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Movement is life. Proper movement ensures better life.

Your hunting dog probably has no need of chiropractic care. That is, as long as he always runs on perfectly flat, even ground without any sharp turning with full attention on where he is going and what he is doing. Now, if your dog has a life like that you donít need this article - otherwise, read on.

In going to watch field dogs at work, what I saw was highly energetic, enthusiastic athletes running at high speed over terrain that was uneven at best. In my personal athletic experience, my injuries came mostly from split second reaction movements - such as diving for a ball that went differently than expected - rather than a harder blow that I was able to anticipate.

The dogs are probably in much better physical condition than I, but they still are making hundreds and hundreds of reactionary moves per run, thus exposing themselves to frequent opportunity for injury. My clinical experience demonstrates that muscle strain or sprain is usually the cause of the greater percentage of these athletic injuries. Once the muscle spasms, it pulls on bone and throws the whole body out of balance.

What animal adjusting does is to normalize your dogís movement - resetting bone and muscle to their natural positions after he runs his trials. As you well know, the terrain is rough and tumble. Although your dog looks smooth and fluid, there is a lot of shock and trauma going into his body as he flies through his paces. Your dog is constantly bouncing in and out of chuck holes and grass tufts while doing his job.

Think of how tired you feel after just walking those lumpy fields hour after hour in practice runs. What would you be like if you had to run it all - like your four-legged companion? Itís a wonder that they do as well as they do.

"Although your dog looks smooth and fluid, there is a lot of shock and trauma going into his body as he flies through his paces."

Thus far, we have discussed chiropractic for injury. The place where chiropractic care actually works best is in prevention. Injuries occur as the body gets out of balance. The better balance the body is in, the lower the likelihood of injury. The analogy that I like to use is that of tuning up your car. It is common knowledge that tuning up your car is the best way to avoid the large breakdowns that can really screw up your day. Chiropractic care is the sameÖ tuning up the body, correcting the muscle and bony imbalances before they get to the acute stage.

My equine patients frequently get care at shows, in between their classes, to fine-tune their performance. Chiropractic care "tweaks" these athletes to the highest level of function - often giving them the edge over the competition. These are the animals I like to work with the most.

When evaluating whether your dog needs care, think of these points. First, as your dog is standing, does he appear to stand comfortably with all four feet directly underneath himself? Does he short step on any limb? Can he comfortably turn his neck to both sides in grooming himself? If you were to run your hands down his spine, would he flinch or be sore in any spot? When he walks, do his hips swing evenly from side to side? Does his tail? Does he have trouble jumping up or down into your car or truck? Has he taken any big crashes in the field? Depending on what the answers are to these questions, it will give you an idea of whether your dog needs chiropractic care.

What care consists of is evaluating movement, determining improper movement and correcting those areas so that movement returns to normal. Itís that simple. The actual adjustment is rather anti-climatic. It is a very quick, light thrust into the spine or limbs - or rubbing on specific muscles. The trick is in knowing where to thrust or rub. The best part is the dogs love it because they feel so much better.

There are people with all levels of training - from none at all to extensive. I suggest that your practitioners have at least a certification in basic adjusting techniques from AVCA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) approved courses. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me, Dr. Joel Sperling DC at 262.728.1400.

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