The results of a case study were published on February 6, 2020, in the Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research showing that chiropractic can even help a dog with disc herniation. Since dogs have a spine, they are susceptible to disc herniations like humans. Dachshunds are especially susceptible to this issue because of their long body shape suspended by a short set of legs at each end.
In humans, disc protrusion and herniations can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the extremities, pain in the buttocks, thigh or calf and can travel as far down the leg as the foot. Although the anatomy is somewhat different, dogs can suffer from disc herniations as well.
In this case a 7-year-old male Dachshund who was normally very active was slowing down and exhibiting signs of being in pain. The owner noticed that the dog’s gait had changed and that he began to yelp when jumping from a bed or other surface. His appetite also decreased, and he started to show less interest in treats that he was previously very excited to get.
His owner took him to a veterinarian who noted that his reflexes had diminished in his rear legs. The dog was prescribed anti-inflammatories, a steroid, and painkillers. A canine neurologist recommended an MRI which confirmed a herniated disc. The dog continued to get worse and cried throughout the night. He also started refusing all food. At this point, the canine neurologist agreed to refer the dog to an animal chiropractor.
After a chiropractic examination, it was determined that subluxations were present. The study defines subluxations as, “A subluxation is defined as a misalignment of a vertebra, in relation to the one above and below it. This causes a biomechanical change that in turn causes interference in the nervous system causing it to be unable to properly communicate with the different parts of the body”.
Chiropractic adjustments were started on the dog’s affected areas. It was observed that following the first adjustment, the dog walked better and gave a full body shake, which was something that he had previously been unable to do.
At the second visit to the chiropractor, the owner said that the dog seemed to be “totally back to normal.” The dog was taken back to the canine neurologist who stated that there was vast improvement, his hind leg reflexes were present, and he was eating normally. He had normal bladder and bowel movements.
It should be noted that the laws governing animals receiving chiropractic vary from state to state and jurisdiction. Some laws allow open access to chiropractors for animals while others require special certifications and a referral or partnership in care with a veterinarian.
In their conclusion the authors wrote, “This case report provides supporting evidence that the use of conservative chiropractic care to find and adjust subluxations can be beneficial to canines suffering from symptomatic lumbar disc herniation.”