Chiropractic and Acupuncture
Taking the work of touch to the next level, the use of chiropractic techniques and acupuncture on dogs (and other animals) are also becoming more widely used as more and more dogs are benefiting from them.
The term chiropractic comes from two Greek words — cheira and praktikos — and means “done by hand.” It is the practice of assessing mechanical abnormalities of the spine and musculoskeletal system to affect relief through the nervous system. The premise is that pain is the result of an impaired nervous system as influenced by the position of the spine. Once adjustments are made to the spine and the surrounding musculature, the pain is relieved. Treatment depends on the condition being addressed.
The best way to find a cure is by actively seeking one based on your dog's health issues. All searches should begin with a trusted veterinarian who can give you the best conventional perspective. From there, the search can and should continue with the simplest and purest of intentions: to make the quality of life of your dog the best possible.
Chiropractic is more and more commonly practiced on horses and companion animals — particularly those involved in competitive sports such as show jumping, dressage and eventing for horses, and agility and other physically demanding sports for dogs. It's not always easy to find a canine chiropractor near you, but as success stories emerge and demand grows, their numbers are increasing. Animal practitioners need to be trained just as human chiropractors do. The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) provides credentials, and on its Web site (www.animalchiropractic.org) you can find referrals as well as other information.
The ancient practice of acupuncture takes stimulation to yet another level: through needles applied directly to “meridians” in the body that correspond to the area that needs relief. This is an outrageously oversimplified summary of a healing procedure that dates back nearly 10,000 years and whose use in western veterinary medicine is still in its infancy. In fact, it was only in 1998 that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) finally gave the nod to acupuncture, stating in its Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Medicine that acupuncture and acutherapy were integral parts of veterinary medicine.