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Features April 2014 Issue

If You’re Thinking of Finding a Chiropractor for Your Dog

Chiropractic has long been perceived by many as pure quackery, perhaps because its founder in the late 1890s, D.D. Palmer, was a believer in popular metaphysical interests of his day and also because of some present-day practitioners’ claims of chiropractic’s usefulness for conditions over which it has no influence, such as kidney disease. But chiropractic has been gaining ground in legitimate professional medical circles over the past 25 years.

Granted, with an absence of clinical trials to determine its value in a scientific manner, animal chiropractic care's worth has been backed up mainly by anecdotes. But increasingly, those anecdotes are coming from veterinarians who either refer patients to certified animal chiropractors or earn their own certification.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, for its part, doesn't take a stand on chiropractic’s value one way or another. But the organization provides links on its site (avma.org) to help educate consumers on rules surrounding certification in the various states for this and other unconventional therapies. Click on the “advocacy” tab and scroll down to “State & Local issues.” From there, scroll down and click on “Scope of practice issues” and then click on the second link after the “Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine” heading. It will contain information about various states’ rules and regulations for chiropractic and other techniques and where to gain further information about regulations in your particular state.

Note that for those health professionals who seek certification in chiropractic, attendance at an animal chiropractic program approved by the Animal Chiropractic Accreditation Commission of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association is required. Three programs in the United States are currently approved: those at Parker College of Chiropractic, Dallas; Oasis Wellness Center, Sturtevant, Wisconsin; and Options for Animals, Wellsville, Kansas.

Once coursework has been completed, both doctors of veterinary medicine and licensed doctors of chiropractic must exceed the minimum level of competency set by the Examining Board for exams, which are both written and clinical.

To find a professional certified to practice chiropractic on animals in your area, go to the website of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, animalchiropractic.org, scroll down, and click “here” under “Referral for AVCA Certified Doctor.” The site explains appropriate reasons for seeking veterinary chiropractic care, such as issues pertaining to lameness, agility, and so on.

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