Animal Chiropractor vs. Veterinarian: What’s the difference?

Animal chiropractic and veterinary care are very different, and that's a good thing.
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This is an important question in many ways, as both play an important role in your animal’s overall health. Veterinary care often focuses on fixing or relieving ailments and presenting symptoms through means of medications and medical procedures, including surgeries. They are the MD’s of the animal world, and who you should go to when you have vital systems in distress. Things to contact your veterinarian right away for include (but not limited to): fever, lethargia, difficulty breathing, blood in urine or stool, not drinking water for 24 hours, unusual stool, vomiting, sudden weight loss, trauma and/or open wounds, hard swollen abdomen, seizures, potential contact with toxin or poison.

Animal Chiropractic

While traditional veterinary medicine offers a more conservative approach to treating an animal’s presenting symptoms and looking at the body as different parts and systems; chiropractic care focuses on the body as an integrated system and looks to treat the underlying cause of the symptoms.You know that philosophical quote by Aristotle “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”? I think this depicts the thought process behind alternative healthcare really well. Alternative healthcare, including chiropractic care, treats the body in a holistic way looking at how everything connects and impacts each other. With chiropractic care specifically, we are focusing on how the musculoskeletal system impacts the nervous system. We are looking to improve areas of joint dysfunction (where the joints are not moving properly), to improve the systems that neurologically connect with that joint system. 

Improving Communication

The musculoskeletal system is the mechanical system our bodies depend on to move and interact dynamically with our environment, and the nervous system is the communication system running and linking all systems in our bodies. We depend on good communication between the two systems to operate optimally. This is no different in animals. By taking your animal to a chiropractor, you are helping to facilitate optimal communication between these systems. This helps animals not only move better and feel better, but also helps to improve all systems that interact internally with the shared neural pathways being stimulated through treatment. A large number of conditions and symptoms our animals present with are musculoskeletal in nature, and lead to pain and behavioral changes. When this is the case, they tend to respond very well to chiropractic care with symptoms often fully resolving within just a few treatments. 

Effective, Non-invasive, Inexpensive

Chiropractic care is oftentimes much more cost effective and less invasive than veterinary care. When looking at both forms of medicine, chiropractic care works as a great first step in ruling in or out certain conditions (if not showing severe symptoms as presented earlier). If symptoms do not significantly improve or resolve from chiropractic care within a few treatments, then more invasive procedures may be necessary. At this point, your certified animal chiropractor should refer you out to your veterinarian for further diagnostic testing. The wonderful thing about chiropractic care is that it is very low risk and high reward. Meaning, most animals show some sort of benefit from care, even if other systems need intervention. This is because of the whole body integrated approach, everything affects everything remember? As long as you are working with a certified animal chiropractor who is trained in watching for contraindications to care, chiropractic care can help facilitate in whole body healing while your animal is also being cared for by a veterinarian. 

Our goal as animal chiropractors is to assist the body in healing, and help avoid unnecessary procedures that are invasive and traumatic to the body. This includes surgeries, as well as long term medications that can have terrible side effects on your animals overall health. 



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