Chiropractic care for neurologic issues in horses

“Neurologic” doesn’t have to be scary. Everything has its roots in the nervous system. Take a look at how chiropractic care can help with nervous system interference in horses.

When I first graduated from veterinary school, I would get chills down my spine if someone asked me if her horse might have a neurologic condition. Answering “yes” to this question usually meant signing a death certificate for the horse, because it involved diagnoses like wobbler’s, EPM, West Nile, brain tumors, and traumatic injuries to the spinal cord. There was little in my truck that could be used to cure these problems. Anti-inflammatories and stall rest were often used to mask the symptoms and to see if the animal would get better.

A different perspective

After practicing veterinary medicine for 28 years, and animal chiropractic for 18, this question still sends chills down my spine, but for a different reason. Over time, I have learned that everything is neurologic, and that chiropractic care can help these horses.

The nervous system is the first bodily system that forms after two cells come together to eventually develop into the majestic being known as your horse. This is because the nervous system is needed to control every other organ and tissue in the body. The power that turned those two cells into the mass of cells that is now your horse is the same power that controls every reaction that occurs in his body.

Chiropractic care is not about curing your horse’s disease; it is about helping restore normal communication between his brain and every part of his body. Restoring this communication allows the brain to resume appropriate control and guide the organs to function at optimal levels.

chiropractic care
Everything has its roots in the nervous system. Your horse’s chiropractor can work to help restore the body’s ability to heal itself.

Everything begins in the nervous system

A horse with a subluxation will experience improper nerve flow to and from his bodily organs. Without this power, cellular dysfunction begins to occur. Cellular nutrition requires glucose and insulin levels to be in balance. For example, diabetes occurs when cells and hormones are not working together to control and provide appropriate nutrition to the cells of the body. Inappropriate responses cause the cells to be resistant to insulin, which causes glucose and cortisol levels to be elevated all the time. What we call Cushing’s, meanwhile, arises from an inappropriate level of cortisol. Metabolic disease syndrome occurs and causes severe debilitating problems for your horse. It is, essentially, neurologic.

Chiropractic improves immune competence

Chiropractic care has been proven by Dr. Ron Pero to improve immune competence in adjusted individuals by 200% when compared to non-adjusted individuals, and 400% when compared to individuals who were known to be sick. Studies have shown that chiropractic care may influence T and B-lymphocytes, natural killer cell numbers, antibody levels, phagocytic activity and plasma bet-endorphin levels. The nervous system regulates all functions throughout the body; the production of immune cells is no exception. An efficiently functioning immune system protects your horse from all sorts of bacterial and viral challenges.

Chiropractic care is not about curing your horse’s disease; it is about helping restore normal communication between his brain and every part of his body.

A horse that doesn’t receive regular chiropractic care can be more susceptible to contracting an opportunistic viral infection (i.e. West Nile), or symptoms of a parasite that enters the central nervous system (i.e. EPM). This leads to a need for medications to help the horse clear an infection that he wouldn’t have been fazed by if he had a functioning immune system. Louis Pastueur once said, “In a state of health, the body is shut off from the invasion of germs.” All these things have their roots in nervous system interference.

Giving medications to resolve an issue created by nervous system interference will do nothing more than manage the symptoms, generating a false sense of health. Until the cause (nervous system interference) is addressed, health will continue to dwindle, leading to more symptoms and more medications. The chiropractic adjustment is about restoring the power that made the body. Equine chiropractors focus on restoring life, not eliminating symptoms or curing disease. The reason is simple — only the power that made the body can heal the body. With life restored via the chiropractic adjustment, the body is free to work as intended, curing disease and eliminating symptoms on its own!

The root cause

Many different issues can be rooted in nervous system interference.

  • The Harvard School of Medicine recently released a study that recognized chiropractic care as a viable treatment for pain. When your horse is consumed with pain, it is difficult for him to relax and allow the sympathetic nervous system to do things like digest food, heal damaged tissue and eliminate toxins. It is a neurologic issue.
  • A horse with a subluxated rib will experience an inability to breathe deeply. This inability to control oxygen and carbon dioxide levels will alter the pH of his blood. An altered blood pH will change the way his brain controls some bodily functions, leading to conditions like gastric ulcers, kidney problems and muscle fatigue. Again, it’s neurologic.
  • Chiropractic care helps the body resume normal motion. When one area of your horse’s body can’t move properly, compensations must be made in other areas. This abnormal motion leads to altered function of the limb. If left uncorrected, this altered motion can lead to tendon and ligament injuries and chronic joint changes. Evidence-based medicine proves that chiropractic care helps restore a more normal movement in the horse prior to these career-ending problems. Altered motion is neurologic.