Rowdy, a 27-year-old dressage disciplined horse, greets me for his treatments and his owner sees his comfort and relaxed nature return afterwards. She also notes the return of his enthusiasm for entering the arena to exercise.

Entering my 20th year as a chiropractor and sixth year as an Internationally Certified Animal Chiropractor, owners of my geriatric animal patients attest to the benefits and wonders of chiropractic maintenance care. Common treatment feedback includes: “He acts like he’s a puppy, again”; “She’s hopping up to her favorite window view”; and “His ears perk up and he happily enters the arena to exercise!” These statements are from dog, cat and horse owners respectively, as I see both large and small animals with veterinary approval in Minnesota.

A natural part of aging is the slow deterioration of body tissues, including the skeletal, muscle and neurological systems. Chiropractic is founded on the principle of the body’s own innate (inner-knowing) ability to heal itself. The chiropractic adjustment focuses on helping the body do that by restoring optimal function to the joints throughout the spine and limbs, which has a direct impact on the nervous system.

The old saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” agrees with this. By ensuring joints continue to move as optimally as possible, we find we help maintain the health of not only of the joints (skeletal system) but of the neuromuscular systems, as well. That said, we know the nervous system plays an integral role in the function of all body systems. Activity is necessary in tissues to keep them healthy; inactivity invites both disease and deterioration. Plenty of research substantiates the importance of activity for maintaining health, whether you are a two- or four-legged creature.

Wanting to provide the best care possible for your animal requires finding professionally trained practitioners, not self-proclaimed or self-taught individuals. A little research goes a long way in protecting your animal from harm! Both chiropractors and veterinarians spend years of study attaining their knowledge and skills, plus additional intense studying to attain the Animal Chiropractic Certification. Looking for an International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA) or American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) registered practitioner lets you know you are dealing with a legitimate practitioner.

My professionally skilled training and years of adjusting experience taught me that “less is more.” Very specific, high speed, yet gentle, adjusting with my fingers and hands make the difference in my technique, as well as the positive animal response to my chiropractic care. Add to that, owners and observers have made these observations about my approach with animals: “You respectfully approach and engage them like people”; “You are so gentle and kind with them”; and “Your patient, unrushed manner with my animal made all the difference.” Consider finding highly qualified and gentle chiropractic care for the graceful aging of your animal!

Samhain was a geriatric cat that began missing her jumps and leaps. Her owner proclaims additional comfortable and happy years for her as a result of combining compassionate chiropractic with her competent and cooperative veterinary care. Blackie, a Rottweiler/Black Retriever cross, responded with sighs of relief during treatment, and for days and weeks after, the owner described puppy like playfulness and improved energy and mobility.

My non-geriatric Golden Retriever, Angel, required some skilled palpation and trained observation that told me she had something quite wrong internally. Her veterinarian couldn’t feel what I palpated, yet trusted my professional ability enough to do more clinical testing and diagnostic imaging that allowed for earlier than normal identification of a hemangiosarcoma tumor in her spleen. Despite emergency surgery that she successfully recovered from, the cancer returned with a vengeance to claim her life one month later.

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