Chiropractic For Animals

A complementary and alternative health care profession with the purpose of diagnosing and treating mechanical disorders of the spine and musculoskeletal system with the intention of affecting the nervous system and improving health. It is based on the premise that a spinal joint misalignment, which chiropractors call a vertebral subluxation, can interfere with the nervous system and result in many different conditions of diminished health.

Treatments typically include spinal adjustments to correct the vertebral subluxation, though some may use other holistic interventions as well. In contrast, the term subluxation, as used in conventional medicine, is usually associated with specific conditions which are a direct consequence of injury to joints or associated nerves. A chiropractic adjustment is defined as short lever, high velocity controlled thrust by hand or instrument that is directed at specific articulations to correct vertebral subluxations. It comprises the adjustment of vertebral joints, extremity joints, and cranial sutures. It includes evaluating the patient’s history, intended use/athleticism, health state and prior x-rays and tests. A chiropractic exam includes a neurological exam, stance and gait analysis and motion and static palpation.


Animals can get relief with neck, back, leg, and tail pain, muscle spasms and nerve problems, impact injuries, jaw or TMJ problems, difficulty chewing, event or sports injuries, post-surgical care, bowel, bladder, and internal medicine disorders, maintenance of joint and spinal health, healing and pain relief from chronic internal medicine disorders, lameness, mobility issues, athletic competitions, surgery involving anesthesia, seizures or neurological problems, geriatric household pet, recovery from illness or injury, behavior or mood change, in horses, head shy, cinchy, reluctance to pick up a lead or go in one direction, pulling one way or hair color or pattern change along the body, chronic health problems that do not resolve as expected, signs of navicular disease or laminitis. Rider and horse both benefit from chiropractic.


The Animal Chiropractic Certification Commission (ACCC) of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association develops standards of care in animal chiropractic, conducts a professional certification program and awards credentials to individuals who meet established criteria and assessments in different modes of care. The purpose of the examination process is to ensure the public and the animal chiropractic profession that those candidates who pass written comprehensive and clinical examinations are suitable for certification in the field of animal chiropractic. The examinations are designed to evaluate the suitability for practice in the international animal chiropractic environment.
AVCA Certification: Earning certification from the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association ACCC represents a significant professional achievement. ACCC/AVCA Certification makes an important statement about professional competence that is recognized by the profession, the public and some regulatory bodies.

  • AVCA is the primary national credential for this field in North America
  • Certification was developed based upon input and oversight from both professions
  • Over 855 animal chiropractic professionals have been certified since 1989
  • ACCC has embarked upon a program of continuous improvement for the certification program
  • ACCC/AVCA Certification establishes and promotes professional accountability and visibility
  • ACCC/AVCA Certification increases referrals by identifying those professionals who have met specific standards of knowledge and experience
  • Certification encourages continued professional growth and development
  • Certification adds authority to clinical opinions in medical reports
  • Certification can open doors to speaking engagements, including universities
  • Certified Doctors may call themselves “certified in animal chiropractic by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA)”
  • AVCA Certified Doctors can request release of AVCA Certification status to state licensure boards
  • AVCA Certified Doctors may participate in ACCC committees and activities
  • AVCA Certified Doctors can be listed in the ACCC’s Directory of Certified Doctors which is published on the referral web site ( and which has come to be recognized and published as a valuable resource for consumers and other professionals to find certified practitioners