Dr Uli Helvoigt Dr Joanna Kouwenberg Dr Denise Peebles
Dr Uli Helvoigt
Dr Joanna Kouwenberg
Dr Denise Peebles
Chiropractics for Animals
Chiropractic adjustments are part of a holistic therapy – we use
it in conjunction with conventional veterinary medicine to treat
What is an adjustment?
An adjustment is a controlled thrust (usually by hand) that is
directed along a joint angle to stretch a muscle fibre which in turn
fires a nerve. Nerves are coming off the spinal cord to muscles,
tendons, ligaments, and even organs, so a chiropractic adjustment can
affect and improve any of these structures. Therefore, chiropractic
adjustments rely on motion of the anatomy, not just the static
What is an adjustment NOT?
An adjustment does NOT mean pounding on the high point! Just because a
horse has a bony bump sticking up on its back, does not mean there is
a vertebra out of place. This bone may simply have formed a little
different than the ones around it. How often to adjust depends on the
severity of the problem and how well the adjustment “holds”.
How can we adjust animals, especially ones as large as a horse?
F = m x a (force = mass times acceleration)
Fast thrust means less mass needed to achieve force
Angle of adjustment very important – knowledge of anatomy
Also very important that animal is relaxed at time of
By knowing the anatomy of the spine, knowing the angles of facet
joints, we can find out which joints don’t have full range of motion
and then adjust these one joint at a time. Human chiropractors have
the advantage of being able to adjust large areas of the spine by
having their patients place themselves into a position to be able to
do this. Animal chiropractors usually work on the standing animal,
motion palpating one joint at a time.
Who is a candidate for chiropractics?
Dogs: arthritis pain, body soreness, performance animals
Horses: performance animals, older animals, chronic
Who is NOT a candidate for chiropractics?
Animals that are acutely lame should be evaluated first via
conventional medicine – we often have horses booked for
chiropractic adjustment when they primarily have a sore leg!
That is not to say that these patients would not benefit
from an adjustment, but they will not “hold” an adjustment
as they are favouring the sore leg.