Veterinary Chiropractic Care: For the love of the horse…..and teaching!
By Marsha M. Severt, DVM, CVA, CVEMMP | Brown Creek Integrative Veterinary Services
Many horse owners are aware of integrative therapies such as acupuncture and chiropractic care for their horses. In fact, many consider it part of the routine preventative care plan for their equine athlete. Did you know, however, that most veterinary schools do not offer courses in these disciplines within their education programs? Graduating veterinarians interested in integrative therapies must seek additional post graduate training in these areas.
During my undergraduate and veterinary education I was fortunate to have worked with veterinarians who were practicing these disciplines, thus exposing me to their benefits for our equine patients. Therefore, I knew I wanted to learn more and completed my certifications in equine acupuncture and chiropractic medicine after graduating vet school. I quickly begin incorporating these therapies into my general practice and lameness evaluations.
Realizing that veterinarians interested in practicing these treatment modalities are taking these courses on their own initiative, I wanted to be involved in helping fellow colleges achieve their goals. Therefore in 2014, I started teaching in the equine chiropractic course through the Integrative Veterinary Medical Institute in Florida.
The course is the only one in the country specifically for veterinarians interested in an equine focus. Every year around 30 veterinarians enroll in the course and complete a 6 month long series of online and onsite lectures and wetlabs. Every session, the excitement this group shares for learning chiropractic techniques radiates throughout the lecture hall. Veterinarians’ goals for learning chiropractic medicine range from a desire to better solve discreet lameness issues, develop additional treatment techniques to maintain top level performance in the horse, or to act as preventative medicine for the wellbeing of the equine patient.
Quickly the group bonds and is eager to share practice stories, cases, and a joint comradery in their learning endeavors. It is thrilling to be a part of such a positive environment with the shared goal of keeping horses feeling their best. My favorite part of teaching the course is the wetlab portion, where hands on techniques are used to treat live patients. This is where the students can really see the benefits of chiropractic care for horses and they can feel the improvement in the horses’ body from the beginning of the session to the end. Patients are feeling better after chiropractic care!
So, what are the benefits of chiropractic care for horses you may wonder? The therapy focuses on the horses’ neuromuscular system and keeping this system firing at full potential. Adjustment techniques restore normal range of motion to joints and help the nervous system keep muscles and reflexes healthy. This allows the horse to perform his/her job at their best. In short, you could say it helps them live their best life!
Seeing the amazing responses in my patients drove my love for this discipline and now my practice, Brown Creek Integrative Veterinary Services, solely focuses on integrative care for horses. I believe it is important to ensure that these treatment modalities are being taught to veterinarians so that hopefully all vets will understand the benefits and learn how to use or recommend chiropractic care for their patients. Helping teach future practitioners is one way I feel I can spread the word about integrative medicine!