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Canine Chiropractic Care

How Do I Know if My Senior Dog Needs an Adjustment?

 The most common question I receive from pet owners is, “How do I know if my dog needs an adjustment?” The simplest answer is whatever you would see your chiropractor for, your pet should see their animal chiropractor for. Specifically, for the senior group it is time to see a chiropractor when they are having a hard time getting up from a seated or lying position, difficulty going up or down stairs, or trouble getting into or out of the car.

They may be exhibiting generalized weakness or may seem “off” or just plain uncomfortable. Many owners report that their dog is fine one day and sore or lame the next. A vast majority of time owners report they have no idea what has occurred.

What Are the Benefits of Chiropractic Care for My Senior Dog?

There are numerous common stressful or traumatic situations that can cause abnormal or restricted movement to occur in the spine or a subluxation. When a subluxation occurs, the dog’s spine loses its normal flexibility. This results in stiffness, which further leads to resistance and decreased performance. The most common symptom associated with restricted movement in the spine is pain, which can manifest itself in a variety of ways.

A surprising number of problems that may seem unrelated to a “back problem”actually are a direct result of a problem in the spine. All of the nervesthat come out of the spinal cord exit between the individual vertebrae that make up the spine. When there is a vertebra that is not moving properly it puts pressure on the nerves that pass by it, this may result in problems seen further down the pathway of the affected nerve(s). These problems may be pain, spasm, lameness, or weakness in another area of the body or even affecting an internal organ that is at the endpoint of the nerve.

According to the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, chiropractic care is appropriate in the treatment of: Neck, back, leg and tail pain Muscle spasms Disc problems “Neurologic” or “Knuckling Over,” most commonly seen in the rear leg(s) Lick Granuloma, more common in the front leg(s) Joint problems, limping/lameness Injuries from slips, falls and accidents “Sloppy Sitting,” legs off to one side may be seen in your puppy or adult dog Event or sports injuries Post-surgical care, most commonly following TPLO (tibial plateau leveling osteotomy). Bowel, bladder and internal medicine disorders Maintenance of joint and spinal health Theabove list goes for any dog, young or old, athletic or a couch potato, purebreed or mixed breed.

Although listing old age as a disease process soundsunfair, a good portion of what is listed above is due to age and how the dog’sbody breaks down due to the aging process. Animalchiropractic practices consist of essentially two groups; one group is the dogathlete and the other is the senior dog. The majority of my practice isdedicated to making and keeping dogs comfortable through their golden years. Excerpt by Dr. Andi Harper

Written by

Jennifer Kachnic is the President of The Grey Muzzle Organization. She owns Canine Wellness, LLC in Colorado and is the author of the award winning book Your Dog's Golden Years.

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