While animal chiropractic gains popularity, more and more chiropractors are benefiting from this subspecialty.
By Wm. L. Inman, DVM, CVCP
Whether you call it animal adjusting, animal chiropractic, or veterinary chiropractic, this specialty is not just a hobby or a curious diversion for chiropractors any longer.
In the United States alone, more than 4,400 licensed chiropractors (and 3,400 licensed veterinarians) have been trained in the application of chiropractic principles to diseases of the domestic and exotic quadrupeds.
The rewards for this type of “subspecialty” for the working chiropractor are both professional and financial. The application of animal adjusting evokes a pleasant lifestyle, minimal resistance, scheduling freedom, excellent clinical success, and significant income potential.
On top of that, it’s fun, safe, and is in high demand, which makes promotion and advertising unnecessary. Say goodbye to insurance companies, and plan on getting paid two to three times what a human adjustment would generate. Working in the veterinary field with licensed veterinarians is easy, pleasant, and rewarding, as both professionals work together to arrive at a healing solution for the veterinary client.
Client patient potential
In a chiropractic practice, 60 percent of everyone who walks through the door has at least one pet. While chiropractors labor tirelessly to educate patients on the need for chiropractic care, how it works, why it works, and what is causing its need, the patient begins to think in terms of disease conditions that have been successfully treated with chiropractic, and in turn, may recognize these disease processes in their pets.
It is only logical these patients would seek chiropractic care from their veterinary health professional and want their veterinarian to adjust their pet. Unfortunately, most veterinarians have had little exposure to chiropractic principles in veterinary school, and have never considered subluxation complex reduction as a means to solve any clinical problem. As a result, they likely respond with medicines, surgery, steroids, or euthanasia.
Since 65 percent of everything that walks through the door of a veterinary hospital is held in place by vertebral subluxation complex and usually responds poorly to medicines and surgery, the chiropractor, who is considered a “last resort,” is often successful and considered a “miracle worker.”
This means an unlimited number of potential patients already exist in the chiropractor’s practice. Typically, when a chiropractor mentions to his patients he registered for an animal adjusting course, he or she arrives at the course with dozens of patients already lined up for treatment when they return.
Often times, they do not need to promote their care, as word-of-mouth drives their animal adjusting subspecialty and they end up staying as busy as they want to be.
In the last 15 years of animal adjusting, the classic or diversified adjusting method has been outpaced by instrument-aided diagnosis and treatment. “Chiropractic” means with the hands, and manual adjusting has been done for centuries on all animals. B.J. Palmer formally adjusted horses in the early 1920s. The history of classical joint manipulation has been transposed to animals in formal training as far back as 1989 by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA),
the recently formed International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA), and the International Association of Veterinary Chiropractitioners (IAVCP).
All three organizations have training programs associated with their methods. The manual animal adjusting method is a healing art requiring hands-on
training. The core courses are typically five to eight weeks long and taught in several locations in the U.S. and courses can be found on the Web.
The IAVCP and American Animal Adjusting Association (AAAA) deliver instrument-aided diagnosis and animal adjustment courses internationally. A fractious pit bull, a feral cat, a terrified painful horse, or even a Jack Russell Terrier who won’t hold still are all pets who need to be adjusted, but probably won’t cooperate with a manual adjustment.
Instrument-aided adjustments require no cooperation or relaxation and can be delivered to all animals all the time.
In most states, chiropractic is limited to the human spine. Thus, animal chiropractic and veterinary chiropractic is an oxymoron and, although accurate, is often not allowed. This is not fair for the organizations that train and certify “animal chiropractors.” Veterinarians who train to classically adjust animals also cannot call themselves “chiropractors.”
The term “chiropractitioner” is a trademarked term and has been used in all states by both veterinarians and chiropractors alike. CVCP is a certified veterinary
chiropractitioner. When queried, state organizations — both veterinary and chiropractic — are unsure who can adjust and who cannot. It is a certainty that, with some exceptions, a chiropractic license does not allow a DC to adjust animals without veterinary affiliation. Veterinary affiliation requires active professional responsibility by a state licensed veterinarian, not a casual relationship.
A number of states, such as Colorado, have passed laws allowing DCs to work autonomous to direct veterinary affiliation if specific training and certification requirements are met. This may be the future of this specialty.
Problems associated with doctors of chiropractic practicing on animals for money is due to lack of veterinary affiliation — essentially practicing veterinary medicine without a license.
The DC’s veterinary affiliate is where all his or her cases are referred and protects and defends the DC who becomes a valuable practice associate and a solution for heretofore untreatable problems.
A typical DC working in this field will often find animals much easier to treat, and clients who are more willing to accept care and pay for it.
They find they net three times more for their time and effort. Their efforts are greatly appreciated and DCs who adjust animals never fill out an insurance form.
There are no thirdparty payments, billings, or delays in payments. They find their success rate in the 91 percent to 93 percent range consistently, and their care is needed and appreciated. The lifestyle is healthy, professionally rewarding, and fun.
Wm. Inman, BS, BS, DVM, CVCP, is the author and originator of the VOM Technology and the president and CEO of the IAVCP and the AAAA. He has trained almost 8,000 graduate doctors in the field of animal adjusting. He delivers intensive two, three, and four-day seminars in animal adjusting and veterinary low level laser therapy. He can be reached at 8889354866.