A few years ago, I was standing on a step stool watering some plants that were on a high shelf, and when I stepped down, the tiny love of my life Gidget had emerged from her doggy slumber and gotten underfoot. I came down on her, hard. Wearing big ole shoes. It broke my heart but luckily didn’t break her back. The next day, I ran into my neighbor Dr. Erin Moran, who’s the animal and human chiropractor behind Denver Central Chiropractic. She adjusted Gidget on the spot, and the results were all but instantaneous: her tail started wagging, she did her little wiggle thing that makes everyone smile and forgot that she was mad at me. Seeing our dogs suffer can be heartbreaking, because they can’t tell us what’s wrong. So we rely on people like Moran to help us help them. I caught up with her to ask her more about the ins and outs of animal adjustments.
How does animal chiropractic work?
You have to either be a veterinarian or a chiropractor to become an animal chiropractor. While animal chiropractic is very similar to human, there are some key differences, so it’s important that you find a certified licensed animal chiropractor.
Besides the anatomy of the spine, the main difference between human and animal chiropractic is that you typically won’t hear a cavitation (“crack”) when I adjust an animal. Because dogs stand on four legs, the gas in the joints don’t build up like they do in a human, so the adjustment rarely provides a noise.
How do we know if it’s successful?
The top comment that I receive from pet parents is that they notice their dog has more energy. They start to do activities that they haven’t done in a while, playing more, wanting to go on (longer) walks, and overall seeming to be in a more comfortable state. For patients with specific conditions or injuries, success can mean the resolution or diminishing of symptoms associated with their condition. While every case is unique, this typically takes between five to 10 initial visits, with maintenance visits every four to six weeks.
How’s your dog, Bert? Does he get regular adjustments?
Awww, thanks for asking about Bert. He’s doing great! He greatly benefits from his monthly chiropractic treatment. I’ll adjust him more often when he’s had a particularly active day at the dog park or hiking. He sustained a knee injury a couple of years ago so I’m diligent about maintaining a quality diet, supplements, chiropractic care, and cold laser treatments. It allows him to do the activities he enjoys without me worrying his knee will get worse or it affecting other parts of his body due to compensation.
What are some things pet parents can do as preventative care for their pets? It’s often easier and more cost effective to maintain your pets’ health rather than waiting for an issue to arise. Good quality food, exercise and regular visits to your veterinarian are keystones to preventative healthcare. It’s also important to develop a health care team for your pet including a licensed animal chiropractor. I love being a resource for people as they navigate conservative health care options for their pets.