On November 26, 2018, the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research published a study highlighting chiropractic helping dogs that were diagnosed with paraplegia secondary to intervertebral disc disease. The authors noted the reason for this study by saying, “The objective of this article is to explore the role of animal chiropractic in helping canines suffering from hind end paralysis secondary to vertebral subluxation and intervertebral disc disease.”
The study begins by noting that the demand for alternative types of care for animals has been increasing as of late. One of the factors cited in the study for this increase is the expense of surgical procedures and rehabilitation for veterinary care.
Detractors of chiropractic care have long said that the positive results from chiropractic can be explained away by a placebo effect. However, this can not be the case in animals as chiropractic would not present a possibility for placebo effects when rendered to an animal.
It is estimated that 3.5% of dogs will suffer with intervertebral disc disease sometime in their lives. Typical medical treatment is medications or surgery with possibly some physical therapy. As in humans, this regime on canines is often expensive with less than great results.
Chiropractic care for animals centers around the detection and correction of subluxations. The study explains, “Chiropractic addresses vertebral subluxations in the spine via the adjustment. A subluxation, in terms of animal chiropractic, is defined as a shift in the normal structure of one vertebrae compared to those above and below, causing a biomechanical change that can interfere with the nervous system.”This study reviewed 24 individual cases of dogs who were brought into a veterinary chiropractic office. Each canine had been diagnosed with intervertebral disc disease by their respective veterinarians. Additionally, each of the dogs in this study also suffered from varying degrees of hind end paralysis because of their disc problems. The majority of the dogs were recommended to have a MRI followed by disc surgery.
All 24 dogs had significant inflammation and hunching in their mid-back areas. Some were experiencing pain from their problems while others did not seem to exhibit any pain. The common characteristic of the dogs in this study is that each of the 24 were found to have subluxations that were then addressed by chiropractic adjustments.
In this study, all 24 dogs experienced positive results. All 24 recovered completely from their hind end paralysis and were all were able to walk normally again. There was some variation seen from case to case in the amount of time needed, and the number of visits required before total recovery.
In the conclusion of the study, the researchers summed up the results by stating, “Twenty-four canines diagnosed with hind end paralysis secondary to intervertebral disc disease were evaluated and cared for in our practice. Every canine that began care eventually regained the ability to walk again. This indicates that chiropractic care may be an effective treatment to address biomechanical pathology that results from dysfunction of the spine.”