Why Your Horse Needs To See A Chiropractor

If you think your horse needs to see a chiropractor check out the below interview with Dr. Michelle Dewar of Farm and Family Chiropractic. In addition to exercise, grooming, a healthy diet, routine farrier and veterinary care, Dr. Michelle explains how chiropractic can benefit our equine partners!

And, as always, be sure to consult your veterinarian if you have questions specific to your horse.

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What is equine chiropractic?

Equine chiropractic is a gentle approach to keeping the nervous system functioning at an optimal level.  An adjustment affects the neuromusculoskeletal system of the body. 

Why is this important?  The nerves run the whole body! 

They start up top in the brain and run all the way down the spinal cord branching out to reach every part of the body.  If there’s an issue with the nerves, then there is a possibility of compensations throughout the whole body or in certain areas. 

How do they branch out? 

Through the bones of the spinal cord which are called vertebrae.  As chiropractors, we specialize in analyzing the spine and correcting these vertebral bones by adjusting them in order to remove any neurological interference.

If you would like further information on animal chiropractic,

please visit this website for one of the animal chiropractic schools, Options for Animals.  They have a lot of information on there for horse owners. https://optionsforanimals.com/animal-owners/what-is-animal-chiropractic/

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What are the benefits of having a horse adjusted?

There are many benefits to chiropractic.  One of my favorites is an increase in the quality of life. 

When the horse is functioning better, they are moving better, they are more relaxed and calm, they are just simply more comfortable.

Are there any risks?

As with anything and everything, there’s always associated risks.  An adjustment can cause some inflammation surrounding the joint especially if it was restricted for a long period of time which can create soreness.

How can I tell if my horse needs to see a chiropractor?

Since horses cannot talk to us, the owners need to listen to their animals.  Sometimes they might be standing differently with both legs or just one leg stretched out or more underneath them or difficulty picking up a certain gait when they used to never have a problem before. 

A lot of concerns I hear are biomechanical in nature such as their horse is having difficulty bending in a certain direction or one of their legs is not tracking up as well as the other.  They might also exhibit pain or are sensitive to touch in a certain area.

How long does it take?

I allot a half hour per appointment, but for anyone who has been with me for awhile knows that it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on how much you get me talking. 

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How many times should I plan to have my horse adjusted if my horse needs to see a chiropractor?

There’s no telling how many times one needs to be worked on.  I always say that it takes time for the body to heal, especially if we are dealing with a problem that has been there for a few years.  I recommend a 2-4 week followup after the first adjustment and then during the followup, most horses graduate to a 4-12 week plan depending on what’s going on with them and their goals.  Regular maintenance helps keep them functioning at an optimal level.

How can I find a reputable chiropractor?

In order to become an animal chiropractor, one needs to have graduated from a human chiropractic school or a veterinarian school. After this, there are a few schools around the world that they both can attend to learn animal chiropractic. Once these steps have been completed, they are eligible to become either AVCA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) or IVCA (International Veterinary Chiropractic Association) certified. 

These two have websites that you can search for a certified animal chiropractor in your area.  

https://www.animalchiropractic.org/

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Should my horse get chiropractic adjustments and massages?

The neuromusculoskeletal system is one giant word because it is all connected.  A lot of times when I am working on a horse, I will notice that certain areas of the spine or legs are really tight muscularly. 

I find that if these horses are also on a regular schedule with a massage therapist, they hold their adjustments longer since the muscles are not trying to pull the bone back. 

There are also many other forms of bodywork that one can do as well such as acupuncture and PEMF/magnawave.

If my horse has serious issues, should I check with my vet before having a chiropractor work on my horse?

Absolutely! I love being able to work with the many different equine professionals in order to be able to help piece together the puzzle. 

Chiropractic is only one small piece. 

Horses like to hide their problems so when in doubt, always contact your veterinarian.  Chiropractic should never be used to replace traditional veterinary care.

I hope you found this article helpful! If you did, don’t forget to share it on Pinterest!

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