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A Doggie and Kitty Chiropractor? You bet! To assume that millions of humans can be successfully adjusted daily by human chiropractors, but the same idea can't be applied to any other mammal, is ludicrous. In fact, canine and feline patients are superior patients. Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation procedure (VOM) is the procedure used on weak, lame or paralyzed dogs (and cats!). VOM can be typified as a hybrid of chiropractic adjustment and traditional medical care. The AVCA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) provides a list of veterinary practitioners trained in chiropractic.
By William L. Inman, BS, DVM, CVCP
Panzer, a three-year old Champion herding Rottweiler, came into my clinic one day crying as he jumped and yelped when his neck was touched. His owner, Kathy, had rescued Panzer as a pup from certain euthanasia. She was concerned about his health and comfort, and his future as a herding dog.
Panzer had unlimited potential as a herder and had already made quite a name for himself as a focused worker. Then, after an especially difficult trial, he came up acutely lame in the forelegs and weak in the rear. He stumbled and cried out in pain when his head was touched. Kathy came to me distraught… she had seen my story in the newspaper, and unless I could help, Panzer faced sure destruction.
Boru, a ten-year old Newfoundland, was brought to my clinic by his owner. This experienced obedience and water trial competitor had received my name from a fellow competitor who had recognized Boru's troubles.
When I met Boru, he was a 140-pound dog who could no longer jump even a log. This was a result of what is loosely known as "Canine Wobblers Syndrome”. Boru's owner knew that not only could Boru not compete, but he was suffering from a gruesome, progressive and paralytic disease that would slowly claim her beloved friend. She believed the only route left was to let Boru go through euthanasia. Her visit to my clinic came out of courtesy to her fellow competitor.
Murphy, a three-year old miniature Dachshund and treasured family member, came to my clinic paralyzed. She had been "down in the rear" for 16 days and, after evaluation by several conventional veterinary specialists with no results, her family had begun to lose hope. Finally, her owner (a registered nurse) received my name from a human chiropractor who knew of my work. After 16 days of paralysis and no deep pain left in her rear extremities, Murphy was a case no one wanted to touch, a Dachshund owner's worst nightmare.
These cases and thousands of others are the type of patients handled daily at Lake City Animal Hospital in Seattle, Washington.
Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation procedure (VOM) is the procedure used on weak, lame or paralyzed dogs (and cats!). VOM can be typified as a hybrid of chiropractic adjustment and traditional medical care. Like all hybrids, VOM carries the best of both disciplines and, for the last ten years, has been solving lameness, lack of function and performance, and yes, even paralysis.
The adjustments are made with the Activator, a hand-held stainless steel device developed by Dr. Arlan Fuhr, D.C. over 40 years ago, and used by 60% of all human chiropractors. Rapid healing and facilitation of the adjustments are accomplished in some cases with skeletal-muscle relaxants and/or anti-inflammatories. These medicines in small doses, accelerate healing as well as help the pets "keep their adjustments" longer. An average of 4 to 5 adjustments over a 3 to 4 month period will see the pet healed.
What is being treated?
The VOM technology and the Activator device handle the hidden culprit of all these diseases and hundreds of others. This phenomenon of disease is an insidious one, beginning with a soft tissue injury of the paraspinal tissue that heals asymptomatically. After many months (or years), it manifests itself as an acute or chronic deterioration of the spinal nerves, producing lameness, exercise intolerance, incontinence, paralysis, etc. Even hip dysplasia syndromes may be confused with these spinal diseases.
The compromised spinal segment (nerves) set up by soft tissue injuries, collapsed or protruding discs, spinal fractures, or spinal infection produces a phenomenon known as subluxation.
Luxation means "out of joint." A subluxation means just a little out of joint Furthermore, a subluxation will always produce a dysfunctional segment that usually cannot be seen on an x-ray. Detection of subluxation is easily accomplished by use of an Activator diagnostic pass which demonstrates the reflex patterns of the disease caused by the subluxation(s).
The subluxation is a survival mechanism for the whole body, saying "Hey, I've got an injury here. Let's shut down the whole area and avoid this spot in the future." It's similar to a traffic report of an accident in a crowded city during rush hour. You avoid the area and go around the traffic jam. Although we can locate another route to follow, the body nerves go one route. So you end up with loss of function.
The body avoids that area and healing is either delayed, or commences very, very slowly. The body gets a chance to heal "out of adjustment," so even if the clinical signs of subluxation diminish, the compromised nerve segment is still a potential catastrophe. Eventually, through accumulative and compounding effects, the signs are acute progressive paralysis, incontinence, "down in the rear," muscle atrophy, glandular deterioration, senility, liver/kidney failures, and death.
The human chiropractic profession is based on restoring health through reducing subluxations. The veterinary profession has historically ignored the presence of subluxation phenomena, yet acknowledges the radiographic havoc created in the vertebrae, known as spondylosis and spondylititis. There's no doubt that these body changes compromise the nerves exiting throughout the back and thus cause disease.
Traditional veterinary medicine does not concern itself with how these bony changes came about, as they are already there and are the immediate problem. Incidentally, there's no known effective solution to repair these bony changes. The work of the chiropractor and extensive research proves that these are body responses to heal unstable areas of the spine, driven by the subluxation phenomenon. Attempting to repair diseases caused by a subluxation without first reducing the subluxation is comparable to closing the barn door after the horses are out. Ineffective, too little, and too late.
A doggie and kitty chiropractor?
You bet! To assume that millions of humans can be successfully adjusted daily by human chiropractors, but the same idea can't be applied to any other mammal, is ludicrous. In fact, canine and feline patients are superior patients for several reasons. First, they heal seven times faster than human patients. This may be because they're horizontal, not vertical like humans, who bend, twist, stoop, etc. Plus, dogs and cats are generally under much less stress than humans, and they want to get better.
