Companion Animal Chiropractic


Susan Bjerkelund

Bsc (Biology), DVM, Certified Animal Chiropractor

What is Animal Chiropractic?

Animal chiropractic is the science of the relationship between an animal’s spine and nervous system, that is, how structure affects the functions of the entire body. By maintaining this important balance, the animal chiropractor seeks to maintains health. This goal is achieved through a series of carefully controlled, gentle adjustments of the spinal joints and limbs, allowing normal neurological and bio-mechanical function to return, ultimately restoring the animal’s well being. Animal chiropractic care complements regular veterinary care.

When a spinal joint is subluxated, or out of alignment, it’s normal function is impaired. Subluxations can lead to a number of symptoms, especially pain. Animals may not show obvious signs of pain, instead they will begin to compensate by shifting their weight away from the painful joint. This leads to changes in their stance or gait, perhaps the appearance of stiffness or in-coordination, or the inability or unwillingness to perform their usual activities. Over time, these compensations will result in the stress and eventual breakdown of joint capsules, cartilage, ligaments and tendons that support the joint. Subluxations can also lead to the irritation of spinal nerves, and thus abnormal nerve function. By correcting a sublaxation, joint motion is restored, stress to supporting structures is removed, nerves are no longer irritated and pain is relieved.

What are some indications that my pet may benefit from chiropractic care?

  • increased sensitivity to touch while being petted or groomed
  • pain or discomfort·
  • behaviour changes
  • decreased energy or tiring more quickly during exercise
  • stiffness upon rising or after exercise
  • difficulty getting comfortable
  • abnormal gait or posture
  • weakness or stumbling
  • difficulty climbing stairs or jumping into a vehicle
  • limping
  • urinary incontinence
  • anal sac problems
  • skin lesions such as lick granulomas
  • puppy evaluation, adult and senior wellness
  • as a component of post-surgical rehabilitation

Chiropractic can be used:

  • to reduce symptoms (above)
  • to improve performance
  • to maintain optimal health

What can I expect during an examination and treatment?

Although a referral is not required prior to starting chiropractic care, it is recommended that your pet be assessed by your family veterinarian first to rule out any non-chiropractic conditions such as fractures and ruptures ligaments. If radiographs (x-rays) have been taken by your family veterinarian, please bring them to your appointment. During the initial visit, a complete history will be collected, followed by an evaluation of your pet’s posture and gait, and palpation of their spine and limbs. Radiographs (x-rays) may be recommended prior to treatment to better assess your pet’s condition. Once your pet has been assessed, treatment can begin, this involves the application of a precise, quick, gentle force by hand to the affected joint(s).Some pets entering a veterinary hospital may be nervous, and therefore every effort is made to help them relax. The adjustments are not painful and many pets soon begin to enjoy their treatments. No sedation or other injections will be given during these visits. To assist in the healing process, there may be some at home exercises recommended to be done between visits.

How long will my pet’s treatment continue?

Each pet is an individual and each condition is unique. In general, animals respond quickly to chiropractic care, however, depending upon the type of injury or condition, the chronicity of the condition, or the type of work the animal performs, the number of treatments required will vary. Each treatment plan is specific to your pet’s need.

If you wish to book an appointment with Dr. Bjerkelund, please contact reception at (807) 345-3353.