New Research on Paralyzed Dogs & Chiropractic

Research News Staff
New Research on Paralyzed Dogs & Chiropractic

Chiropractic Offers Relief to Suffering Canines in New Study 

Recent research reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research regarding improvement in 24 dogs suffering from paraplegia and incontinence reveals that chiropractic could play an important role in managing neurological disorders such as this in canines. The research discussed 24 cases of dogs with complete paralysis of the back legs whose problems improved following chiropractic care.  Most of the dogs had also lost their ability to control their urine which also improved.

“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine and the nervous system” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy, a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study. “Research is also showing that animals other than humans additionally benefit from chiropractic care.”

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Research has shown that normal spinal structural integrity, balance and joint movement, are tied into complex neurochemical communication and pathways. This help animals adapt to their environment because it is tied into spinal biomechanics and the nervous system. 

“It makes perfect sense when you think about it” stated Dr. McCoy. “The brain constantly needs and wants to know where our body is in space and what is going on relative to all functions of the body because it wants to have a say in what’s going on. If there is obstruction to the neurological communication between the spine, the brain and the nerves then all sorts of malfunctions can occur and this can lead to symptoms such as paraplegia, weakness, urinary problems and so forth.” 

Researchers studying the connection between chiropractic, nerve obstruction and neurological disorders believe that these types of functional disorders can be caused by even slight misalignments of the bones in the spine. 

“There are very important functional relationships between the spine, the nerves and the brain that if disturbed can result in a host of problems with how the body functions whether it’s a human or a dog” remarked McCoy. He added “If there is abnormal position or movement of the spinal vertebra this can lead to nerve obstruction. It is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxation, that chiropractors correct.” 

The 24 dogs in this study ranged in age from 3 to 17 years and were a mix of breeds. In addition to paralysis of the back legs they had been diagnosed by veterinarians with spinal disc disease. 17 out of the 24 were also incontinent and all of them had muscle wasting.   

The dogs were all examined by the chiropractors which revealed structural shifts of the  mid and low back and pelvis. Structural shifts in the spine can develop and this can lead to obstruction of the nerves. It is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

All 24 dogs had a reversal of their paralysis, incontinence and muscle wasting following chiropractic care. The average number of visits was 5. 

These results suggest a possible link between neurological disorders like paraplegia and spinal subluxations in canines.  Correcting the subluxations through the use of specific chiropractic adjustments appears to have led to resolution of the problem. The authors called for further research in this area.    

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research

McCoy Press