An Outsider’s View of Animal Chiropractic

One of our silent missions as a company is to help educate people on chiropractic care as an alternative to expensive surgeries, poor quality of life for any animal, and even death in many cases.
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KKDP_Move Better_2022-24

One of our silent missions as a company is to help educate people on chiropractic care as an alternative to expensive surgeries, poor quality of life for any animal, and even death in many cases. We have had friends, patients, and acquaintances all put down their pets or animals for reasons that we would deem entirely resolvable to conservative care at our clinic. Any pet owner can be faced with a huge decision burden when looking at extremely expensive imaging, surgeries, and complicated care plans involving regular medication administration and constant supervision which are simply not possible for many people. I have the unique perspective to see both the clinical aspect of conservative animal treatment as well as an outsider’s perspective for someone who does not render that care. Recently, I have seen the frustration of not being able to treat an animal patient due to the veterinarian denying the referral.

The alternative is to crate the dog for several weeks and administer medication. To make things worse, this animal has already had this happen before, followed the same recommendation, and has ended up in the same scenario again. Finally, as an act of serendipity for us, the very first animal Dr. Whitney treated had this exact same presentation. I was able to see first hand how quick the change was, how happy the dog and owners were, and how miserable the dog was before treatment. This created a moment of reflection for me to think about what I have seen. Here is what I have learned in the past few years in watching Dr. Whitney treat many animal patients at our clinic.

Care is immediately effective

Many dogs and cats come into the clinic with obvious issues. A limp, an ability to walk, partial or complete paralysis of limbs, completely roached spine, and massive dizziness to name a few. Many of them are also simply at the end of their years and show signs of life wearing on them. Generally speaking, these animals are entirely different within 3 treatments! The before and after effects are often astounding to me as well as the pet owner. Anyone could see the animals before and after and see that the pet is much better. Some pets, as with some people, have a more complicated health history and do require care beyond those initial 3 treatments, but nearly all get better. In fact, the only animals I have seen not respond positively always end up with a diagnosis of terminal cancer. When we see a poor response to treatment, we frequently recommend more extensive follow up with their veterinarian immediately because of this.

Care is inexpensive in both time and money

The average treatment length is about 15 minutes and cost $60. Given that most animals respond quickly and within 3 treatments, many owners will only pay around $180. This is a massive cost difference to surgery, medications, or advanced imaging. From my perspective, it is a no brainer to try animal chiropractic given the low costs.

I have never seen any negative side effects

Every animal that comes in for a follow up is excited to see Dr. Whitney. Her warmth and touch is immediately measured by all animals. I have never personally seen an animal come in worse after any treatment. The only negative impact I have seen is a temporary yelp or snap at Dr. Whitney during treatment to a very sensitive area. But the moment is fleeting both for the doc and animal, and everyone is still friends at the end.

Veterinarians have an illogical bias against Animal Chiropractic

In the state of Oregon, a Veterinarian must create a referral for an animal to get chiropractic treatment from someone who is not a veterinarian. Most times, these referrals are easy to come by. On occasion, a veterinarian will not authorize treatment listing a variety of reasons, none of which make any sense to me. Here are a few of those reasons.

Some say that it is dangerous – this is fundamentally not true and there is no research to support this statement. As I stated above, no animal has ever had negative side effects. Additionally, the inherent type of treatment is extremely low risk. ALL manual therapy is low risk. This is why chiropractors pay an extremely low amount of malpractice insurance, there are no real side effects that are of danger. As with people, the worse thing that happens is soreness that last a day or two. When we compare that with the alternatives of surgery and medication, both of which include a very real risk of death, conservative care is actually the safest course of action. We also need to remember that many of your pet owners are considering putting your animal down. Certainly, chiropractic care is safe when the only other option is death.

Chiropractic care could make things worse – Again, there is no logic in this. Chiropractic care has repeatedly shown to be a safe and effective course of treatment for some very serious injuries, such as disc herniation. Many of the cases where a veterinarian is worried about the potential for things to get worse are precisely in the scenarios where an animal likely has a disc injury.

The veterinarian would prefer to wait to see if things change – No human would tolerate this kind of thinking. For our patients that have acute injuries, all of which our animal friends can also have (disc herniation, ACL tear, extreme loss of motion in the neck), they know that they need treatment right away. Research also supports that early intervention in humans massively improves healing as well as many outcome markers in the years to come.

Please seriously consider Animal Chiropractic for your animals

There are many animals being killed each day because people know of no other option to help their pets. This creates a deep pit of sadness in all of us at Move Better. I think we could simplify our goal as clinicians to “Reduce unnecessary suffering.” Animals are certainly included in that ethos. There are so many people that do not even know this kind of care is an option. That is a real problem and education is the only way to change that. Animal Chiropractic is effective, safe, and inexpensive. Why wouldn’t anyone want to try something with that many checkboxes?


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