The First Appointment
As a minimum the first examination will involve:
- Taking a full history
- Clinical examination and palpation of the horse at rest.
- Observation of the horse in walk and trot in a straight line.
- Checking the range of motion of the joints of the spine and limbs.
If indicated, especially if the horse has not been referred by your vet then the following may also be included:
- Observation of the horse on the lunge.
- Flexion tests.
- Observation of the horse under saddle.
- Ridden examination if indicated.
- Dental examination if indicated.
- Assessment of hoof balance
- Assessment of Saddle fit.
Following examination chiropractic or combination treatment with acupuncture may be carried out. Sometimes it may be more appropriate for the horse to have further diagnostics by your usual veterinary surgeon before proceeding with treatment.
A full veterinary report of the findings and treatment given can be provided if required.
It is not recommended to treat a horse for the first time within 2 weeks of a competition in case of soreness following treatment.
Allow 1-2 hours for the first appointment.
Follow up appointments
Some horses only need to be seen once and most will be significantly better after the first treatment. If there are severe or long standing problems then these horses usually benefit from being treated several times for best results.
After Chiropractic treatment ideally wait 3-4 weeks before having the horse re-examined as it can take this long for the horse to respond fully to the treatment. Acupuncture can be carried out more frequently.
A follow up appointment is the best way to assess the horse's repsonse to treatment and identify the true cause of any problems. Follow up appointments are usually slightly shorter involving a reassessment and carrying out any neceassary treatment.
Regular check ups, for example every 6 months, are the most effective way to avoid future injuries and to maintain an optimum state of health. This is especially critical for equine athletes in very hard work or animals with chronic problems that need careful management.
How will the horse respond to treatment?
Most horses enjoy treatment and become very relaxed. The horse can be sedated if absolutely necessary but this is avoided if at all possible. It is recommended for the horse to have two days off following treatment. Field or horse walker exercise is useful as gentle movement helps stimulate the nervous sytem and muscles.
Some horses will feel better immediately after treatment. Many may be stiff or tired the next day. This is perfectly normal and is part of the body's normal response to the therapy. It is more likely to occur in older horses or those with severe problems.
Back problems often occur because the horse is compensating for pain somewhere else in the body. By taking away these compensations the horse will move straighter and more evenly. Sometimes this makes lameness more obvious because the horse is no longer disguising it with an unnatural gait. This is not a reason not to have your horse treated- leaving it would only allow the injury to get worse before it was noticed.