Equine Chiropractic Care

Why would my horse need chiropractic treatment?

Routine wear and tear, stress, changes in work load or layups/rehab all add biomechanical stress to the horse's body. Biomechanical stress can cause abnormal stress to the joints as well as the muscles. This can cause the joints to be "stuck" within their normal range of motion. Chiropractors call this a Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). A VSC not only places added stress to the joints and the muscles, but it also inhibits the peripheral nerves ability to smoothly and quickly communicate with the rest of the body. Equine chiropractic care is a drugless alternative method of treatment to help horses that are suffering from a VSC.

Signs and symptoms that my horse may need chiropractic treatment

Horses with VSCs may present with many symptoms, the most common of which is pain. Horses with back pain often express this in their posture or in their refusal to work. They often attempt to compensate for the pain by changing posture and way of going, resulting in other problems such as joint changes. The following symptoms in a horse may indicate pain caused by a subluxation:

  • Reduced performance
  • Abnormal posture
  • Snapping or pinning ears when being saddled
  • Insubordination when being ridden
  • Head tossing or hollowing the back
  • Swishing its tail and pinning back its ears
  • Disobedience when jumping
  • Difficulties with collected or lateral gaits
  • Changes in behavior
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Rider is seated off center due to the horse
  • The back does not swing
  • Unleveled gait rhythm
  • Irregular gait which can't be assigned to a particular leg
  • 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

Keep in mind that your horse may or may not experience any symptoms of spinal misalignment but a regular check up will help to prevent any problems that may arise in the future!

What to expect

The initial visit will take a little longer to allow for a thorough history as well as chiropractic examination. I always start with watching the horse walk and trot to determine how their gait is affected. Next, I do a general muscle evaluation to determine symmetry and tone. From there, motion palpation is performed to determine areas where a VSC may be located. Next, I adjust the stuck segments. I routinely look at the balance of the hooves, the teeth and the saddle to ensure that your horse is as comfortable as possible. The initial exam commonly takes about 45 minutes. Routine follow up treatments are about 30 minutes.

Additional Resources:  http://greensborochiropractor.com