Ask Your Veterinarian Presented By Kentucky Performance Products: Equine Chiropractic Therapy - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Ask Your Veterinarian Presented By Kentucky Performance Products: Equine Chiropractic Therapy

Veterinarians at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital answer your questions about sales and healthcare of Thoroughbred auction yearlings, weanlings, 2-year-olds and breeding stock.

Question: It seems chiropractic care is becoming more popular and accepted in the veterinary community in recent years. What types of issues can this therapy address well, and when is it not a good fit?

Dr. Heath Soignier: “Chiropractic” therapy is very common in the human world and it is beginning to be accepted in the veterinary world. Veterinary spinal manipulative therapy, or more commonly known as “chiropractic” care, is a holistic approach as treatment for injuries, body soreness, etc. and should also be considered a preventative therapy. Documented science backs the effectiveness of manipulative therapy. Spinal manipulation is a safe and effective treatment modality for animal patients. It can and does affect the nervous system directly and indirectly which allows the therapist to think about neuro-anatomical function of the patient. As integrative therapies are being sought after more often, it is important to remember that complete workups of a patient and a common-sense approach to treatment is advised.

A common misconception is that a bone is “out of place.” It is better described as a lack of mobility or restricted motion of a joint through normal range of motion. The goal of a manual chiropractic adjustment is to bring motion into a joint that has not been moving correctly or effectively throughout its entire range of motion.

These joints (motion units) are palpated and evaluated for motion or lack thereof, as well as heat and tenderness. An adjustment is defined by experts as a “high velocity, low amplitude thrust into a specific direction of a specific joint.” When an adjustment is made, there are a few things happening to the specific joint that is being manipulated. These include breaking up adhesions, releasing of synovial folds and stimulation of receptors in and around the joint. It is important to realize that these joints are being manipulated by mere millimeters. By stimulating muscle receptors, the tone of muscles, tendons, and surrounding tissues are also affected. This can help in preventing some tendon injuries where an equine athlete may have some tightness in a muscle that is not clinically showing any pain, but the added tension under stress can lead to an injury.

This treatment modality is most commonly looked into after conventional veterinary care has not resolved pain or discomfort for the patient. Some common indications for this therapy could be unresolved lameness, sudden behavioral changes, sports injuries, or it may be used as a complimentary therapy. Some patients are evaluated for overall conditioning and any signs of pain or discomfort to areas over the body such as temporomandibular issues. Muscle pain and tone can be indicative of signs of joint restriction/dysfunction.

A major contraindication of treatment would be a fractured bone within a joint segment. Other contraindications would include neoplasia, pyrexia (fever), sickness, or hemorrhage. Being able to perform any adjustment will always depend on patient cooperation. Safety for the patient as well as the therapist must always be a priority.

Spinal manipulative therapy is more commonly being sought after now due to increasing drug regulations in equine athletes. A more holistic approach is becoming widely accepted in the equine industry. These therapies can help our equine athletes and offer a safe and effective treatment.

Dr. Heath Soignier was raised on a small farm in Bosco, La. After working at a mixed animal veterinary practice during high school, he decided to attend Louisiana Tech University to pursue an Animal Science undergraduate degree. He earned his degree in 2006 and continued his schooling at St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine and completing a clinical year at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Dr. Soignier completed his ambulatory internship with Rood and Riddle in 2013 and Rood and Riddle as an associate. Dr. Soignier's special areas of interest include reproduction, neonatal medicine, and dentistry. In 2019, he became a certified veterinary spinal manipulative therapist.

When not seeing patients, Dr. Soignier enjoys spending time with his wife Catherine and his daughter Lucia on their small farm in Georgetown, Ky. He also is an avid sports enthusiast and outdoorsman.

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