The veterinarians at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital answer your questions about the sales and health care of auction yearlings, weaners, 2 year olds and breeding stock.

Question: It seems that chiropractic has become increasingly popular and accepted in veterinary medicine in recent years. What kinds of problems is this therapy good at treating and when is it not suitable?

Dr. Heath Soignier: “Chiropractic” therapy is widespread in the human world and is gradually becoming accepted in the veterinary world. Veterinary manipulative therapy of the spine, or better known as “chiropractic”, is a holistic approach to treating injuries, body aches, etc. and should also be viewed as preventive therapy. Documented science supports the effectiveness of manipulative therapy. Spinal manipulation is a safe and effective treatment for animal patients. It can and will affect the nervous system directly and indirectly, allowing the therapist to think about the patient’s neuroanatomical function. As integrative therapies become increasingly sought after, it is important to remember that a full evaluation of a patient and reasonable treatment is recommended.

A common misconception is that a bone is “out of place”. It is better described as a lack of exercise or a limitation in movement of a joint due to the normal range of motion. The goal of a manual chiropractic adjustment is to bring movement into a joint that has not moved properly or effectively over its entire range of motion.

These joints (units of movement) are palpated and examined for movement or lack of exercise, as well as for heat and sensitivity. An adjustment is defined by experts as “high-speed, low-amplitude thrust in a particular direction of a particular joint”. When an adjustment is made, some things happen to the specific joint that is being manipulated. These include dissolving adhesions, releasing synovial folds, and stimulating receptors in and around the joint. It is important to know that these joints are only manipulated by millimeters. By stimulating muscle receptors, the tone of muscles, tendons and the surrounding tissue is also influenced. This can help prevent tendon injuries, where an equestrian may have some tension in a muscle that isn’t clinically painful, but the extra tension can lead to an injury under stress.

This treatment modality is most often considered after conventional veterinary care has failed to resolve the patient’s pain or discomfort. Some common indications for this therapy can be unresolved lameness, sudden changes in behavior, sports injuries, or it can be used as complementary therapy. Some patients will respond to general conditioning and signs of pain or discomfort in areas over the body such as the B. TMJ problems examined. Muscle pain and tone can indicate signs of joint limitation / dysfunction.

A major contraindication to treatment would be a fracture within a joint segment. Other contraindications would be neoplasia, pyrexia (fever), nausea, or bleeding. The possibility of making an adjustment always depends on the cooperation of the patient. Safety for patient and therapist must always be in the foreground.

Due to the increasing prescription of medication among equestrians, a manipulative therapy of the spine is being sought more often today. A more holistic approach is widely accepted in the equestrian industry. These therapies can help our equestrians and provide safe and effective treatment.

Dr. Heath Soignier grew up on a small farm in Bosco, La. After working at a mixed animal veterinary office during high school, he decided to attend Louisiana Tech University for a bachelor’s degree in animal science. He graduated from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 and completed a clinical year at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2012. Dr. Soignier completed his outpatient internship with Rood and Riddle in 2013 and Rood and Riddle as employees. Among the specialties of Dr. Soignier include reproduction, neonatal medicine, and dentistry. In 2019 he became a certified veterinary spinal manipulation therapist.

When he doesn’t see patients, Dr. Soignier enjoys spending time with his wife Catherine and daughter Lucia on their small farm in Georgetown, Kentucky. He is also an avid sports enthusiast and nature lover.