue disorders that interrupt the normal movements of each animal's unique musculoskeletal system.
Unfortunately, over time animals can lose normal mobility or experience pain due to spinal alignment issues, or other musculoskeletal system conditions. When normal movement is disturbed and left unattended, the animal's well-being and quality of life are affected.
History of Animal Chiropractic Care
Chiropractic treatment of animals – from racing greyhounds to horses – goes back nearly 100 years, to the early 1900s and was initially focused on improving performance.
The first training program for chiropractors who wished to focus on chiropractic care for animals was documented in the late 1980s by the late Dr. Sharon Willoughby-Blake, both a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and a Doctor of Chiropractic.
The Focus on Animal Health Includes Chiropractic
Now, as the public's interest in safeguarding animals' health increases, so is the desire to seek the advice and expertise of veterinarians and specialists who can focus on ways to maintain or restore optimal animal health. Factors that prove this interest include:
- Families see pet animals as family, and their desire is these furry family members live longer and healthier lives
- A study showing 68% of dog owners would spend the same amount on pet health expenses despite a major economic downturn
Increased controlled breeding, such as the desire for pure-bred dogs, is increasing research into pet health issues.
Today, conversations involving veterinary chiropractic have been brought forward in various forums and publications, and animal chiropractic training programs now exist.
As of 2016, 40 of the 50 U.S. states provide statutory or regulatory guidelines for the practice of chiropractic and related treatments on animals, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).
Is Animal Chiropractic Care Indicated?
Areas of biomechanics and the normal functions of the nervous system may go unnoticed by traditional veterinary care. According to the AVMA, symptoms might include:
- Difficulty standing and laying down
- Surgery involving anesthesia or observing neurological problems
- Behavioral or mood changes in geriatric (older) pets
- Navicular disease or laminitis in horses
- Chronic health problems not resolving with traditional care.
When You're Interested in Animal ChiropracticAnimal chiropractic is a complementary health practice and does not replace veterinary medicine. In most scenarios, any treatments would require the supervision or referral of a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine (D.V.M.)
Today, doctors of chiropractic (D.C.s) and D.V.M.s can take additional training to become certified in veterinary chiropractic. In North America, this certification is through the Animal Chiropractic Certification Commission (ACCC) of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). There are more than 500 AVCA-certified doctors worldwide.
To earn the ACCC certification, the chiropractor
- Attends an ACCC-approved animal chiropractic program, which typically takes two years to complete. Classes, laboratories, and self-study covers anatomy, neurology, diagnosis, adjusting techniques, and animal management
- Completes the ACCC written and clinical examination.
Remember, animal chiropractic a specialty to be pursued after obtaining the doctor of chiropractic degree. If this is your area of interest, let your College of Chiropractic instructors know so they can provide advice about specific classes, associations with animal chiropractors, or available shadowing or internship opportunities.
Your Chiropractic Degree at CUKC
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC) is a private, nonprofit, health care focused university with a nearly 100-year history as a chiropractic college. The Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree is through the College of Chiropractic and can be completed in 3.3 years. CUKC is located in Overland Park, Kansas, a vibrant, highly rated suburb of the Kansas City metro.
CUKC is the first U.S. chiropractic college to have two Force Sensing Technology Tables (FSTT) in the adjusting laboratory on campus. FSTT™ improves students' mastery of effective adjustment techniques by displaying and recording the amount of adjusting force applied.
CUKC also is directly connected to the Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic, located just 30 minutes southwest of the CUKC campus.