Pets often have similar health issues as humans. Injuries or strains to muscles or joints can cause discomfort and prevent them from being as mobile as they should be.
Humans with such problems often see a chiropractor for relief. Pets can do so, too.
Dr. Daniel King is one practitioner who provides animal chiropractic services.
He became certified for animal chiropractic about 16 years ago and incorporated those services into his veterinary practice then located in Tolono, Illinois, just south of Champaign-Urbana.
He has since sold the clinic and has a home office, but offers chiropractic care for animals in various clinics and some businesses in Illinois and Indiana, including Auntie Barbara’s Bed, Bath & Biscuit in Lowell.
Owner Barbara Goetz met King about nine years ago when seeking treatment for her rescue dog, a mixed breed named Fiona Louise. She was referred to King by her holistic veterinarian in Illinois.
“For my dog, he has been invaluable, as she has some chronic issues that need constant maintenance," Goetz said. "He keeps her pain-free and healthy.”
King has done chiropractic on not only cats and dogs but also horses, and has colleagues who have worked on birds, dolphins — even a koi fish.
“The patients he sees here have a variety of issues," Goetz said.
“I have seen dogs who could not walk, start walking again. Agility dogs are kept in top physical fitness. In some older dogs, I believe he has increased their lifespans. He treats the whole animal and really knows his patients.”
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King uses animal chiropractic along with applied kinesiology (the study of muscles) to treat animals with weak muscles, muscle spasms, partial paralysis and other chronic issues.
“It doesn’t work to treat the joints and spine if you don’t deal with muscle issues," he said.
"Sometimes it’s the muscles causing the issues. A simple adjustment isn’t going to work if that’s the case. You have to look at the whole animal and figure out why we are seeing these issues."
He also incorporates other methods of treatment as necessary and is certified in animal acupuncture and Chinese herbology, as well as tui na, a type of meridian therapeutic massage. By combining different methods, he can restore nerve flow balance, reduce pain and stabilize diseases.
King said he typically can resolve issues in dogs in three or four visits. Even with some paralysis, dogs often regain up to 90 percent of normal function after five sessions, with subsequent maintenance visits every three or four months.
“I’d say in over 70 percent of the cases, it helps 70 percent of hard chronic cases. In some cases they’ll be be restored to 80 to 90 percent of normal function, depending on age,” he said.
“Owners are really happy about that if they have a dog who hadn’t been jumping or running anymore and just lying around.”
He gave an example of a 15-year-old cat he treated started running up stairs again after four years.
King works out of Auntie Barbara’s in Lowell on the second Friday of the month and, starting in March, is seeing patients three days a week at Wheeling Animal Hospital in Illinois.