A Dog's Eye View: Caring for senior dogs, part 3

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■ Animal Veterinary Chiropractic Association: www.animalchiropr...

■ DORA (Department of Regulatory Agencies) in Colorado

Lisa Mason

Lisa Mason is an experienced dog training instructor with the Total Teamwork Training group. Her specialties include new puppy owner education and management.

Editor’s note: This is the third part of a series about caring for senior dogs. Part one ran in the Feb. 22 Steamboat Today. Part two ran in the March 1 Steamboat Today.

Have you noticed that your senior dog struggles with stairs or moves with stiffness? When my Zoey started to show signs of discomfort, I wanted to do anything possible to lessen it. One of the things I tried was chiropractic adjustments, which visibly improved her gait, attitude, appetite and sleeping patterns. She enjoyed the sessions, offered no resistance and dozed off during treatments.

As our dogs age, moving becomes harder, but sometimes it’s an indication that your dog’s body is out of alignment, which can cause discomfort and pain.

The vertebrae of the spine and bones in joints are held in a specific configuration, with the surrounding nerves in constant communication with the central nervous system, brain and the body’s organs. If something happens to alter this alliance, it is referred to as a subluxation. Subluxations can have adverse effects on the nervous system, muscles, joints, organs, glands and other body functions, affecting your dog’s appetite, energy and disposition. Chiropractic treatments, work to correct subluxations and help to put the body back in its natural balance.

Chiropractic treatment, which often is used in conjunction with traditional veterinary care, focuses on the strength, health and correct movement of the dog’s joints with emphasis on the proper functioning of the spinal column. Based in the holistic philosophy that a balanced body is a healthy body, chiropractic treatment works to restore the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. The treatments can change or rebalance the nervous system input, affecting circulation and the body’s hormonal levels, in turn affecting the organs, glands, skin and joints.

To make these adjustments, the practitioner will use his or her hands, manually pushing the bones or vertebrae back into place, or will use a chiropractic adjusting tool, which is a small instrument that uses a high-velocity thrust to tap the specific joint or vertebra back into alignment. Both treatments work to allow freer movement, more flexibility and better overall body balance.

If you consider chiropractic treatments for your dog, look for a doctor who is certified.

This type of treatment is not for all ailments. If you have concerns about your dog’s health, discuss them with your veterinarian.

Lisa Mason is a co-instructor for Total Teamwork Training.

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