Equine Chiropractic Services
Dr. Armentrout is certified as an animal chiropractor by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. AVCA certification is awarded to licensed doctors of veterinary medicine who have passed a postgraduate program in animal chiropractic accredited by the Animal Chiropractic Accreditation Commission (ACAC) of the AVCA and passed both the written comprehensive and clinical competency examinations offered by the Animal Chiropractic Certification Commission (ACCC) of the AVCA. All doctors certified by the AVCA must complete continuing education hours to maintain their certification.
AVCA certified doctors are trained in motion palpation, static palpation, gait analysis, and biomechanics as well as specific adjusting techniques developed just for animals. They use their hands—NOT mallets, wooden implements, or other equipment—to adjust animals. They are trained to recognize pathology that may cause chiropractic care to be contraindicated.
A chiropractic exam includes a neurological exam, stance and gait analysis and motion and static palpation. A chiropractic adjustment is defined as short lever, high velocity controlled thrust by hand or instrument that is directed at specific articulations to correct vertebral subluxations. It comprises the adjustment of vertebral joints, extremity joints, and cranial sutures. It includes evaluating the patient’s history, intended use/athleticism, health state and prior x-rays and tests.
Animal Chiropractic is a drug-free field of animal health care that focuses on the preservation and health of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Nerves control everything that happens in the body. The command center of the nervous system is the brain, which directly connects to the spinal cord. The spinal cord carries all information from the brain to the body, and all the information from the body back to the brain. Think of this like the brain being the head of the centipede and the spinal cord being the body of a centipede. The legs coming off the centipede are the nerves coming off the cord and traveling to distant locations in the body. These nerves travel to muscles, organs, skin…basically everywhere in the body. They control functions we are aware of (moving our limbs, shaking our head, etc.) and functions we aren’t aware of (digesting food, controlling hormones, etc.). The cord is protected by the spine. The spine is a complex structure made up of bones called vertebra, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. The bones and joints of the spine are maintained in a specific alignment. If the movement of the vertebra isn’t normal, this can interfere with the performance of the nerves. As this occurs, your animal can lose normal mobility; resulting in stiffness, tension, pain and even organ or endocrine dysfunction. Additionally, when normal movement is affected, and left unattended, it will ultimately impact your animal’s entire wellbeing and quality of life. This is because the nerves which surround each joint and vertebra are in constant communication with the central nervous system, brain and all organs.
The nervous system is responsible for body’s ability to heal and regulate itself. Trauma, rigorous exercise, and prolonged areas of rest may cause the vertebra of the spine to lose motion and become fixed, which can negatively impact surrounding muscles and ligaments. Nerves can become trapped in these damaged tissues or in the passages they use to exit the spine. This can affect the ability of these nerves (the legs on the centipede) to deliver information to the body and/or to collect information from distant locations in the body. This can then impair the body’s ability to heal if the brain does not receive the appropriate information from the body. This can directly and dramatically impact your animal’s health. When even a subtle change in the alignment occurs, it is called a subluxation. Subluxations affect the nervous system, local muscles, joints and even distant organs, glands and body functions. The goal of an animal chiropractor is to restore function and mobility to the compromised vertebra in an effort to re-establish neurologic transmissions.
Equine chiropractic is indicated in cases of neck, back, leg, and tail pain; muscle spasms and nerve problems; injuries from slips, falls, and accidents; jaw or TMJ problems (difficulty chewing); event or sports injuries; post-surgical care; bowel, bladder, and internal medicine disorders; maintenance of joint and spinal health; immune system compromise; altered gastrointestinal motility (colic); and healing/helping with chronic internal medicine disorders.
Chiropractic care is not meant to replace traditional veterinary care. It is not an alternative treatment, but rather an integrative method that when used in conjunction with good traditional veterinary care, is meant to provide optimum health for your horse. This is the beginning of a more modern, comprehensive approach to your animal’s healthcare. It is also meant to help your horses perform to the absolute best of their bodies’ abilities.
Important facts about a chiropractic adjustment (from the AVCA website):
- Most horses accept both the exam and adjustment without signs of pain.
- When a painful area is found, the doctor will use the gentlest techniques to reduce pain before delivering an adjustment.
- In cases of acute or extreme pain, the doctor may choose to delay the complete adjustment until your horse can be relaxed.
- Many animals will show immediate improvement.
- Sometimes there is a 24-48 hour period of tiredness.
- Some animals require a few sessions to resolve acute pain.
- Often, with chronic health problems, the doctor will want to see your animal several times to maintain and re-establish normal function of the joints and nervous system.
- Pay special attention to saddle fit, shoeing, exercise, and conditioning recommendations.
At this time, Animal Chiropractic is limited to practice by veterinarians or licensed Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.) working under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. Because Dr. Armentrout is a licensed veterinarian with AVCA certification, we will not offer referrals to other chiropractic providers due to liability issues.
Dr. Armentrout is also happy to help clients achieve optimum saddle fit. If you would like a saddle fitting in addition to your chiropractic exam, please let the front office know at the time you make your appointment. Bring all of your regular tack, as well as any spare tack, as Dr. Armentrout may want to see the different options you already have.
To learn more about animal chiropractic and how it can benefit your pet, visit the AVCA website at www.animalchiropractic.org.