How to Know if Your Pet Needs an Animal Chiropractor?

You may know about chiropractic care for yourself, but there are animal chiropractors near you too!

If your animal is older or showing unusual signs or symptoms, an animal chiropractor visit may help. It is also wise to consider routine chiropractic care to keep your pets in great physical health & feeling their best.

Your Guide to Animal Chiropractic Care

Routine visits to animal chiropractors help your animals feel their best, while also preventing future problems with joints, alignment & back issues.

Chiropractic care for animals can help with a multitude of symptoms & conditions including; disc issues, arthritis, ACL tear, sprain/strains, headaches, pinched nerves and many other issues.

If you think your pet could need an animal chiropractor, Dr. Keenan Massey at Arrowhead Veterinary Services and Country Kennels  is in Kansas City to help!

How do I know if my animal needs chiropractic work?

Usually, when something changes in your pet’s daily movements or routine, you should consult an animal chiropractor.

Did they recently start limping? Has your pet recently fallen? Is there an odd amount of skin twitch in the back? These are all examples of symptoms to look out for.

Symptoms that your animal may need alignment or chiropractic care include:

  • Difficulty getting up from a seated or laying position
  • Low back pain
  • Limping
  • Hesitates when jumping in car, climbing or jumping down
  • Shifting weight from back to front or side to side
  • Inability to walk
  • Not putting weight on limb or paws
  • Not lifting up their head
  • Sitting crooked
  • Arching back
  • Laying on only 1 side
  • Heavy panting or wincing when touched/picked up
  • Trouble turning in a certain direction
  • Change in their movement pattern such as a weird gait
  • Trouble squatting to go to the bathroom

Animals can hide their injuries through “compensation” –  shifting weight and walking or sitting differently to avoid pain. It’s a built-in survival mechanism to not show pain. Unfortunately, animals can compensate for only so long before their body breaks down.

As soon as you notice any symptoms, make a chiropractor appointment for your pet. By the time you see symptoms, your pet has likely been compensating for awhile…

What to do if my dog is limping?

If your dog develops a new limp, its always best to visit your vet first to rule out anything major.

Dogs tend to play rough and it’s very easy for them to knock something out of alignment. These issues can easily be fixed with animal chiropractic but there is always the potential for something worse. Animal chiropractors can’t treat an ACL tear, but they can help ensure no additional injuries due to the animal compensating for an injured leg.

How often do animal need chiropractic care?

Dr. Keenan Massey recommends that every animal see a certified animal chiropractor at least 2-3 times per year, similar to dentist check-ups. You don’t only go to the dentist when there is an issue, but you also go for preventative care…

Like going to the dentist, you shouldn’t only see a chiropractor when there is an issue. Routine visits are important for preventative/maintenance care a few times per year.

If your pets are older or involved in physical labor, 4 or more times per year may be recommended. This could include cattle dogs, hunting dogs & elderly pets.

How often for animal adjustments?

Animals tend to have stronger responses to being adjusted than people do. So, for routine maintenance/preventative care animals should only need to be adjusted a few times a year and for major issues, once a week.

Deepening on the issue, you may see improvement in the first visit. However,

What animals can get chiropractic care?

Animal chiropractors can treat dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, ferrets, cows, pigs, goats, small animals & farm animals. They cannot treat birds, fish or reptiles.

Where to get Chiropractic Care for Animals

Unfortunately, Dr. Massey cannot make home visits due to state laws in Missouri. Animal chiropractors must be under the supervision of a vet to treat animals.

Visit Arrowhead Veterinary Services and Country Kennels for animal chiropractic care in Kansas City. If you have farm animals, chiropractors can travel to farms, but a vet still needs to be present.

He accepts pet health insurance too!

What to expect after first animal chiropractor visit?

At most your animal might feel a bit sore for a day after being adjusted.

What to expect after your first chiro visit depends on what your animal is being treated for but I usually see 3 outcomes.

If your healthy pet is coming to see me just for maintenance care you’ll mostly likely see a slight increase in energy or overall demeanor, or your animal will just continue to be its healthy self.

If you’re coming in with an animal the maybe had a fall or played to rough at the dog park and they are limping or seem stiff, you can expect to see anywhere from the complete improvement of symptoms to about 50 percent improvement.

If its a major issues like a disc herniation, you likely won’t see much improvement after the first visit. Anything that has to do with the nervous system or any major damage tends to heal slowly and may take several treatments before any major change is noticed. Disc issues generally take 4-6 visits before any noticeable improvement happens.

Any other things to consider?

One thing that tends to surprise people is  your dog may yelp when being adjusted.

If you’ve been adjusted before, you know that a sore area in your back might be a bit painful during the adjustment, but will feel better afterwards. Dogs can’t tell me “Hey that was a bit sore when you adjusted it”, so most of the time they might yelp when I adjust tender areas.

Generally, animals won’t, but it tends to surprise people when I find a spot that was a bit sore.

If your animal needs chiropractic care, or you notice any of these symptoms, reach out to Dr. Keenan Massey with questions or to schedule an appointment. You can email  or call/text (816) 507-9296. Or, stop by Arrowhead Veterinary Services and Country Kennels.

Hours are: Monday to Friday 8 am – 5 pm, Saturday 8 am – Noon, CLOSED Sundays.

Dr. Keenan Massey is not a veterinarian and doesn’t replace regular veterinarian care. Animal chiropractic works best when used in tandem with regular vet care. Generally with major issues, like disc issues or ACL tears, I’ll ask that the client go to the vet first and get a diagnosis from them as well as any prescriptions the vet might provide.

This article, and any information provided by Dr. Massey via website or email correspondence, is not an attempt to diagnose or treat animals. All information and/or comments are based solely on the experience, education, insight and opinion of the chiropractor.

You should always consult at licensed veterinarian on matters of animal health.

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From our furry family to yours, iPetsKC

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