Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Dr. Alisha Barnes

What is Needed to be an Animal Chiropractor

We get this question a lot, usually after the initial question, “what is animal chiropractic?”, so let’s address both. Animal chiropractic is a special type of veterinary care that focuses on the musculoskeletal system and its relation to the nervous system of an animal. Just like with human chiropractic care, animal chiropractic care helps the animal function and perform better, whether it be in day to day life, in shows or in agility trials. These events can knock the animal’s spine or joints out of alignment, hampering nerve flow, leading to dysfunction or pain. The animal parent may notice limping, altered sitting positions, yelping upon jumping or during certain movements, or a difference in behavior such as lashing out, not eating, cowering or hiding. All of these are signs that something is wrong and your animal could be in pain. Animal chiropractic care can certainly improve these issues if it is caused by a muscle, joint or nerve injury or issue.

So on to the next question, what is needed to be an animal chiropractor? The training in animal chiropractic care is limited to veterinarians (DVM or VMD) and human chiropractors (DC). Each doctor has gone through an undergraduate degree and specialized veterinary or chiropractic college for 4 more years. After that, they must continue their education by becoming certified in animal chiropractic care. They train together in programs where they may bring their unique skills to be able to assist each other. While veterinarians bring the knowledge of animal anatomy, the chiropractors bring their knowledge of finding the misalignments through touch (palpation) and correcting those with the chiropractic adjustment. Together we make quite a wonderful team in the treatment of your pets. The coursework is 207 hours of lectures and labs where we learn how to achieve our goals in care through that chiropractic adjustment. After that, many of us go on to get additional certification through the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) or the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA). In order to keep that special certification, we must take more continuing education each year. These courses not only help us to keep our standing in our certification but also make sure we are learning everything we can to give your pet the absolute best care possible.

I hope this has helped you to understand a little of who we are and what we do. As to the why… Dr. Alisha, Dr. Laura and I love animals and want to do everything we can to keep them happy, healthy and here for as long as they can be with you. We can’t wait to see you at your pet’s next adjustment!

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