Chiropractic Care For Pets

Happy pet with woman

The focus of chiropractic treatment is the spinal column and nerve system. Most of us are familiar with the application of chiropractic treatment methods in the care of the human population. What is not generally known is the fact that chiropractic treatment can be applied in the care of the veterinary population. Historically, chiropractic treatment of animals most typically involved the care of horses, but veterinary chiropractic also includes the care of cats and dogs, those furry loved ones for whom many of us provide food and shelter.1

The basic principles are the same. Spinal misalignments cause nerve irritation and soft tissue inflammation. Soft tissue inflammation causes pain, muscular tightness, decrease in joint range of motion, altered biomechanics, and, ultimately, injury. Such musculoskeletal injuries may be mild, moderate, or severe and time to recover depends on the nature of the injury.

Additionally, nerve irritation causes an altered flow of information between the brain and the rest of the body. At the cellular level, these structures may receive incorrect information regarding the timing and performance of their functions. At the other end of the feedback loop, the brain may receive inaccurate information regarding the biochemical state of the cells themselves. Depending on which organ systems are affected, nerve irritation may impact any or all of the cardiorespiratory, digestive, hormonal, and immune systems. As a result of undetected nerve interference, both people and animals may begin to demonstrate signs and symptoms of various illnesses.

The range of human disorders is generally well known. With respect to early warning signs and symptoms of diseases common to animals, horses may cough, be depressed, or lose their appetite. Cats may experience weight loss, dry coat, thirst, and sneezing. Similarly, dogs may experience a change in appetite, lethargy, dehydration, and labored breathing. Overall, most of these animal disorders may be related to conditions associated with named disease entities as well as nerve irritation.

Chiropractic treatment provides great benefit in the care of horses, cats, and dogs by addressing many of the underlying causes of common disorders. By detecting and correcting sources of nerve irritation and restoring optimal biomechanics of the spine, chiropractic care helps to restore normal physiology and function. As many of the root causes of the disorder are corrected, your beloved animal begins to feel better and demonstrate increased liveliness and well-being.

Chiropractic treatment for pets is similar to chiropractic treatment for people.2,3 Depending on the particular animal, chiropractic adjustments may be used. For others, soft tissue techniques such as muscular relaxation, kinesiology, and trigger point therapy may be utilized. The overall goal is to restore spinal integrity and restore optimal function to the nerve system, the body's master system. In this way, chiropractic care helps all members of your extended family achieve high levels of health and wellness.


1Hesbach AL: Manual therapy in veterinary rehabilitation. Top Companion Anim Med 29(1):20-23, 2014

2Haussler KK: Equine Manual Therapies in Sport Horse Practice. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 34(2):375-389, 2018

3Edge-Hughes L: Canine thoracic costovertebral and costotransverse joints: three case reports of dysfunction and manual therapy guidelines for assessment and treatment of these structures. Top Companion Anim Med 29(1):1-5, 2014

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Sturgis Chiropractic

824 1st Street
Sturgis, SD 57785

Phone: 605-347-4003

Fax: 605-347-6929

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Buffalo Chiropractic

209 Ramsland St.
Buffalo, SD 57720

Phone: 605-375-3744

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136 Broadway St.
Central City, SD 57754

Phone: 605-717-0074

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  • "Before receiving chiropractic care I was unable to walk one block without hip and low back pain. Now I am able to walk 2 miles without pain since manual manipulation and back exercises. The most special part of my experience with Dr. Johnson was understanding why I have back pain. If you want to live pain free, then see Dr. Johnson."
    Karen Whitewood, SD
  • "The pain in my hip and low back put me at a stop. I couldn't work at all. My back greatly improved with adjustments. Chiropractic care took my pain away. The doctor offered kindness, friendship, and understanding. Not to worry, you will be well taken care of."
    Aldon Whitewood, SD Retired mechanic
  • "Due to arthritis in my neck I was having difficulty moving my neck and could not function. I even found it very difficult to drive my car. Currently at this time I have full mobility and I am proud to say that I am pain free. Dr Gunderson and staff are the best! I prefer a real solution and not pain killers. I feel like a new person... I have more energy, good sleep and my mood has greatly improved. Thank you!"
    Lynn Whitewood, SD Retired