Therefore, a dog may well heal in 4 to 5 adjustments, whereas a person may require between 40 to 50 visits! Cats heal even faster – they're easier to treat, have square bones that are easily moved, and hold their adjustments better than most dogs. Cats truly are a gem to work with.
Is my pet out of adjustment?
Each year the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) in Seattle holds a charity walk in which healthy pets walk 5 miles with their owners. For the 1993 and 1994 walks, I was asked to examine and adjust the participants. Each pet owner considered their pet sound enough to walk the 5 miles, yet 40% of those pets checked had subluxations. Half of those (20%) showed clinical signs, yet only half of those 10%) were recognized by the respective owners.
This leads me to believe that 30% to 40% of all dogs have one or more subluxations of clinical importance…and that their owners are unaware of these problems which will lead to clinical disease.
- Is your pet out of adjustment? Probably so. Will these subluxations. compromise your pet's health? Definitely so. Eventually, subluxations result in the following clinical signs:
- Lameness (intermittent or continual)
- Weakness (inability to climb into the car or up the stairs)
- Incontinence (urinary or fecal leaking or mistakes)
- Clumsiness (tripping, stumbling, missing jumps)
- Exercise intolerance (shying from exertion or jumping)
- Decreased performance
- Hip dysplasia syndromes (any rear leg lameness)
- Pain (acute or mild soreness/tenderness)
- Accelerated aging (premature glandular degeneration)
- Postural changes (roach-back. head tilt, stiff neck, etc.)
- Paralysis (down in the rear or partial paralysis)
- Behavioral/temperament changes (due to chronic pain and frustration)
These syndromes begin with subluxations. Early detection and treatment stops or reduces the damage, and facilitates benefits such as maintained performance, stamina, energy, and gait; prolonged focus and enthusiasm; increased longevity and quality of life; reduction and/or prevention of disease and restoration of natural health.
The myth of hip dysplasia
Coxofemoral osteoarthritis (hip dysplasia) exists in dogs and is an institution in this country. That's even with the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals), a watchdog organization, dedicated to its eradication.
In the last 1,500 hip x-rays of dogs with hip dysplasia-like syndromes diagnosed from their gait, I have found less than 5% of those with actual radiographic evidence of hip dysplasia. Less than 10% exhibit a positive Oterionign, the currently acceptable manual means of detecting hip dysplasia. Today, hip dysplasia has become a convenient catch-all term for any lameness involving the rear legs. Since no adequate cure for hip dysplasia exists, save a very expensive hip-sitting surgery, the condition is diagnosed often but not often treated. The pet wastes away and is eventually put to sleep. Spinal disease caused by subluxation is the true culprit here, not hip arthritis.
How can I determine if my pet has subluxations?
Your pet should be checked by a qualified practitioner to detect and treat subluxations. This may not be the easiest thing to do in some areas, as the number of veterinary chiropractors is limited. The AVCA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) provides a list of veterinary practitioners trained in chiropractic as well as a compendium of human chiropractors skilled and trained in adjusting animals. Your local chiropractor may be able to help your pet, or refer you to someone qualified.
What can you do at home?
A number of therapeutic techniques are available to handle these problems. VOM, acupuncture, acupressure, therapeutic massage, Feldenkrais therapy, and TTouch all utilize the common healing power of touch and the human/animal bond to restore function. The diseased or compromised area is brought back into communication with the body through awareness of touch.
Try this: gently massage your pet on either side of the spinal area with the tips of your fingers in slow, soothing circles 1” to 3” in diameter. Begin below the back of the head and move systematically down both sides of the spine, simultaneously, to the tail. A therapeutic pass should take 3 to 4 minutes.
Repeat once and then do a similar light touch communication down the outside and inside of all four legs. Finish by making one more pass from the tail area to the neck and then back to the tail.
The entire cycle should take approximately fifteen minutes. Do this daily for seven days, then every other day for two weeks. At this time, evaluate your pet's response. One to three treatments weekly may be all that is needed to maintain health. This process effectively emulates a VOM adjustment or a 20-minute acupuncture session and can be performed by you at any time, without equipment, training or expense.
The most effective healing force we can offer our pets is our own loving touch. Touch has been and will always be the most effective "medicine" we can use.
Today, Panzer is 100% clinically normal, and winning hearts along with trophies and national acclaim as a sheep-herding Rottweiler at each herding trial.
Boru is jumping again and happier than ever, recently finishing the second leg of his Championship.
And little Murphy is playing each day, glad to be an active family member once again, without surgery and a crippling convalescence.
Dr. Inman graduated Phi Beta Kappa with honors from Washington State University. There he concentrated his study on companion animal surgery and clinical neurology. After several years of owning and operating a private practice in a busy Seattle area, he became disappointed with the many surgical solutions to lameness and paralysis that suffered poor success rates.
Dr. Inman originated the Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM) and the Veterinary Myofascial Release Technique (VMR). Since he began in 1984, he has made more than 45,000 successful documented animal adjustments. In addition, he has trained over 4,700 professionals in the United States. He can be reached at 206-523-9917. For a list of practitioners or for more information, go to www.vomtech.com.
Reprinted from The Holistic Dog & Cat Newsletter, fourth quarter 2000, published by Kymythy Schultz, CCN, AHI. Kymythy's book Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats is available via PPNF's online store. Website: www.home.earthlink.net/~affenbar
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Spring 2001| Volume 25, Number 1
Copyright © 2001 Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Inc.®
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