Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy
to Improve Health and Movement of Joints
What is VSMT?
Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy (often described as animal chiropractic) is a holistic approach to healthcare that is based on symmetry and movement. It does not replace traditional medicine and surgery but works in conjunction with traditional veterinary medicine to improve the health and movement of all the joints in the body, but especially the spinal column.
How does VSMT work?
The spinal column is made up of bones (vertebrae), muscles, ligaments and nerves. It functions to support the body and serves as an attachment for muscles. Nerves exit the spinal cord between vertebrae and communicate information to the entire body.
When two adjacent bones (vertebra) come together they form a joint and there are over 175 joints in the spinal column. When these joints are moving normally, the horse is flexible, happy and healthy. When these joints are not functioning well, the animal becomes stiff and the nerves that exit the spinal column through these joints become impinged upon, creating pain and illness. Over time this pain worsens and we start seeing other signs including muscle loss, postural changes and lameness.
VSMT evaluates the entire spinal column looking for vertebrae that are not moving well (also described as being subluxated or "stuck"). When these areas are identified they can be adjusted with very specific rapid thrusts to improve the motion at that particular location.
What to expect?
An adjustment will typically be effective for 4-8 weeks. We recommend an initial adjustment followed by a recheck at 4 weeks. After treatment, the horse can be handwalked for 15 minutes that day and either have handwalking or turnout on the following day.
Trained Veterinarian on Staff to Perform Adjustments
Wisconsin Equine has one American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) trained veterinarian, Dr. Rachel Bourne who can evaluate and perform adjustments on your horse.
Please call Wisconsin Equine to see if VSMT is right for your horse.
Above we are performing an adjustment of the horse's neck to aid in movement and improve motion.
Signs your horse may need an ajustment
If any of the following changes are observed our trained veterinarians can evaluate your horse not only from a traditional veterinary perspective but also from a VSMT perspective to evaluate the best way to help your horse.
Pain when saddling
Hollowed back, abnormal neck carriage
Wringing the tail, pinning ears or bucking when being ridden.
Unwilling to jump or jumping to one side
Inability to perform lateral work or collection
Change in behavior or poor performance
Pain when touching/brushing the back/neck
Inability to hold leads