Does my pet need a chiropractor or veterinary physiotherapist?

Updated: Apr 16

How to choose your rehab professional...


Very valid question! There are a whole host of highly qualified professionals in the rehabilitation word it can be tricky to know which is best for your pet.


When something isn’t quite right we as pet owners always know, right? But the hard part comes when we have to make a decision, how are we going to fix them? Or more acutely who do we want to fix them or who is the best person to fix them?


If you’re struggling just drop them a message and ask. We all want what is best for your pet and if that isn’t us we will point you in the direction of someone who can help you.


But here are a few pointers to get you on the right track.


What are the differences between a vet physio and a chiro?


Chiropractors work with bones, muscles and joints.


Uses mainly joint manipulation (short sharp movements) and stretching of muscles.


So what conditions do chiropractors most commonly see?


  1. Miss aligned skeleton usually the spine or pelvis

  2. Muscle tension is treated with stretching

  3. OA caused by miss-aligned joints

  4. Hip/elbow dysplasia to help re-align the joints

  5. Luxating patella to help align the limb preventing luxation occurring as frequently

  6. Neck and back pain by re-aligning the spine and pelvis


Physiotherapists help to restore movement and function of the bones, joints, soft tissues, nervous system, circulation and respiratory systems.


Using mainly manual (massage and stretching) and electrotherapies (TENS, NMES, Laser, PEMF, thermal therapies etc.) and remedial exercises.


So what conditions do vet physios most commonly see?


  1. Muscle tension treated with massage, laser and heat therapy

  2. Trigger points treated with laser and massage therapy

  3. Muscle pain cause identified in the way your pet moves and treated with PEMF, massage, TENS and remedial exercises to prevent reoccurrence

  4. Joint pain treated with massage, PEMF and remedial exercises to improve the motion of the joint and prevent further pain

  5. Muscle tears treated to improve the functionality of the scar tissue

  6. Tendon and ligament damage, these injuries require an extensive rehab program

  7. OA to reduce joint pain, improve range of motion and quality of life

  8. Hip/elbow dysplasia remedial exercise to improve joint stability and decrease pain

  9. Luxating patella where the aim is to improve muscle mass to stabilise the joint

  10. Locking stifle where the quadriceps muscle needs to improve its strength

  11. SIJ dysfunction treated with PEMF and remedial exercises to reduce pain and improve movement

  12. CCLR treatment focuses on improving joint stability through muscle building

  13. Fractures are treated with PEMF to speed up the healing process

  14. Back pain usually caused by muscle tension or SIJ dysfunction

  15. Improving performance and fitness by improving muscle mass and strength by using remedial exercises find out more about then here


No matter who you choose some things you need to check are:


  1. Qualifications (McTimmony is most common among chiropractors and MSc in veterinary physiotherapists)

  2. Professional bodies and associations they are members of such as AHPR, NAVP, RAMP etc.

  3. CPD or continued professional development ensures that the practitioner you choose is up to date with current research and practices

  4. Insurance any practitioner you use should be fully insured

  5. Experience with your pets condition, breed, sport etc.

  6. Remember price isn’t everything… I’ll just leave you with that thought


Think physio is right for your pet? Book your session now HERE






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