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What is veterinary spinal manipulation therapy (VSMT)?

Veterinary Spinal Manipulation Therapy treats disorders related to improper skeletal alignment and/or movement (hypomobility). Hypomobilities in the spine and joints cause compensation in other areas of the musculoskeletal system. The result of compensation is stress and strain on joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. These compensatory changes can lead to acute or chronic pain, inflammation, reduced circulation, weakness, muscle atrophy, muscle tension, and altered biomechanics (gait/weight-bearing, etc).

What is a spinal adjustment?

A spinal adjustment uses a specific, controlled and gentle thrust to restore motion to joint surfaces that are not moving freely. Areas of restriction/hypomobility are identified with a gentle palpation exam where the practitioner feels for motion, flexibility, tenderness, tension, heat, and/or pain. Joints with decreased mobility are identified and then adjusted.

Who will benefit from spinal manipulation?

  • Young pets as preventive care – to prevent and/or delay muscle and joint problems as your pet ages.
  • Cats – cats have extreme athleticism and flexibility. Studies indicate that up to 92% of middle-aged to senior cats have a degenerative joint disease that may manifest as hesitation to jump, jumping less frequently, or being unable to jump as high as before. These behaviors can be signs of pain and indicate possible osteoarthritis and restricted motion.
  • Senior dogs and cats – pets with decreased mobility and osteoarthritis.
  • Orthopedic disease/post-op care – lameness and pain cause changes in gait, posture, and weight-bearing leading to decreased joint motion, muscle tension/spasm, and further compensatory changes.
  • Pets with neurological disease – including disc disease, neck pain/back pain, post-operative patients.
  • Active and performance/athletic dogs – from intense fetch/backyard frisbee players and rough-housers to agility, Fast Cat, Rally, Schutzhund, herding, working, and hunting dogs!

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