and Saddle fits Oh My!
may or may not know that Dr. Sergent offers chiropractics, acupuncture and
saddle fitting, but how do you know it that is what your horse needs?
This is not always an easy question to answer.
There are many symptoms that may lead you to alternative medicine,
especially if traditional treatments have failed.
These symptoms may include:
issues, i.e. bucking, rearing, resisting aids, refusing jumps
issues, i.e. poor transitions, poor movement in one direction, stiffness,
difficulty with the canter
Chiropractics are beneficial when there is an increase or decrease in the range of motion of a vertebral complex or joint. The change in the range of motion influences the nerve endings in that particular joint as well as nerve impulses to the surrounding muscles and organs. When a horse is adjusted for the first time, there may be muscle contractures or stretching around the abnormal joint/vertebral complex. During the first adjustment, the horse may experience some mild discomfort. This discomfort is usually followed by relaxation, chewing, dropping of the head, heavy breathing and closing of the eyes. The length of time the problem has been present determines the number of treatments necessary, and often the success of therapy.
One of the most important things to
remember in choosing to use a chiropractor for your horse is to use either a
veterinarian, who is a certified chiropractor, or use a certified chiropractor
with a veterinarianís involvement. It
is actually illegal for a chiropractor with out a veterinary license to adjust
your horse without direct (on premises) supervision of a veterinarian in
California. This is to protect your
horse and you. Often I get called
out for a chiropractic evaluation and it turns into a lameness issue. A human or
lay Chiropractor does not have the years of animal anatomy, neurology and
experience required to identify an issue that is a lameness.
I have found that it only makes sense to adjust a horse if I have taken
care of underlying problems first. These
problems may include behavioral issues, foot balance, lameness, neurological
issues, conformation as it relates to type of riding (suitability of horse), and
girth/back pain related to saddle fit.
Saddle fit seems to be an area where
many horses and owners can benefit from some expert advice. Teaching what to
look for in a new saddle as well as evaluating your current saddle is included
in the saddle fit service provided by Dr. Sergent.
additional training and knowledge of anatomy is important.
Acupuncture again requires thorough knowledge of
equine anatomy, physiology and neurology. Acupuncture
must be performed by a veterinarian trained in acupuncture.
Someone who is not a veterinarian may perform acupuncture only under the
direct supervision of a veterinarian. Acupuncture
is performed with acupuncture needles, which are much finer then what we use in
everyday shots. The needles
are placed into acupoints, which are real anatomical sites.
Acupoints, microscopically, are structures
with fine nerve endings and blood vessels that have been shown to have
lower resistance than other parts of the body.
Stimulation of these sites affect neurologic blood flow which affect
numerous structures in the body for example muscles and organs.
A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical
Association in July of 2005 on electroacupuncture? for thoraco-lumbar pain
showed that three sessions of acupuncture can alleviate pain in the thoraco-lumbar
region for two weeks where bute and saline (controls) could not. In acupuncture, the needle is left in place for 20-30 minutes
during which time most animals exhibit the same signs of relaxation mentioned
with chiropractic treatment. On
occasion, a horse may become irritated by the placement of the needle, this is
The end goal of Chiropractic and acupuncture
therapy is to normalize body function to allow the animalís body to heal
itself. Why not treat your horse to a day at the spa?