Your animal chiropractor is a biomechanical specialist trained to diagnose
and treat joint dysfunction. Joint dysfunction (also known as subluxation)
is a problem with correct joint movement. A small spinal misalignment
resulting in biomechanical or neurological dysfunction. It may be caused by
an injury from falls, training or other activity, in addition, to limping
from any physical problem. They may also be caused by stress.
animal chiropractor works with your vet to ensure the best possible care for
Joint dysfunction, or subluxation, can be detected in many ways. There may
be direct pain in the area of the joint dysfunction as well as effects to
bones, joints, nerves, and organs of the body. It may also affect the
ability of the animal to maintain balance or know where it’s body is in
space, which is known as proprioception.
Janine Pierce & Dutch
Like a living telephone cable, the spinal cord is housed within the spine,
and the spinal nerves are the pathway for all transmission from the brain to
all parts of the animal.
When a subluxation occurs in the spine, the spinal cord is affected by
disrupting the communication from the brain to the body parts controlled by
the spinal cord at the level of the subluxation. It may also include
transmission intended for communication further along the nerve pathway.
understand biomechanics, you understand that Chiropractic is
mandatory for all dogs, especially performance dogs.
To keep the nerve communication flowing without disruption, biomechanical
balance must be maintained. Unlike you, your dog requires efficient movement
of most joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments in the body to complete a
Flexion and extension occurs in the spine close to the tail, at the top of
the neck, and towards the base of the neck where it approaches the
shoulders. These areas are known as the lumbosacral junction (closer to the
tail), the Atlas and Axis (where the first and second cervical vertebrae
meet the occipital bone (the skull between and behind the ears), and the
lower neck as it nears the shoulder. Decrease in flexion and extension at
any level of the spine will effect movement such as running and jumping. The
neck must flex and extend in conjunction with the area near the base of the
tail for normal locomotion to occur.
Motion is generated at the rear of the animal, and travels fluidly to the
front in an undulating motion along the spine. Pelvic limbs are like the
pistons driving the trunk and forelimbs forward. The rear legs articulate
with the spine through the sacroiliac joint. They communicate with the front
legs along the spine and rib cage (thoracic spine), between the shoulder
blades, neck (cervical spine), and muscular attachments to the front legs.
If you think about it, all levels of the spine, the pelvis and limbs are
needed for movement. A minor problem with any joint (a subluxation), will
cause the animal to alter movement of that joint and, like a domino effect,
the surrounding joints, bones, muscles, ligaments, and nerves. This has an
effect on the animal, especially if it is a performance animal or an animal
with an existing orthopedic or neurologic problem.
If a subluxation occurs, you may see a change in performance, an area of
discomfort, an altered stride or movement, behavioral changes, difficulty in
getting up and lying down, etc.
Your Veterinarian may see lameness, arthritis, muscle imbalance, spasms, or
atrophy. The Veterinarian will assist in diagnosing the problem.
Your Animal Chiropractor will work with your veterinarian to find
subluxations by the use of palpation and observing animal movement and gait.
Your Animal Chiropractor will also help to identify lameness and/or
imbalances caused by the altered joint movement.
I've been taking my agility dogs to Dr. Eileen Haworth for years
now. She is awesome! She really helped my Rat Terrier Gigi prior to many of
our big events, including the AKC Agility Invitational in 2006, 2007 and
2008. I take several of my top agility dogs to her and she has worked on my
champions Magi, Gigi & Perry and is now working on some of my up and coming
stars including Rickie Roo.
Left - GiGi
photo: Tien Tran
Eileen is always very thorough and the dogs love her. If they start
acting odd or have an injury it's off to Eileen we go. It gives me peace
of mind that the US Olympic Committee trusted her with our human
athletes and I know I completely trust her with my canine athletes.
Deborah Davidson Harpur
PM2 Dog Agility Team
Right - Rickie Roo
photo: Tien Tran
many adjustments does my animal need?
The answer is simple, as many adjustments as necessary to eliminate the
joint dysfunction and allow the innate healing power of the dogs body to
keep it stable.
Your animal chiropractor will adjust the area of altered joint movement (subluxation)
to return biomechanical balance and nerve irritation to normal.
It may take one or more adjustments to return the joint function to normal.
This is determined by variables such as: the length of time the problem has
been present, the condition of the animal, the amount of damage that has
been done, the age of the animal and cooperation of the owner.
When an adjustment is performed, normal biomechanical movement of the
affected joint is reestablished. This allows the animals healing power to
“kick into gear”. This is known as “innate”.
Innate is the word used in chiropractic to describe our natural tendency to
heal what ails us. For example when you get a cold it usually runs its
course and you feel better – that’s innate.
Advisory: Animal chiropractic is in no way a substitute for
regular veterinary care. Your animal Chiropractor works only by referral
from your Vet to ensure the best possible care for your animal.