Integrative Treatments For Horses
Chiropractic care is a manual therapy focused on biomechanical dysfunction of the spine. Chiropractic evaluation does not replace traditional veterinary medicine, but can provide additional means of diagnosis and treatment options for musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders. Chiropractic care identifies restricted motion within vertebral facet joints, called functional misalignments.
Dr. Paul Duff attended Options for Animals Chiropractic College in Kansas City and is certified in Animal Chiropractic by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Dr. Paul Duff is certified in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture. Acupuncture is the act of placing a fine needle into the body at specific points. It is a tool we can use to interact with the central nervous system (via the muscles and peripheral nerves), which controls all functions of the body. Acupuncture has been evolving over the last 3,000 years. Through research, we have learned much about how and why it works.
What Happens at a Horse Chiropractic Appointment?
Chiropractic adjustments are the manual therapy applied to restore mobility and address neurological dysfunction along the spine. Chiropractic treatment can often eliminate the source of acute or chronic pain symptoms and allow the muscles and ligaments to maintain normal spinal function.
During an initial Chiropractic evaluation, Dr. Paul will palpate muscles and motion joints throughout your horse’s body. This allows him to identify abnormal swellings, muscle soreness or spasms, decreases in joint range of motion, etc. If restricted joint motion is identified, Chiropractic listings will be diagnosed and treated with an adjustment. Other abnormalities that may be identified can also be addressed as well. Chiropractic appointments can be scheduled in the hospital, or out at your barn.
Reasons to consider treatment with chiropractic
Here are some indicators that your horse could benefit from an evaluation:
- Poor performance or discomfort when saddled
- Lameness, stiffness, back, neck, or tail pain
- Abnormal Posture/ Changes in posture or topline
- Difficulty bending to one side or a "hollow topline"
- Reluctance to pick up or maintain a lead
- Difficulty engaging the hind end or traveling long & low
- Head tilt, difficulty chewing
- Uneven muscle development or atrophy
- Difficulty flexing at the poll, pulling on one rein
- Difficulty getting up & down
- Changes in behavior or attitude
Why Use Acupuncture on Horses?
Acupuncture points are located where nerve bundles exit connective tissues near major blood vessels surrounded by small nerve bundles, at motor points (where nerves enter or exit the muscle), and at trigger points in muscles.
Acupuncture is used at Columbia Equine Hospital as a valuable complementary treatment tool that should always be performed by a licensed veterinarian certified in acupuncture and is not a replacement for a “Western” physical examination and conventional treatments. Equine acupuncture has minimal side effects and can be used simultaneously with most drugs and conventional therapies. Acupuncture for horses also provides another treatment option we can offer our patients near Gresham when other diagnostics/therapies have been unsuccessful.
Conditions for which to consider acupuncture
- Muscle soreness
- Nerve injuries/paralysis
- Back/neck pain
- Laminitis (“Founder”)
- Tendon injuries
- Wound healing
- Non-surgical colic
- Recurrent Airway Obstruction (“Heaves”)
- Corneal ulcers and other eye problems
- Reproductive difficulty
Why use acupuncture as part of a treatment plan for your horse?
- Better control of chronic diseases
- Speed healing time
- Pain control (muscle soreness from rigorous training; post-trauma or post-operative pain)
- Maintenance of performance level
- Reduce inflammation
- Normalize circulation
- Achieve general wellness through preventive medicine