Dr. Daniel David Palmer developed chiropractic over 100 years ago as a system to be used on humans and on any animal with a vertebral system. In the early 1900s, chiropractors were trained to adjust humans, horses, dogs, cats and other animals. In the 1980s with the founding of a chiropractic school that trained both veterinarians and human chiropractors how to adjust animals, Animal chiropractic is gaining recognition.
When I studied animal chiropractic, I was told that any animal with a subluxation needs chiropractic. Subluxation is a chiropractic term for a vertebra that is not moving properly within the spine. The only way to know if a subluxation exists in your feline is to have him or her examined by a veterinarian or chiropractor doctor certified in animal chiropractic.
As a doctor certified in animal chiropractic, I detect the lack of movement in the spine and correct the area. Felines are much better at hiding signs of pain and discomfort than their counterpart the canine. Symptoms that your cat may have back pain and needs a chiropractor can include any of the following:
- Stretching excessively (for five to ten minutes) after rising
- Stiff or slow gait
- Slow moving up or down stairs
- Pain on when picking up
- Inability or increased time to jump up on the couch or bed
- Incontinence or Constipation
- Limping on one leg or dragging toes
- Grinding teeth
- Inability to get into the litter box
- Dislike of back end touch
- Rolling or flinching skin when touched
- Excess licking of legs
- Decreased grooming behavior
Many of these signs could signal other problems thus your cat will first be evaluated by his/her veterinarian. The veterinarian will then refer your pet for Chiropractic Care as needed.
Felines need to be adjusted differently than any other animal. Many do not like to be held or touched for long periods, so light touch methods are needed. As well, it is best for the owner to be calm so the animal does not pick up on your hesitation.
The feline could receive an adjustment on an exam table but many of my patients prefer a couch, a cushion on the floor or a window seat. A calm environment for owner and pet is vital and we strive to accomplish this for ease of adjusting.
Before adjusting a feline, I like to introduce myself and get to know him/her a little better. I will run my hands over him/her, check for areas of heat, and gently palpate for any tender spots and chiropractic subluxations. There are a few relaxation points on the feline’s head that I will massage to help him relax. Once I have determined where his problem lies, I will quickly but gently adjust him/her.
Overall, most felines enjoy chiropractic adjustments and respond quite well to them. Normally a feline will need a series of adjustments one week apart for three to five weeks. Felines are naturally flexible, with longer thinner vertebrae than canines, so they seem to respond to chiropractic more rapidly.
I have treated cats with kidney failure, diabetes, urinary incontinence, seizures, arthritis, injuries and constipation, with chiropractic. Although it may not be the only therapy for these patients, it has helped improve the quality of life and recovery time for many.