" If your dog is fat you are not getting enough exercise"

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How do I know if my pet needs to see a chiropractor?

I get this question a lot!  If your pet is experiencing; neck, back, leg or tail pain, limping or lameness, problems getting up or down, wobbly or uncoordinated gait, hunched back, lack of energy/play, won't jump up or down, bowel or bladder problems, gait issues, muscle loss, saddling issues, won't pick up certain gaits, halter or bit issues, paralysis, disc disease or arthritis; chiropractic may be able to help.  I've also worked with pets to help with; reverse sneezing, bucking, irritability, leaking urine, neck spasms, old age, scoliosis, surgery recovery and to help improve show and athletic performance.  Some pets may show signs of discomfort such as flinching when getting pet or brushed, growling or biting, whimpering, shaking, or simply not doing anything when they would normally be running around.  If your pet is or has experienced any of these in the past, chiropractic treatments may be an alternative option to try before loading them up with medications or performing surgeries.  Chiropractic works great with traditional veterinary medicine as well as with other alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage and laser therapies.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Animal Chiropractic.....Really?

I get this question just about every day. When people first find out that I work on animal patients as well as a human patients they almost always respond with, Really?!? Is that even possible? Why does my pet need adjustments? Or, how do you adjust a dog or even a horse for that matter?
My answer is simple. Animals in general, have the same parts that we do and are subject to trauma and other stresses of the world just as we are. They have spinal columns just like we do and those vertebra can subluxate (mis-align) just like ours can. When that happens they to can have pain just like we can. So, why not have Animal Chiropractors? All of our fury friends, wether it's your hunting buddy, running partner, squirrel chaser or yes, even your lap dog deserves to be in the best health possible!

Thursday, January 20, 2011


A few months ago I had my first encounter with a "Potcake".  A "Potcake" is a recognized breed of dog from the Bahamas, and in the Turks and Caicos Islands.  "Potcake" is the Bahamian word for the thick food that remains on the bottom of a pot of peas and rice.  The Bahamian people would feed these leftovers to the outdoor, indigenous dogs that roamed the Bahamas.  Hence how they got their names!  This breed has a wonderful temperament and a unique look.  One of my clients recently went on vacation and adopted one while she was there! For more information on Potcakes you can check out www.potcakeplace.com and www.potcake.org

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Dwarf Genes

2009-2010 was the year of the Dachshunds.  A good 40%-50% of my clients were Dachshunds. Most of them came to me in pain and with a gait issue, either dragging their hind legs or walking like they had a few to many drinks.  This is unfortunately a story I hear and see to often due to dwarf genes found in Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, Beagles etc. These breeds of dogs are called Chondrodystropic (referring to abnormal cartilage) breeds and are  prone to Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD).  The disc is located in-between the vertebra and is made of cartilage and can degenerate (thin), calcify, bulge or rupture causing pain, in-coordination, wobbly gait or paralysis.  IVDD often occurs at a much faster rate in Chondrodystropic breeds and can be seen in some dogs as young as 6 months. Most of the dogs I've worked with have been around 2-6 years of age.  Some come in after an injury like jumping out of the car or off of the bed/couch and in some it just seems to come on over the course of a few days.  These dogs are usually referred to me after they've been to their primary veterinarian, have had x-rays, are on a course of anti-inflammatories and pain medications and their owners don't know what else to do and do not want to have surgery.  To this date I've never had 1 dog that hasn't walked after it came to me down.  Some it takes as little as a week to get them up and moving and my longest took about 3 months but they can now all walk and have regained their quality of life back. 
With all of the Dachshunds I met and worked with I started to fall in love with their cute stubby legs and attention craving personalities.  In 2009 I got Winston and although I know way to well of the issues these dogs can have with their backs I figured that if heaven forbid, my little Winston's back gets bad that at least I can adjust him and work on him daily until he is up and well again.
There are a few things you can do to help prevent and or reduce the symptoms of IVDD in your pet by, #1: making sure they are not overweight and get plenty of exercise, #2: reduce jumping up and down as much as possible (build ramps or steps if necessary or lift up or down) and #3: have your pet on a glucosamine supplement to help keep their joints strong.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tick Paralysis

One of the vets that I work with called me this week and left me a message about a patient of ours that we both saw last week. It was a older black lab that came in and had sudden in-coordination/paralysis of the hind legs with no known injury.  The paralysis seemed to come on over the course of a few days and seemed to be getting worse. The owner also mentioned that the dogs bark had changed from a really low and loud pitched voice to a very high and soft bark and she was wondering if that had anything to do with her hind end weakness.  I couldn't correlate her bark to her back/legs unless she was in some sort of pain which she really didn't seem to be. I did my usual exam and looked over the x-rays of the lumbar spine and pelvis. For an older dog the x-rays looked pretty good and her back wasn't that far out of alignment. I found some mild areas of restriction in her spine so I adjusted her and she was off to have her acupuncture and laser therapy. I would see her again in 2 weeks to see how she was doing.  Before they left that day the vet that I work with did a little research on loss of bark in dogs and came across Sudden Tick Paralysis.  The owners were sent home with a box of Frontline just in case. 
Sudden Tick Paralysis is a somewhat rare occurrence from what I've heard (the vet I work with had not seen a case of it yet and I've never heard of it) and occurs when an engorged female tick produces a neurotoxin and transmits it to the host when feeding.  Paralysis and in-coordination of the hind legs is one of the first symptoms following with the front legs and it can also effect the respiratory system (hence the loss of voice).  If the tick is not removed death can occur at a rapid pace.  Once the tick is removed often the symptoms rapidly disappear. 
This particular patient was in this past week to have another acupuncture treatment when apparently she walked right in and her voice was also back to normal!  What an interesting case...I guess we don't know for sure if that's what it was but it sure does sound like it.  I will know more this week when I get to see them again.   Just when you think it's the dead of winter and there shouldn't be any ticks outside guess again.  Make sure to use Frontline on a regular basis and check your pets for ticks if they go outside.  Another lesson learned!