To go or not to go: Constipation in Pets

Constipation and Chiropractic – What’s the Connection?


constipated                Have you ever noticed your pet straining to do their business, and yet nothing comes out? Constipation isn’t a condition that only affects humans, unfortunately. It can hinder our fur family as well. The good news? Chiropractic care helps many animals afflicted with this condition – especially those that don’t have success with traditional treatments. Why is this you ask? First, we must understand the causes of constipation. Then, we can discuss what animal chiropractic is and how it can help our pets.

What are the causes of constipation?

                  There are numerous causes of constipation. These include:

  • Dehydration
  • Swallowing a foreign object like a rock, etc.
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Infected anal glands
  • Stress
  • Neuromuscular disorders involving injury to the nerves that supply the muscles of the colon

The last reason listed is of particular interest to animal chiropractors. To understand why, we must first understand what animal chiropractic care is.

What is animal chiropractic?

Animal chiropractors are vets or chiropractors who pursue post-graduate education in animal care and are board certified. They are trained to evaluate the spine and look for biomechanical abnormalities, often referred to as structural shifts. When they find these, they use very gentle corrections to return them to their normal position. Why is this a big deal? Structural shifts cause an inflammatory response that can affect the spinal cord and nerves throughout the spine.

How can animal chiropractic help our constipated friends?

Unfortunately, these spinal abnormalities can disturb the nerves that run to and from the intestine. This can impair the message between the control centers that initiate defecation and the muscles responsible for pushing. It’s like trying to watch satellite TV on a day when there’s a massive thunderstorm. The image is fuzzy because the message from the satellite cannot get through the obstruction of the storm.

The main nerves responsible for using the restroom come from the rear end area around the hips.   This area is also under a lot of stress as a result of the crazy things our pets do. Even something as simple as jumping onto a couch may affect the spine in the rear end. If this occurs, it can cause inflammation of the nerves running to the colon. Animal chiropractors are trained to detect these minor misalignments and gently correct them. This will result in a normal alignment that reduces the inflammation in the area affecting all the nerves. If there is a neurological component to your pet’s constipation, chiropractic can help them out!

To sum everything up, constipation is a condition that affects all species. There are many different reasons it may occur. However, subtle problems with the nerves as a result of biomechanical issues in the spine are hard to detect and may result in constipation. This is where animal chiropractors can help, and make your pet regular again!

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