Skip to main content

Chiropractic Care for Horses/Large Animals

What is veterinary chiropractic?

Veterinary Chiropractic is the science, art and philosophy concerned with good health through restoration and maintenance of a properly functioning neuromusculoskeletal system, without the use of drugs or surgery.

Chiropractic care is a manual therapy, which can be used for many health and performance problems. It focuses on the biomechanical dysfunction of the spine and its effect on the entire nervous system throughout the body.

Veterinary Chiropractic treatment does not replace traditional veterinary medicine; however, it can provide additional means of diagnosis and treatment options for spinal problems as well as biomechanical related musculoskeletal disorders. Veterinary Chiropractic can often eliminate the source of acute or chronic pain syndromes.

Your own observations in your horse

Consider your horse’s recent performance and demeanour:

  • Has your horse’s behaviour or performance changed recently?
  • Does unusual or fluctuating lameness exist?
  • Does the rider have difficulty sitting straight on the horse?
  • Has the rider or trainer noticed changes in the various gaits?
  • Does the horse drag its feet or are the shoes worn down on one side?

Subluxations in the spine can affect muscle coordination and mobility of the horse, thereby causing decreased performance. The following symptoms may occur:

  • Unlevelled gait rhythm
  • Irregularity of gait which cannot be assigned to a particular leg or gait
  • Stiffness when the horse leaves the stable
  • Stiffness when bending and in its general posture
  • Muscular atrophy
  • Brushing or interfering
  • Difficulty engaging the hindquarters
  • Difficulty working “long and low”
  • Shortened stride in one or more legs
  • Overall decreased range of motion in gait
  • Difficulty flexing the poll
  • Lameness
  • Horse pulls against one rein
  • Rider is seated off center due to the horse
  • The back does not swing

Symptoms which may cause pain due to a subluxation:

  • Reduced performance
  • Abnormal posture
  • Snapping and pinning back its ears when being saddled
  • Insubordination when being ridden
  • The attempt to free itself by throwing its head back, up or by hollowing the back
  • Swishing its tail and pinning back its ears
  • Disobedience when jumping
  • Difficulties with collected or lateral gaits
  • Changes in behavior
  • Frightened or painful facial expression
  • Sensitivity to touch

How many treatments will my horse require?

This question must be answered on an individual basis for each patient. In most cases, a single treatment is not enough to eliminate the problem.

Joint stability and alignment are affected depending on posture/saddle fitting/condition of the shoes and overall state of the horse. Chronic problems usually take longer to resolve requiring more chiropractic treatment, whereas animals with acute problems often respond more quickly. Veterinary Chiropractic is not a quick fix, but a management plan to ensure that the joints/vertebra do not revert back to their previously misaligned state.

Services rendered:

Your horse will be assessed with an initial consultation, which consists of an intake, chiropractic examination and adjustment.

The follow-up appointment should occur within 10-14 days. This will give me a better idea of how well your animal holds their adjustments, how effective the treatment was for them, and the best recommendation for care.

Care packages: Maintenance/Supportive/Performance

Most care plans start with more frequent visits and move towards less frequent visits as the animal is able to hold its alignment better.