What does it entail?
The aim of the veterinary chiropractor is to identify and then treat spinal subluxations by restoring normal mobility to the facet joints and thus correct any functional misalignment in the spine. This is done via spinal manipulation also known as an adjustment.
An adjustment is made by placing the hands over directly on the affected vertebra and using a quick short thrust along the plane of the facet joint. It is a very specific high speed but low force manoeuvre that mobilises the affected joint beyond its normal active range of movement but without exceeding the boundaries of anatomical integrity. It is a very safe and comfortable procedure when done by a professionally qualified practitioner and unlike some other non specific manipulation methods, does not overstretch ligaments.
Depending on the size of the patient the degree of thrust necessary to correct a subluxation will differ. For example you would obviously not use the same force on a toy dog that you would on a cart horse. But even on a Shire horse with a very large and thick muscle mass overlying the spine, the vertebral joints are surprisingly flexible and easy to manipulate with minimal force once the correct technique is used.
Non specific or 'long lever techniques' such as 'straightening' the spine for example by pulling on the legs or tail are not recommended as it can affect and potentially damage a number of ligaments and joints before the force reaches the vertebrae. Non specific procedures should preferably be avoided in favour of specific short lever techniques as would be practised by an IVCA recognised practitioner.