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Chiropractic care is a manual therapy that can be used for many health and performance problems. It focuses on the biomechanical dysfunction of the spine and its effects on the entire nervous system. Chiropractic care doesn’t pretend to encompass the entire study of health and disease, but it does offer alternative explanations for disease and provides complimentary therapy.

The purpose of chiropractic care is to optimize health. The principle that guides this is the body’s innate recuperative power which is affected by and integrated through the nervous system. Animal chiropractors treat Vertebral Subluxation Complexes (VSC). This is defined as the functional misalignment of a vertebra or the limited mobility of its facet joints. If a subluxation exists, a horse loses normal flexibility of its spine, affecting performance and resulting in stiffness and muscular pain. Horses with VSCs may present with many symptoms, the most common of which is pain. The horse attempts to compensate for the pain by changing its posture and way of going but this can result in other problems such as arthritis.



A thorough chiropractic exam is performed by motioning the spine and limbs and by watching the horse move. When a VSC is identified, the aim is to correct the misalignment of the spine and restore mobility to the facet joints. Realignment is made via an adjustment. An adjustment is a very specific, short lever, high velocity, controlled thrust by hand that is directed at specific articulations. Only subluxated vertebra are adjusted. In most cases, a single treatment is not enough to eliminate the problem. The goal of chiropractic treatment is to address neurological dysfunction of the spine and restore mobility. It is then the task of the muscles and ligaments to support the spine and maintain this new realigned position. Majority of horses show improvement after one to four treatments.

When done correctly, chiropractic treatment can be an effective way to maintain the health of your horse. Increasing the quality of life or health is important, especially when treating older horses, but chiropractic treatment of younger horses is also recommended as a preventative measure.

Chiropractic treats the cause, not the symptoms of back problems. It restores joint mobility, enabling the horse to maximize its performance potential and optimize its health.

How do I know if my horse needs chiropractic care?

Because your horse communicates in a language other than words, they must rely on your ability to observe changes in their behavior that might indicate illness or injury.

Here is a list of commonly seen symptoms that may indicate that your horse can benefit from chiropractic or acupuncture care:

  • resistance to being ridden
  • lameness or gait alterations
  • decreased performance
  • bucking
  • difficulty with leads
  • change in behavior while being girthed
  • negative changes in behavior
  • collection difficulty

For more information on equine chiropractic or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 860-946-0160.


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PO BOX 1997, Mashpee, MA 02649
Phone: (860) 946-0160
Email: drpaula at litchfieldequine dot com