Frequently Asked Questions - Animal Chiropractic

Q: Is chiropractic safe for my dog, cat, or horse?

A: Yes, when performed by a veterinarian certified in animal chiropractic with the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA). This organization provides certification for veterinarians and chiropractors who, after extensive study, have shown themselves to be proficient in anatomy, chiropractic theory, and practical chiropractic techniques. It is not recommended to utilize a veterinarian or chiropractor who has simply attended a "short course" (a day, weekend, or week-long course) in animal chiropractic.  Ask the practitioner that you are considering using what kind and how many hours of training he/she has had.

Dr. Mueller adjusts a cat Equine Chiropractic Chiropractic Cat Karen Mueller, DVM

Q: How are chiropractic treatments performed on my pet?

A: Dogs: Dr. Mueller spends some time getting to know your dog. With your permission, she gives lots of high-quality treats and makes the visit fun for your dog. Usually, the pet owner will sit opposite Dr. Mueller, and the pet will stand on a non-skid mat on the floor with the owner holding his head and reassuring him if needed. (Small dogs can stand on a mat on an adjustable examination table.) Dr. Mueller introduces herself to the dog, then works from the dog's hindquarters, getting him used to her touch and voice. She performs some loosening and relaxing muscle work, motion palpation, then a chiropractic examination and adjustment from this position. Most dogs really enjoy their visit and are eager to return.



Cats: Cats usually stands or sits on a mat on the examination table. Dr. Mueller introduces herself to the cat, then gets him used to her voice and touch. She then motion palpates the kitty, and does her chiropractic examination and adjusting. One of the rules of adjusting cats is to "get in and get out", as although most cats will allow and even enjoy chiropractic, some will grow tired of it and impatient in short order. With the owner's permission, Dr. Mueller will offer the cat a treat in his carrier to help keep the visit fun.


Horses: Horses can have chiropractic in a safe area where they are relaxed, usually in their stall, the aisleway, or the arena. Dr. Mueller introduces herself to the horse, then accustoms him to her voice and touch. She motion palpates the horse and adjusts him as she performs her chiropractic examination. She uses a portable mounting block to achieve the correct position for adjusting. She checks the horse's extremities (head, legs, and tail) for malpositions and manipulates them accordingly. Of special note in horses is the sternum, or breastbone. Dr. Mueller has seen tremendous improvement in horses when a malpositioned sternum is corrected with chiropractic.


Q: Will my dog enjoy his chiropractic treatment?

A: Yes! It is the rare dog that isn't excited to come for his chiropractic treatment. Most dogs enjoy everything about chiropractic, from seeing the veterinarian they have become familiar with through regular care, getting petted and praised, having body work done, and getting a treat (if it's OK with their owner, of course).

Q: How do you adjust a large animal like a horse?

A: Although it is true that adjustments on large animals take a little more strength than on small animals, the most important aspect is that the adjustor must position herself above the horse to achieve the appropriate "line of correction" for the adjustment. This usually means standing on a mounting block or hay bales to achieve the necessary height. As long as the horse is reasonably cooperative, the adjustments are not difficult.

Q: How long will an initial appointment or adjustment take?

A: Initial appointments for cats and dogs usually take 35-45 minutes. If radiographs (x-rays) are available for review it may take a little longer. Follow-up appointments take about 20 minutes. Initial appointments for horses usually take 45-60 minutes.

Q: How do I find a veterinarian certified in animal chiropractic if I don't live near Bellingham, Washington?

A: Use the web to search for a AVCA certified veterinarian in your area or ask your regular veterinarian for a referral.

Q: Can you come to my home or facility to provide chiropactic for my pets?

A: Although Dr. Mueller does not typically do house calls for dogs and cats, special arrangements can be made for multiple pets or special events.

In Washington State it is illegal to charge for chiropractic services on any animal by someone other than a veterinarian, or a chiropractor who is under the direct supervision of a veterinarian.