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  • Writer's pictureDr. Heike Jung

Questions about Chiropractic and Homeopathy for Animals

Recently a client of mine asked me several questions about chiropractic treatment and homeopathy for animals. I thought the questions were well thought out and wanted to share them here with you.

Questions about Chiropractic-

What is chiropractic - could you briefly explain to those who can guess what it is but don't have a precise understanding of what it is/does? 

Animal chiropractic is a field of medicine that concentrates on the skeletal system of your pet. The spine is made up of vertebrae, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. If the vertebrae do not move properly, if they don't move enough, are "stuck" in a certain position, or become in any way dysfunctional, the nerves that come off the spinal cord and go to all the muscles and organs cannot work properly. Think of it as a kink in a garden hose....the water cannot flow properly. If nerves are "kinked", i.e. restricted, they cannot work properly. This then results in your pet losing normal mobility and you may notice stiffness, tension, pain, or other abnormalities (like incontinence)

Some animal carers / pet parents think physical therapy can replace chiropractic - could you clarify the difference? 

Physical therapy concentrates on stretching muscles. Chiropractic treatments concentrate on alleviating the improper position of the vertebrae that causes the nerves to fire improperly causing muscle tension in the first place.

Personally I love helping pets with chiropractic treatments followed by massage or physical therapy. Sometimes it takes a village to get your pet to feel better again.

As humans, pain/discomfort we feel leads us to seek chiropractors. What are the signs and symptoms that pet parents should watch out for & catch in our animals that would need chiropractic care, even without confirmed diagnosis?

Signs to watch out for include:

  • stiffness

  • tension

  • neck pain commonly seen as lowered head carriage or anticipating pain when getting too close to the head

  • limping

  • general pain

  • uneven gait

  • Often owners will say....Something isn't right. He is just off. He's not as energetic on his walks

What were some memorable cases that you have treated that was a surprise even to you? (good and/or bad)

I've treated several dogs that were paralyzed in the back legs to the point of dragging themselves around for days or weeks before seeking chiropractic care. I look at those pets and think "No way! But let's give it a try". Still to this day, I'm happily surprised when chiropractic and homeopathy can bring them around to walking again. 

What are some ways pet parents can help when they can't find a local animal chiropractor? (would other modalities like acupressure and massage be helpful?)

Of course! Massage, acupuncture, physical rehab, cold laser therapy, PEMF, red/infrared light therapy, and even swimming or underwater treadmill can be beneficial.

I learned from my holistic pet health coach certification program that chiropractic can be helpful for allergies - how does that work? Also, how can chiropractic help dogs manage inflammatory issues?

By restoring the normal motion of the vertebra and thus removing the impingement of the nerves coming from the spinal cord, the body is able to function normally again. Allergies, inflammatory issues, are caused by neurologic interferences. Remove the interferences and re-establish proper neurologic transmissions and the body is able to heal on its own (given enough time!!)  

How do you determine which vertebrae is out of alignment or needs correction?

You need a great education and lots of experience!!!

What are the credentials that one should look for (if there is any) when selecting a chiropractor?

I would recommend you look for an animal chiropractor certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA).  You can search for a certified animal chiropractor in your area using this link:

Questions about Homeopathy - 

Is homeopathy safe for all animals? Are there any animals that can have allergic reactions to certain homeopathic ingredients? 

Unlike pharmaceutical drugs, classical homeopathic remedies are safe for all animals. Classical homeopathic remedies do not have side effects; are gentle and safe; can be used during pregnancy; can be given to newborns, elderly, debilitated, or immunocompromised patients.

I would caution against the use of poly-pharmacy, a combination of several homeopathic remedies. Using multiple homeopathic remedies at once goes against the rules of classical homeopathy and can cause confusion in the patient's life force driving the disease process deeper (even though you may see an improvement of symptoms in the beginning). These poly-pharmacy remedies are in liquid form and one such brand is HomeoPet®.

What are trusted brands that animal carers can purchase? (Boiron and others?)

I like remedies from Washington Homeopathic Products, Hahnemann Laboratories, or Boiron. 

What are some homeopathy remedies that animal carers should have in their cabinets for emergencies? (any helpful ones for common/emergency symptoms) 

As important as having the correct remedies, you should also have an Emergency Book on hand. 

  • The Homeopathic Emergency Guide: A Quick Reference Guide to Accurate Homeopathic Care by Kruzel, Thomas

  • The Homeopathic Treatment of Small Animals: Principles and Practice by Christopher Day

Six top Emergency remedies to have on hand:

  1. Aconite- sudden onset of trauma (Fear, Shock, ANY trauma)

  2. Arnica - pain relief of any blunt trauma (do NOT give for bleeding before or after dentals!!!)

  3. Hypericum - for pain from nerve trauma (I give this for any spinal cord trauma, and would use it after dentals)

  4. Silica- great for helping expel foreign bodies like splinters, thorns, seeds (even in the eye)

  5. Symphytum- for fractures or ligament tears

  6. Calendula ointment--- instead of Antibiotic much quicker!!

Is there any difference in effectiveness between pellets vs. liquid? 

There is no difference in efficacy between pellets or appropriately made liquid homeopathic remedies (do NOT use liquid poly-pharmacy remedies as stated above)

Can you recommend resources (books/websites) for more in-depth information on  how to use homeopathy for dogs or other animals?

Book recommendations

  • "The Homeopathic Emergency Guide: A Quick Reference Guide to Accurate Homeopathic Care" by Kruzel, Thomas

  • "The Homeopathic Treatment of Small Animals: Principles and Practice" by Christopher Day

  • "Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs, Revised Edition: Small Doses for Small Animals" by Don Hamilton D.V.M. (Author), Richard Pitcairn (Foreword)


Bonus question: I found this and wanted to ask if you would recommend this product - Thuja (Newton brand) for vaccinosis

Why do you want to give this?? I know giving Thuja after vaccinations makes people feel better about giving vaccines to their pets in the first place.... 

In classical homeopathy we don't give preventative homeopathic remedies because they can push the disease process deeper into the body. Our choice of remedy is based on the symptoms the patient presents with. One patient's symptoms of vaccinosis would be different than another patient's, thus resulting in requiring different remedies. We don't base our remedies on diseases; we base our remedies on symptoms. Does that make sense?

If you have questions about chiropractic or homeopathic treatments for your pet, feel free to reach out to me!

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