Our little Beaver Creek foster dog, Chichi is a rescued chihuahua, ten years young. During the time he has been here on the farm, he has showed every desire to romp and play with the other dogs, and very much wants to receive the cuddles most lap dogs of his nature enjoy.
The problem is, he hurts. You can tell from his body language. It makes him so conflicted – wanting to be cuddled, yet snappy if a finger hovered in a sensitive area – which happened to the area most people naturally gravitate to, his upper torso and shoulders.
But that was before we brought Chichi to Dr. Tracy Drynan, B.P.H.E., D.C. Doctor of Chiropractic. She was referred to us by our good friend, and volunteer professional Laura Arseneau of Four Paws Wellness. With 30 years of experience helping people and animals, Dr. Dryan saw it too. She could tell Chichi was holding pain that was likely chronic, and unrecognized for what it was until we brought him to her. Here’s what happened next …
First Impressions – Chichi’s Chiropractic Assessment
Dr. Drynan does not rush into treatment. In fact, she interprets the “treat” part of treatment quite literally! Tasty snacks serve two purposes: to earn Chichi’s trust, and to move him around as she does her first impression visual assessments.
She surmises that Chichi may have suffered some nerve damage in his shoulders at one time, which accounts for the fact that he is stiff and stilted when he walks. Certain parts of his body are doing double the work to compensate for the damage.
His back is arched unnaturally. It’s a condition called “roaching.” It means Chichi is holding way too much tension in the muscles running along his spine. He has a little bit of a tail wag when he walks, but usually the tail acts as a mechanical “pump” and moves with the dog. The fact that his doesn’t is a further demonstration that Chichi is overly tight along his spine.
Dr. Drynan sees that Chichi’s right hind leg extends much farther than the left as she draws him out in a slow walk towards her. Even the way he chews the hard treats are revealing for the doctor’s analysis: given the fact that his musculature is more developed on one side than the other, if he was not tracking the treat with his eyes and chewing it properly, she would know there may be neurological elements at play.
Hands on Chiropractic Treatment for Chichi
The first order of business for Chichi is to start treatment in an area where he is comfortable being touched, namely his lower back and hind legs. The doctor uses gentle palpations around his lower torso, and on a dog his size – just 5 pounds! – its hard to see these subtle movements. But what you can see is Chichi’s roached back starts to drop down, his topline starts to approach a normal position.
And the other remarkable thing is Chichi’s reaction. He is calm, does not snap, and seems to be truly appreciative of the attentions. Though somewhat uncertain of what is actually happening, his eyes when he looks to us seem grateful.
After a little shake out and a drink of water, Dr. Drynan sees that he’s comfortable with the adjustments so far, his tail is wagging much more freely than before, so continues to address some issues.
An adjustment to the “horse’s tail” or cauda equina releases even more tension all along Chichi’s back right up to his head. As she works the psoas muscle in the groin, Chichi’s relief is visible by the fact that his breaths become deeper, he inhales all the way to the abdomen and diaphragm.
By the end of this first session, Chichi’s topline has dropped noticeably, his leg stance is more squared than bowed, he’s breathing more deeply – oh, and he’s ready for a nap! On the way home in the car, he did just that.
In the few days after the treatment, we noted several other positive changes. For instance, previously he only slept in one position – laying straight out, chin on forelegs. Now he curls into a ball like any other dog. He curls to groom his belly too, scratches his ears with his back feet and is more flexible throughout his body.
Behaviourally, he is now asking to be picked up! He has no problem with the people he knows running their hands from top of the head to tail in a typical doggy pet, or scratching his chest under his chin, previously not something Chichi allowed. He no longer flinches from touch, which will allow more people, specifically potential adopters, to know him and love him like we do
More Chiro Goodness
The second visit was even more awesome. Chichi couldn’t wait to see Dr. Drynan, he was so excited, hopping and jumping around and whining with anticipation! He even jumped up and down onto the little stool in the exam room – something he didn’t even think about during our first visit. And his good nature and desire to be cuddle is growing exponentially each week. Laura’s Bach Remedies, which she mixed especially for him, are adding their holistic goodness to his recuperation in between chiropractic visits.
We have one more appointment in ten days. Judging by his appearance and behaviour, he’s going to be pain free for the first time in what may have been a very long time.
A Happy Dog is an Adoptable Dog
We are incredibly fortunate to have amazing professionals helping us at Beaver Creek Farm Sanctuary, from Laura Arseneau who referred Dr. Drynan to us, to Dr Drynan, Nancy, Faye and all the staff at Stride Forth Chiropractic. We look forward to the return visit this week.
Chiropractic Care for Your Dog, Cat and Horse
If you would like to explore chiropractic care for your dog, cat or horse, please contact Stride Forth Chiropractic at 1931 Fourth Avenue, St. Catharines ON L2R 6P9 . You can for an appointment at 905-641-3000.
Tell them Chichi from Beaver Creek sent you!
READ MORE ABOUT CHIROPRACTIC CARE FOR DOGS ON FUREVER NETWORK