Integrative Medicine Case Study: Chiropractic

By Dr. Joanne Fehr

Integrative medicine has come into the forefront of veterinary medicine, opening up many more opportunities for the highest level of care for our equine patients. Chiropractic care and Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, aquapuncture, electroacupuncture, herbal therapy) are now included in the normal spectrum of care alongside western medicine. What does this do for you and your horse? Following is one example of how these modalities can improve patient outcomes. Stay tuned: We'll be posting more soon!

Case Study

A 15-year-old endurance mare was presented to the hospital for assessment and possible treatment of a non-descript change in movement or lameness. The mare had many miles under her belt but had been identified as not moving right and her soundness questioned at vet checks.

On examination, there was not a defined lameness per se that could have been blocked, so she was assessed chiropractically. Her movement was evaluated from a biomechanical perspective and her joints (most specifically of the spine) were examined for normal motion. If the joints are not moving, then the body as a whole is not moving well. In addition, the nerves that exit between each vertebra have the risk of being affected, causing them to not “fire” normally, which results in the muscles they are connected to also not to function at normal capacity. 

This mare was adjusted at the locations where there was decreased or no normal motion from her ears to her tail. As she was adjusted, she obviously relaxed, licked, chewed and took big breaths. The following week, she was entered in a 50-mile race and a 75-miler the next weekend. She passed all her vet checks and had a stellar performance!

Helping her joints to move through their normal range of motion allowed the mare to be more biomechanically sound, which in the long run will decrease the risk of injuries.

Article added 9.29.15