Research News Staff
New Research on Dogs & Chiropractic

Chiropractic May Offer Relief to Suffering Canines

Recent research reported in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research regarding improvement in a 14 year old dog suffering with severe health challenges reveals that chiropractic could play an important role in managing canines. The research discussed a case of a Boston Terrier mix with severe constipation, inability to stand or walk and excessive thirst whose problems resolved following chiropractic care. 

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“Research is revealing that there is a relationship between abnormalities in the spine, nervous and gastrointestinal 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.”

Research has shown not only that the nervous system controls and coordinates all functions in the body but that complex neurochemical communication and pathways involved in helping animals adapt to their environment are tied into spinal biomechanics and their related neurological pathways. 

According to McCoy “The brain constantly needs and wants to know what is going on in the body. If there is obstruction to the neurological communication between the spine and the brain all sorts of malfunctions can occur and this can lead to symptoms such as constipation, weakness and other disorders.” 

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

“There are very important structural and functional relationships between the spine 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 are structural shifts of the spinal vertebra these can lead to nerve obstruction. It is this obstruction, called vertebral subluxation, that chiropractors correct.” 

The canine reported on in this research was a 14-year-old female Boston Terrier mix with a history of constipation, excessive thirst and generalized weakness. She had been seen, x-rayed and treated by a veterinarian with drugs and injections but despite this her condition continued to decline and the dog was hospitalized. Following continued deterioration of her condition the owner sought chiropractic care. 

The dog was brought to the chiropractor in a wagon because she was unable to walk independently and was unable to stand without her hind limbs collapsing. 

Chiropractic examination revealed bilateral hind limb weakness, spasm of the spinal muscles and structural spinal shifts in the neck, mid back, 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. 

Immediately following chiropractic adjustments the dog was taken outside to evaluate for changes in posture and ability to walk. The dog could stand and walk a couple of steps without assistance and experienced a bowel movement of significant volume and the dog recovered. 

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

Contact Information: 

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