Dr. Jennie Cook, DVM, explained what a chiropractor does and does not do, and then demonstrated a chiropractic adjustment on a 22-year-old roping horse. Dr. Cook is on staff at Equine Veterinary Service in Paducah, Kentucky.
Chiropractic medicine is a noninvasive treatment used to correct confirmation, injury, or soreness from repetitive use. Dr. Cook uses manual manipulation employing a high velocity, low amplitude thrust with her hands to correct a subluxation along the horse’s spine or extremities. In the demonstration, she explained how much force is needed to adjust a joint. She explained that Mass X Acceleration = Force, so “the smaller you are, the faster you have to be.”
Chiropractic medicine was once thought to only have a “placebo” effect (in humans), but the fact that it is so effective with animals eliminates that theory.
In her examination, Dr. Cook wants to know where the horse is stiff, which indicates that a joint may not be moving with its normal range of motion. She wants to know what is the horse’s job and the horse’s age.
As she started at the poll and moved down the horse’s spine, she pushed on the vertebra to see its movement. She determined at what angle the joint is moving and was testing for good range of motion in the joints. When she found a joint that did not have a good range of motion, and that is where an “adjustment” is needed. She said that the “adjustment” won’t take all his pain away, but in the next 24 to 48 hours, he will feel better and his performance will improve.
Sometimes a horse “compensates” for a joint that is not moving properly, and may not appear to be lame. The lameness will, however, show up when the compensation is removed. That is when she finds the “true” cause of the lameness.
Many animals need a “tune up” every 4 to 6 weeks, depending on their job and their age. She sees problems in the sternum and ribs areas in a lot of horse from bad saddle fitting. She also sees problems originating from the rider pulling too hard (on the horse’s mouth) or being behind the motion.
Dr. Cook grew up in southern Illinois, competing in team sorting and rodeo. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of Missouri, Columbia. She is a graduate of the Options for Animals Veterinary Chiropractic Program. For more information, visit https://equinevetservice.com/ and find them on facebook at Equine Veterinary Service, Dr. Tony Hicks.