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Breeding soundness exams
Breeding/pregnancy ultrasound examinations
Post-partum exams for the mare and foal
Soft tissue surgery
Complete medical workups
Excellent relationship with area specialists
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Dr. Jan Sosnowski injects a shoulder joint.
Have you ever wondered if chiropractic could help your horse? Maybe you see your chiropractor regularly & are impressed with how good you feel afterward. Maybe he (or she) helped you recover after a bad car accident. Maybe you know nothing about chiropractic. Could this type of therapy help your horse feel better & perform better? It is certainly possible that it can.
Chiropractic is a manual therapy that treats restricted motion of the joints of the spinal column & the other joints in the body. The name chiropractic comes from the Greek “cheiros” meaning “hand” & “praktikos” meaning “done by.” Chiropractors relieve the motion restrictions in joints by adjusting the joints with their hands.
A chiropractic adjustment consists of a specific high velocity, low amplitude (accurate, fast but not deep) thrust by the chiropractor into the restricted joint so that normal motion of the joint is restored. The chiropractor works within the joint’s normal range of motion when the adjustment is performed. This makes it a very safe therapy for your horse when it is performed by a trained veterinary chiropractor.
When the motion of a joint is restricted (hypomobility), there are several consequences. First, the surrounding joints must compensate by moving more than normal (hypermobility). This results in compensation. As the animal compensates, excess stress is put on the surrounding tissues & can lead to problems such as ligament or tendon tears, spinal disc disease, or arthritis. Second, the surrounding muscles are stressed & may go into spasm causing pain. Also, the nerves that are disturbed by the restricted motion of the joint cannot function properly. If the nerves are not functioning properly, many different body systems can be affected. Muscles may atrophy (muscle wasting), organs may not function properly, or the horse’s gait may be affected. As you can imagine, any of these consequences can adversely affect your horse’s health & performance.
Your horse must always be under concurrent care of a primary veterinarian while they are undergoing chiropractic treatment. If your regular veterinarian is trained & certified in animal chiropractic, this requirement is easily satisfied. However, if your horse is being seen by a human chiropractor (DC) who has been trained & certified in animal chiropractic, your regular veterinarian should first examine the horse prior to the chiropractic examination & adjustment. This is done so that any medical condition not treatable by chiropractic (colic, fracture, or other serious medical condition) is ruled out or treated by the veterinarian prior to any chiropractic treatment.
The chiropractic examination & adjustment is comprised of several parts. Initially, the chiropractor will take a complete history on your horse, including any medical problems the horse may have & any veterinary treatments he has undergone. Next, the horse’s posture will be analyzed. Does he stand square, or is he unable to place his legs properly under his body? Does he bear weight equally on all legs? Are his muscles symmetrical? Is there any swelling anywhere? The next step is usually gait analysis. The chiropractor will observe your horse as he is walked & trotted away & back. Does the horse track under well? Is he properly over-striding? Is he limping? An overt lameness is going to signal the need for a complete lameness work-up by your veterinarian if this has not already been done. The next step is for the chiropractor to palpate your horse’s spine & limbs. Is there any asymmetry? Is there any swelling? Finally, the chiropractor will motion palpate your horse’s joints & perform any adjustments that are necessary. Each joint will be put through its normal range of motion. Are they moving properly? Are there any restrictions to normal motion? If any restrictions in the motion are found, the chiropractor will perform an adjustment to restore the normal range of motion.
Chiropractic care is not a replacement for traditional veterinary medicine. It is one of many treatment modalities that are included under the umbrella of “complementary medicine” or “integrative care.” It is to be used in addition to traditional care, not instead of.