Guest Post by Alissa Grover, DC, CAC
As an animal chiropractor, I have worked with a variety of species including dogs, cats, horses, goats, rabbits, and more. Chiropractic is a holistic branch of health care that specializes in the health of the spine and joints of the body without drugs or surgery. Chiropractors provide adjustments to restore proper alignment of the spine and joints, thus allowing the entire body to function better and quality of life to improve. Animal chiropractic is becoming more utilized in both the horse and dog communities. While fewer cat guardians utilize chiropractic care, some of my most amazing experiences have been with cats.
A gentle, effective modality with multiple applications
Recently, a cat was brought into our clinic for unexplained fatigue and lack of appetite of several weeks duration. A full veterinary exam, including a blood panel, did not reveal anything other than some back tenderness. The veterinarians referred the patient to me. I found several misalignments throughout the spine. The cat tolerated the adjustment quite well (most cats do enjoy being adjusted). Upon follow-up the next day the cat was completely back to normal.
One of my cat patients has a chronic cough that could not be explained with numerous tests. The cat was diagnosed with an asthma condition triggered by allergies. With monthly adjustments, the coughing subsided, and the cat does not need any medications.
Chiropractic can be gentle and effective for cats of all ages. One of our 18-year-old feline patients no longer tolerated her regular acupuncture treatments. Her guardians decided to try chiropractic along with the Reiki energy work that I also do. The cat seems to love it, and her guardians report that it keeps her feeling good and moving better.
I am often asked whether I can do an “attitude adjustment” on a cat. Yes, chiropractic adjustments can improve an animal’s behavior. Cat guardians report that after an adjustment, their cat is like a different animal and is now spending more time with them, asking for affection, and wanting to play. In these cases, the behavior problem was actually the result of a chronic spinal misalignment.
Benefits of chiropractic adjustments for cats
I have found that most cats can benefit from chiropractic care. Even if you think of your cat as a pampered couch potato, cats are, by nature, very athletic creatures. They jump up and down from considerable heights, sprint and pounce, and twist and stretch like silly putty. It may look effortless, but these movements put stress on their joints. In addition, falling from heights, landing awkwardly, accidentally getting stepped on and other accidents, can cause spinal misalignments.
The following symptoms may indicate that your cat could benefit from a chiropractic adjustment:
• Tenderness or pain
• Decreased levels of activity
• Not doing things it used to do
• Fatigue or lethargy
• Lameness or uneven gait
• Avoiding human touch or interaction
• Changes in behavior, such as depression or aggression
• Decreased appetite
Conditions can be slow in developing, so if you are around your cat every day you may not notice them. Regular visits to your veterinarian and animal chiropractor, at least twice a year, are important in detecting problems and preventing serious health issues from developing.
Regulations for animal chiropractors vary from state to state. Some states require animal chiropractors to be certified and obtain a veterinary referral prior to treating an animal. Always ensure that you take your cat only to properly trained, qualified, and licensed professionals.
Dr. Alissa Grover is a chiropractic physician certified in animal chiropractic by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. She has an animal chiropractic practice at the Animal Care Center in West Bountiful, UT and travels throughout Utah to adjust animals. Learn more about animal chiropractic at her website, http://www.utahanimalchiropractor.com.