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Equine Chiropractic

Dr. Andrea Sotela completed the Animal Chiropractic Course at Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic in February 2019.  She is certified by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA).


Chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the vertebral column) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects overall health.  Chiropractic adjustments can help restore the spinal column’s normal movement to promote healthy neurologic activity, which in turn supports biomechanical and musculoskeletal function and overall health. Chiropractic care centers on detecting abnormal or decreased motion of the individual vertebra and helping to restore that normal function found in healthy horses. 


Equine Chiropractic is a form of manual therapy that uses short lever, high velocity, low amplitude, controlled thrusts. Forces (“adjustments”) are applied to specific articulations or anatomic regions to induce a therapeutic response.  Chiropractic treatment does not replace traditional veterinary medicine; however, it can provide an additional means of diagnosis and treatment for a variety of musculoskeletal disorders and performance problems.  It can also be used to detect subclinical conditions (those not yet causing clinical signs) or abnormal biomechanics, that untreated, may progress to more significant lameness issues.  


Horses that could benefit from chiropractic care may present with many signs, the most common of which is pain or discomfort. 


Common observations can include:


  • behavior changes

  • abnormal posture

  • reduced performance

  • ear-pinning or biting when being saddled

  • head tossing under saddle

  • disobedience while jumping

  • difficulty performing lateral work or collecting

  • difficulty turning or working in one direction

  • swishing the tail or pinning ears when being worked

  • sensitivity to touch or grooming

  • difficulty chewing and or TMJ pain

  • problems with the bit or bridle

  • muscle atrophy

  • difficulty engaging the hind quarters

  • decreased range of motion or stiffness in gaits

  • difficulty flexing the neck or poll


Other reasons you might pursue chiropractic care for your horse include musculoskeletal conditions that are recurring or not responding to conventional therapy; treatment following recovery from a significant lameness, trauma or surgery; and preventive or maintenance care for horses in training. Early implementation of chiropractic care following an injury is recommended. Chiropractic can be useful for alleviating pain in horses with chronic issues but will not reverse degenerative changes already present. However, chiropractic care may contribute to the rehabilitation of most cases by helping to restore normal nerve, muscle and skeletal function. This therapy’s benefits are greatest when it’s used in conjunction with traditional veterinary care as a preventive approach to help keep a horse balanced, healthy and performing at their best.  

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