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Animal chiropractors help straighten out furry friends

By John Craven, Reporter, JCraven@wfmz.com
Published On: May 05 2013 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: May 07 2013 06:45:25 AM CDT

If you've got a knot in your neck, you might go to a chiropractor. But did you know that Fluffy and Fido can get adjusted too?

If you've got a knot in your neck, you might go to a chiropractor. But did you know that Fluffy and Fido can get adjusted too?

Animal chiropractic care is a growing trend, although there are skeptics.

It's not every day that a dog is excited to go to the vet, but this is not your ordinary procedure.

"We're talking about animal chiropractic care," said Bucks Co. veterinarian Dr. Suzanne Walski.

Walski is one of the few animal chiropractors in our area and practices at Meadowbrook Animal Hospital in Ottsville.

"Anything that has a spinal cord can be adjusted," she said.

Chiropractic care started out with horses, but can now be used for almost any animal suffering from joint pain or a limp.

"Sometimes it's holding a leg up, not using it," Walski said of her patients. "Animals that have slipped discs, herniated discs -- that can be very, very helpful."

And if you're expecting the kind of neck-wrenching treatment humans often get, think again. Animal adjustments are amazingly gentle, and generally only take about five minutes.

"On a little animal like him, it doesn't take much," Walski said.

There are the skeptics who claim that veterinary chiropractic is nothing but a quack science. Few studies have been conducted looking at its effectiveness, and few regulations exist concerning its practice.

Other studies have questioned its effectiveness.

Walski dismisses those claims and insists proper chiropractic therapy works.

"There's quacks in every profession," said Walski.

Not all animal chiropractors are vets -- in fact, some are also human chiropractors -- but Walski said they should be accredited by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. She said that accreditation is crucial because animals have a very different anatomy than people.

As for the cost? Walski charges about $100 for an initial one-hour consultation, and $55-60 for subsequent adjustments.

"You want to give at least six adjustments, and they're usually about a week apart," she said.

For more information, visit the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association website.