New Research on Chiropractic for Dogs

Research News Staff
New Research on Chiropractic for Dogs

Research Shows Chiropractic Helps Common Problem

Recent research reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research reveals that chiropractic may play an important role in helping canine patients with patella luxation. “Research is revealing that structural shifts in spinal alignment and the nerve obstruction they cause may be a factor in a number of disorders and can result in a host of health problems in dogs and other animals” stated Dr. Matthew McCoy a chiropractor, public health researcher and editor of the journal that published the study.  

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McCoy added “If you damage or compress or otherwise interfere with the structures in the spine, hips and pelvis this can have far reaching implications on the functioning of the body. Through research reports like this we are finding that correcting the structural abnormalities associated with these problems reduces the structural distortion and the dog’s life improves. In this study it was improvement of patella luxation.” 

The study included outcomes from two dogs. The first was a 1-year-old male Aussie/Beagle mix reported on in this study had bilateral patellar luxation. His patellas luxated several times a day while running.  When the luxations occurred, he would begin running on three legs, stop and shake his leg and then try to return to running. Supplements did not improve his symptoms and his veterinarian recommended surgery.   

The chiropractor examined the dog and found structural shifts in his neck and low back.  Gait analysis revealed a limp.  Restrictions in range of motion and muscle tightness were also noted in his neck and low back.  These structural shifts can lead to obstruction of the nerves, and it is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxations, that chiropractors correct. 

Following chiropractic care, he experienced complete resolution of the luxations.  He was moving better and was not having any knee issues.  He was able to run and jump with lots of energy without any incidence of patella luxation.  

The second dog was a 5-year-old female Husky that presented with a history of bilateral luxating patella with the left knee worse than the right. The owner was referred for chiropractic evaluation by the treating veterinarian when the owner asked for different options for correcting the problem. She presented with weak legs and the inability to lift her tail. The dog was unable to do a full stretch, would stop and shake her legs on their daily walks, seemed very wobbly and would spin around as if she was trying to shake, and both patellas would “pop out” several times a day. She was taking Cosequin and Green Mussel supplements to support her joints and was not on any other medication. Motion palpation revealed vertebral subluxations in the pelvis, lumbar spine, and thoracic spine. Range of motion was restricted as she had the inability to extend both legs. Gait analysis showed the dog had a narrow trot, did not have a limp for several yards but it was followed by a limping of the left leg, stopping and starting again with a short narrow trot.   

Following chiropractic the owners stated they had seen a big difference, her knees “didn’t feel like Jello” anymore, and there was no more constant popping. They could take her on walks without any problems and she could play hard in the yard and at doggie day care without limping. 

The study’s author called for additional research to investigate the clinical implications of chiropractic in dogs.

Contact Information: 

Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research
McCoy Press