Once you are introduced to chiropractic care for animals, your eyes are opened to recognizing the conditions that would benefit from its application. That was the case with our little foster dog, Chichi. He’s a rescued chihuahua with Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary. Though he is ten years old, he showed every desire to romp and play with the other dogs, and very much wants to be petted. The problem is, he hurts. You can tell from his body language. It makes him so conflicted – wanting to be cuddled, yet snappy if a finger hovered in a sensitive area – most of his torso.
Dr. Tracy Drynan, B.P.H.E., D.C. Doctor of Chiropractic and 30 years into her practice, she saw it too. Right away, she could tell Chichi was holding pain that was likely chronic, and definitely unrecognized for what it was until we brought him to her.
First Impressions – Chichi’s Chiropractic Assessment
As she serves the requisite number of “getting to know you” treats, a process that allows Dr. Drynan to be able to earn trust and lay hands on the dog, she makes some first impression visual assessments. She surmises that Chichi may have suffered some nerve damage in his shoulders at one time, which accounts for the fact that he is stiff and stilted when he walks. Certain parts of his body are doing double the work to compensate for the damage.
His back is arched up unnaturally, a condition called “roaching” which means there is a lot of tension in the muscles running along the spine. He has little tail wag when he walks, where usually the tail acts as a mechanical “pump” and moves with the dog, further demonstration that Chichi is overly tight along the spine.
Dr. Drynan sees that Chichi’s right hind leg extends much farther than the left as she draws him out in a slow walk towards her. Even the way he chews the hard treats are revealing for the doctor’s analysis – given the fact that his musculature is more developed on one side than the other, if he was not tracking the treat with his eyes and chewing it properly, she would know there may be neurological elements at play.
Hands on Chiropractic Treatment for Chichi
The first order of business for Chichi is to start treatment in an area where he is comfortable being touched, namely his lower back and hind legs. The doctor uses gentle palpations around his lower torso, and on a dog his size – just 5 pounds! – its hard to see these subtle movements. But what you can see is Chichi’s roached back starts to drop down, his topline starts to approach a normal position.
And the other remarkable thing is Chichi’s reaction. He is calm, does not snap, and seems to be truly appreciative of the attentions. Though somewhat uncertain of what is actually happening, his eyes when he looks to us seem grateful.
After a little shake out and a drink of water, Dr. Drynan sees that he’s comfortable with the adjustments so far, his tail is wagging much more freely than before, so continues to address some issues.
An adjustment to the “horse’s tail” or cauda equina releases even more tension all along Chichi’s back right up to his head. As she works the psoas muscle in the groin, Chichi’s relief is visible by the fact that his breaths become deeper, he inhales all the way to the abdomen and diaphragm.
By the end of this first session, Chichi’s topline has dropped noticeably, his leg stance is more squared than bowed, he’s breathing more deeply – oh, and he’s ready for a nap! On the way home in the car, he did just that.
In the few days since the treatment, we are thrilled to report several other positive changes. For instance, previously he only slept in one position – laying straight out, chin on forelegs. Now he curls into a ball like any other dog. He curls to groom his belly too, scratches his ears with his back feet and more.
Behaviourally, he is now asking to be picked up! He has no problem with the people he knows running their hands from top of the head to tail in a typical doggy pet, or scratching his chest under his chin, previously not something Chichi allowed. He no longer flinches from touch, which will allow more people, specifically potential adopters, to know him and love him like we do, and to know he can be well loved!
A Happy Dog is an Adoptable Dog
We are incredibly fortunate to have amazing professionals helping us at Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary, from Laura Arseneau who referred Dr. Drynan to us, to Dr Drynan, Nancy and all the staff at Stride Forth Chiropractic. We look forward to the return visit this week.
Chiropractic Care for Your Cat, Dog, Horse
If you would like to explore chiropractic care for your dog, cat or horse, please contact Stride Forth Chiropractic in St. Catherines, 1931 Fourth Avenue or call them directly at 905-641-3000. Tell them Chichi sent you!