Today’s horse owners not only have a companion in their barns, they may have an athlete, a prized breeding animal and a partner in modern equine events. Adding the holistic approach of chiropractic care can help many of the health and performance problems typical of the horse. Common complaints from horse owners include resistance or stiffness when moving to one direction, irritability, decreased performance and sensitivity to touch, such as when being groomed.
Horses can experience numerous common stressful or traumatic situations, such as the birth process, conformation of the horse, training and riding equipment, ability of the rider, shoeing trailers, or direct trauma which can cause abnormal or restricted movement to occur in the spine. This change in the spine’s proper movement is what chiropractors call a “subluxation”. When a subluxation occurs, the horse’s spine loses its normal flexibility. The resulting stiffness leads to resistance and decreased performance. The most common symptom associated with spinal subluxations is pain, which can manifest changes itself in a variety of ways. Horses in pain will show compensatory changes in posture and gait. These changes can then cause stress in other joints and muscles.
- lack of impulsion or power
- difficulty in obtaining or maintaining collection
- poor attitude
- gait abnormalities
- being cold-backed or cinchy
- the presence of muscle atrophy
Subluxations may also cause changes in muscle coordination and flexibility that affects the performance ability of the horse. These symptoms may show up any of the following:
- lack of coordination in gait
- unusual or perhaps undefinable gait abnormalities which vary from limb to limb and change depending on gait
- stiffness in lateral movements of neck or back
- rope walking
- shortened stride in one or two limbs
- inability to engage rear quarters
- difficulty flexing at the poll,
- on line or pulling on one rein
Chiropractic adjustments have proven to be invaluable in detecting and treating gait abnormalities and other performance-robbing problems in the athletic horse. It has also been shown to alleviate pain in the back and neck of the horse. Some nerve damage — such as pressure on the sciatic nerve — has responded well to chiropractic adjustments. A chiropractic evaluation of back and joint problems can also provide veterinarian additional means of diagnosis and early treatment options in certain lameness problems; especially conservative treatment of biomechanically-related musculoskeletal disorders.
Chicago horse chiropractic sessions are by appointment only and at your location. Please contact our office for scheduling.