Canine Corner



Dr. Mark LaVallie, DC, CVSMT

What Is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic may be a new topic for some people, especially animal owners. Adjustment techniques similar to those used in modern chiropractic date back more than five thousand years. Drawings of humans receiving neck manipulation are documented in an ancient Chinese text called the Nei Ching.

Hippocrates (c. 17,500 B.C.), who is known as the Father of Medicine, also used spinal manipulation. But the Father of Chiropractic is considered to be Dr. David D. Palmer. On September 18, 1895, he placed his hands over the spine of a janitor named Harvey Lilliard.

Dr. Palmer administered a thrust to a fixated vertebra in Lillian’s upper back, restoring motion. As a result of the adjustment, Lilliard reported “hearing the wagons on the street.” This was significant because Mr. Lilliard had been deaf for seventeen years.

Animal chiropractic was rejuvenated in 1989 by a veterinarian—Dr. Sharon Willoughby, DVM, D.C. Over the years, the popularity of animal chiropractic has increased in many states, with Minnesota granting licensure to DC’s. and DVM’s, beginning in 2009. A prerequisite to licensure is completion of a 230-hour certification program in Animal Chiropractic. One-half of the program is “hands on.” Currently in Minnesota, nine doctors (veterinarians and human chiropractors) are certified and licensed in animal chiropractic.

Adjustments for Humans

Chiropractic is primarily concerned with the health of the nervous system and how it interacts with the brain and body to promote wellness and vitality. A chiropractor focuses on the nerve receptors, which can be thought of as sensors in the body. These sensors detect the world around us and the environment within us. When there is an injury or restricted motion in our joints, these sensors tell our body to make adaptations to balance out these changes. These adaptations can be good or bad. Chiropractic adjustments help to correct the bad adaptations so the body can properly heal itself.

A typical chiropractic treatment consists of high speed, low force thrusts to specific joints. These are called adjustments. Muscular and neurological re-education techniques are also utilized to positively affect the receptors involved. Chiropractors focus on the whole body and its well being.

Adjustments for Animals

Animals have spinal columns similar to humans, and they can develop misalignments just like us. Called subluxations, these misalignments can cause a variety of symptoms, just as they do in people.

Chiropractic adjustments are gentle and painless. They restore mobility to fixated joints of the spine. This allows for healthy transfer of information to and from the bran, through the spinal cord and nerves. Because the nervous system “rules,” all other systems, the body can function in an optimum state.

Benefits Of Chiropractic

  • Improved immune system
  • Improved joint function
  • Decreased need for medication
  • Decreased risk of arthritis
  • Optimal rest and metabolism
  • Peak physical performance
  • Maximize the “golden years”

“I know the power of the chiropractic adjustment and the improvement in health that is can bring. This is the case for both two and four-legged beings. All animals, whether they are performance, working, or couch potatoes, can benefit from chiropractic care.”

Dr. Mark LaVallie

Canine Corner


Making a career out of hunting and show casing professional outfitter’s hunting operations for a living, it is imperative that my canine companion not only be well mannered and well trained but also be in optimal health and condition to be able to stand up to the toll that a lifetime of hunting in all of the conditions that mother nature has to offer can take.

When my Chesapeake Bay Retriever Jada turned 3 1/2 years old she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia in not just one but both of her hips. We found this out after a long season of hunting, where by the end of a long day of hunting she could barley walk. She reminded me more of a 10 year old retriever, than a 3 year old in her prime. A written guarantee from a breeder does not mean much after thousands of hours and dollars of training and companionship come into play. After doing my research I elected to give animal chiropractic a try. Jada is now coming up on her 7th birthday and since that tough season 3 1/2 years ago, she has not skipped a beat and in my opinion is in better overall condition today than she has been since she was originally diagnosed.

After the results we have had, I fully believe in and endorse the practice of animal chiropractic, not only for working dogs but for all dogs young and old who are suffering from joint pain and any degenerative joint disease. Jada enjoys her monthly visits to the vet now and comes out wagging her tail every time we leave Dr. Mark’s clinic. I encourage all hunters, especially those waterfowl hunters who are particularly hard on their dogs 3 months out of the year, to take a hard look at animal chiropractic, especially when the “retirement years” come around and they have given all they have for us. What a great way to give back a little bit to help them have a more enjoyable last few years with us!
Dan Wennerlind

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