This week I am in Tampa, Florida attending the American Veterinary Chiropractic Conference and I will be speaking at this conference on the subject of Chiropractic in Cats. I thought I would share a few insights on cat chiropractic.
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 a chiropractic school that trained veterinarians and chiropractors how to adjust animals.The founder of this school was the late Sharon Willoughby and I was fortunate enough to have her as one of my instructors. Animal chiropractors are now trained to adjust horses, dogs and cats ( and sometimes cattle,sheep , goats, birds and reptiles).
Which cats need chiropractic? The only way to know is to have your cat 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 that your cat may have back pain and need a chiropractor could 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
–excess licking when mouth is manipulated
–excess licking of legs
–decreased grooming behaviour
Many of these signs could signal other problems in your cat and your cat should be evaluated by his or her regular veterinarian. If your regular doctor is also certified in animal chiropractic, he or she will evaluate the cat’s spine during the physical examination. If not, you may need a referral to a veterinarian or chiropractor who has been trained in animal chiropractic.
In my practice I have treated cats who had kidney failure, diabetes, urinary incontinence, seizures, arthritis, injuries, and constipation all with chiropractic. Although chiropractic 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 is a very powerful tool to insure wellness in all of my patients, feline or otherwise.