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What is Chiropractic Care?

Chiropractic therapy has, over the past few decades, gained widespread acceptance within conventional medicine. Now, veterinary practitioners are exploring the possibilities that this method of manipulating and positioning the spinal column can provide in the treatment of various conditions. Generally, chiropractic care is reserved for aftercare conditions following surgery and to complement other treatment methods for various injuries and problems. 

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Chiropractic Care Procedure in Dogs

When an owner presents their animal to the clinic, the chiropractic practitioner will usually have questions regarding the pet's condition and medical history. They will typically have an additional battery of questions regarding the dog's lifestyle and any general problems that the owner has observed. Following this, they will then apply the relevant series of chiropractic techniques to the dog. These will typically consist of applying direct pressure to the spinal vertebrae and attached muscles in order to alter their positioning. Overall, a normal session will last for between fifteen minutes and half an hour.

Efficacy of Chiropractic Care in Dogs

Whilst there is some degree of debate over the legitimacy of chiropractic care as a medical treatment, there is a large body of evidence to support its proponents' claims that it is an effective way of countering spinal problems. It is also important to bear in mind that the treatment primarily takes the form of long-term therapy spread over a series of sessions, so while many patients may feel immediate benefits, others may require more time. Alternatives to chiropractic therapy include treating the condition or injury with painkillers or conventional physiotherapy.

Chiropractic Care Recovery in Dogs

One of the positives of chiropractic care is that there is virtually no recovery time after each session. Whilst there may sometimes be a measure of residual soreness or stiffness, most owners should usually notice an overall improvement in their dog's posture, gait and overall body language immediately after treatment. The number and frequency of follow-up sessions will vary depending entirely on the severity of each individual case. Following treatment, chiropractors will usually give advice on additional physiotherapy that owners can do with their dog at home.

Cost of Chiropractic Care in Dogs

The cost of chiropractic care can vary wildly, depending on location and the age, condition, and behavioral disposition of the individual dog concerned. However, the majority of owners can expect chiropractic care to cost between $50 and $200 per session. This is roughly equivalent to conventional physiotherapy, although some forms of physiotherapy can be substantially more expensive if specialized equipment is required.

Dog Chiropractic Care Considerations

While taking your pet to see a chiropractor can do wonders for their back problem, there are some pitfalls that owners should be aware of. The first is that there is an ongoing debate in the medical community over whether or not chiropractic care is actually effective - although the practice has gained more acceptance in recent decades, some owners may wish to pursue more conventional methods. Secondly, there is a slight risk that chiropractic manipulation of the spine can exacerbate a problem instead of mitigating it. Because of this, it is vital that owners do their research prior to choosing a chiropractor, to make sure that the one they choose will deliver the best quality care.

Chiropractic Care Prevention in Dogs

Although some breeds are prone to spinal problems, dog owners should always make sure to maintain a good level of health and fitness in their pet. The most effective way to go about this is to make sure their pet gets plenty of exercise and properly develops its musculature and supporting tissues. This alone will ensure a healthy range of movement and resistance to injury as well as preventing many conditions that can manifest themselves in later life.


Chiropractic Care Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Boo Boo
Chihuahua/ yorkie mix
10 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Wobbly rear gait

My dog was diagnosed with a slipped disc. When walking his rear gait tends to be wobbly. He also hunches when walks. He cries in pain when the other dogs go near him. He was given two types of pain medications and medication for muscle spasms. I would like to know other than surgery can chiropractic care can help him?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations

There are some reports of chiropractic care helping in these types of cases; however, I have read more promising results from the use of acupuncture than from chiropractic care. Also, there is an article (below) which has reported that recovery time is shorter and recurrence rate is lower than in cases treated with conventional medicine; I do not have any first hand experience with acupuncture and I am presenting the advice as I have read it from reputable sources. I have also provided a link below to help you find your nearest certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (all people on the site are licensed Veterinarians which have completed a course in acupuncture). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM


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Cat Tigger
18 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Has Symptoms

cant walk

Medication Used


My cats left front and back paw stopped working Tuesday. Monday he was able to jump and get around. Now he doesn't seem to be able to use them .Especially the front paw. Do you think chiropractic care would help. the Dr thinks something happened to the spine between his neck and a few inches down from the neck. Would this help him?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations

Without examining Tigger and possibly looking at x-rays as well, I wouldn’t like to say if it would help or not (as legally I cannot); however, chiropractic care has helped many animals (and humans, myself included) to regain movement and comfort. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

My dad's service dog Leroy was severely injured when a plyboard fell on him. The veterinarian diagnosed severe brain trauma. However, his neck is tweaked to the side and he falls over or rolls like an alligator with its kill. We are wondering if a chiropractor could realign his neck or if this is something that will just take time?

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