Animal Chiropractic

Dr. Tim Houlton graduated from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1987. For many years he apprenticed with a well known equine chiropractor Dr. Tom Offen and in 2007 completed his post graduate certification in Animal Chiropractic from The Healing Oasis Wellness Centre of Canada.

Subluxation: Chiropractic exam and treatment focuses on variations from normal movement of spinal vertebrae and other joints in the body. As with humans, in animals when a particular vertebra will not move in its normal range, this is termed a “subluxation”. The subluxation affects the way spinal nerves and blood vessels carry information regarding balance, sensation and organ function in and out of the spinal cord. When the mechanics of the spine or other joints in the body are not functioning properly, the system is operating with faulty information and can predispose to injury.

Causes of Subluxation/Joint Dysfunction:

  1. Trauma: slips, falls, mis-steps
  2. Conformation: creates a tendency to subluxation i.e. short back
  3. Confinement: prolonged confinement in a stall
  4. Performance: stresses due to i.e. jumping
  5. Poor Saddle Fit
  6. Improper Use of Tack: i.e. heavy use of one rein
  7. Age: accumulation of small injuries causing compensation/altered joint mechanics
  8. Hoof Care: neglect, too long or aggressive trimming can create problems in the feet/legs/pelvis and spine
  9. Teeth: neglect and/or improper dental care can create altered jaw, neck, spine and body mechanics

Indications for Chiropractic Care (as listed in Current Veterinary Therapy in Equine Medicine N.E. Robinson, 2003. Pg. 568)

Pain, stiffness, abnormal gait and posture are the most common symptoms. Chiropractic adjustment restores normal mechanics/neurological balance. The following are further indications for assistance with chiropractic care:

  • Poor performance
  • Back, wither pain
  • Reduced neck or back flexibility
  • Inability to raise or lower head and neck
  • Local or generalized muscle spasm
  • Vague lameness
  • Uneven or asymmetric gait
  • Recent change in conformation of spine
  • Discomfort with saddle placement
  • Resentment at tightening of girth
  • Stiff and slow when warming up
  • Bucking or pinning ears in a previously well mannered horse
  • Lameness only when ridden
  • Difficulty with lead or gait transition
  • Refusal to jump when previously no problem
  • Resistance to collection
  • No power in rear end
  • Difficulty turning in one direction
  • Consistent stumbling or dragging of a toe
  • Uneven muscle mass
  • Uneven pelvic bones
  • Unwilling to stand square on all four legs
  • Difficulty standing for farrier
  • Holding tail to one side
  • Resentment while being groomed
  • Behavior problems likely due to chronic pain or discomfort

Dr. Houlton’s animal practice focuses on horses and dogs, but has a mixed practice – cows, cats, guinea pigs, chinchillas, anything with a spine!!