Veterinary Spinal Manipulation (VSM)
What is Veterinary Spinal Manipulation (VSM)?
Veterinary spinal manipulation (VSM) is a system of health care for animals based on manipulation of the spine to restore its normal motion and alignment. Doing so relieves any restrictions on the nerves or the spinal cord that could impair their function and the function of the organs they innervate.
Misalignments, called subluxations, can be caused by trauma, by the rigors of the animal’s activities (i.e. riding horses or agility in dogs), or by stress.
Correcting these misalignments relieves pain and enhances the animal’s mobility.
How is VSM performed?
Each vertebra is checked by testing its range of motion in relation to adjacent vertebra. If a restriction of motion is felt, a carefully modulated thrust is applied to the vertebra in the direction needed to relieve that restriction. Bones are not “put into place” but are freed and allowed to assume their normal positions. A series of treatments may be necessary until the animal’s body relearns where normal is.
VSM can be performed on a wide variety of pets and livestock, including cats, dogs, horses, sheep, goats, cattle and more.
What conditions can VSM treat?
Spinal manipulation can be used to treat animals with sore necks or backs. It can help older stiff animals with chronic lameness that develop back problems from moving incorrectly. It may be helpful in dogs with intervertebral disc disease by relieving some of the pressure on the disc. Animals with vague, hard to diagnose lameness or that are “off” may have problems in the spine or pelvis that can be treated. Some cases of urinary incontinence or lick granuloma on the legs can be helped with spinal manipulation too.
Working dogs or athletic dogs that do sheepherding, agility and flyball or other similar activities also benefit from spinal manipulation by keeping them in the best possible condition for the rigorous demands placed on their bodies.
Dr. Marta Engel is certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). The AVCA is an organization combining chiropractors and veterinarians that have completed specialized post-graduate training in animal chiropractic.