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Chiropractic Care for Cats

Veterinarian Reviewed on March 30, 2012 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

When Dr Palmer developed chiropractic over 100 years ago, he developed it as a system that could be used on any animal with a vertebral system. In the early 1900’s chiropractors were trained to adjust humans, horses, dogs, cats, and other animals. Adjusting of animals fell out of favour as chiropractors aligned themselves with the human medical system in the 1920‘s. Animal chiropractic made a resurgence in the 1980s with the founding of the a chiropractic school that trained veterinarians and chiropractic how to adjust animals. Animal chiropractors are now trained to adjust horses, dogs and cats.

What Cats Need Chiropractic Care?

When I studied animal chiropractic, they told me that any animal with a subluxation needed chiropractic. A subluxation is a chiropractic term for a vertebrae which is not moving properly within the spine. The only way to know if this exist in your cat is to have him or her examined by a veterinarian or chiropractor certified in animal chiropractic.

As a companion animal veterinarian certified in animal chiropractic, my case load is primarily canine. This is not because dogs require more chiropractic care than cats but because cats are much better at hiding signs of pain and discomfort than dogs. The usual presentation for a canine patient is a dog with reluctance to go up or down stairs or an aged dog that has trouble getting up. Cats display much more subtle signs.

Signs your Cat May Need Chiropractic Care

Signs that your cat may have back pain and need a chiropractor include:

  • Stretching excessively (for 5 to 10 minutes) after rising
  • Slow moving up or down the stairs
  • Stiff walking or slow gait
  • Inability to jump up onto the couch
  • Pain on picking up the cat
  • Limping on one leg or dragging toes
  • Incontinence or constipation
  • Inability to get into the litter box
  • Increased time to jump up on the bed or couch
  • Dislike of petting or brushing of the back end
  • Rolling or flinching skin when touched
  • Grinding teeth
  • Excess licking when mouth is manipulated
  • Excess licking of legs
  • Decreased grooming behavior

Many of these signs could signal other problems in your cat and your cat should be evaluated by his or her regular veterinarian.

In my practice I have treated cats who had kidney failure, diabetes, urinary incontinence, seizures, arthritis, injuries, and constipation all with chiropractic care. Although chiropractic pet care may not have been the only therapy for these patients, it has contributed to improving the quality of life and speed of recovery for many of them. Chiropractic care is a very powerful tool to ensure wellness in all of my patients, feline or otherwise.

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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