Anyone who's ever had a chiropractic adjustment knows the relief that aligning the spine can give; animal chiropractors provide the same service for animals. Chiropractic treatment involves restoring motion and normal neurological pathways through precise treatments that relieve pressure. Because animal chiropractic care is a medical-based treatment, schools only admit students who are already licensed doctors of chiropractic or veterinary medicine.
Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic
Located in Wellsville, Kansas, Options for Animals offers a course called Postgraduate Essentials in Animal Chiropractic, which is certified by both the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, or AVCA, and the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Students attend a minimum of 210 hours of lecture and laboratory, or hands-on practice. They also study at home to complete assignments and prepare for exams at the end of each course. Students attend classes and laboratories related to anatomy, neurology, diagnosis, adjusting techniques and animal management. The program can take up to two years to complete; it requires self-study, though, so timing depends largely on the students.
Healing Oasis Wellness Center
Healing Oasis in Sturtevant, Wisconsin, focuses their Post-Graduate Education Certification on functional neurology. The 226-hour program consists of five modules that include instruction in areas such as anatomy, neurology, biomechanics, rehabilitation therapy and spinal manipulation techniques. Students also participate in hands-on labs. Additionally, they are responsible for presenting two cases involving animal patients brought to their practice or recommended for consultation who are prime candidates for chiropractic care. Presenting the case involves detailing the patient's complaint, the findings and a treatment plan. AVCA recognizes Healing Oasis's program as meeting their standards.
Parker University in Dallas takes a holistic approach to animal chiropractics. Students study the science, art and philosophy of the field during its 220-hour program. The course consists of six modules of study, each of which concludes with a written exam and lab practicum. The modules cover topics such as physiology, functional anatomy, peripheral and central neurology and musculoskeletal disorders of animals. The course also places emphasis on the legal constraints facing animal chiropractors. Parker University's program meets AVCA standards.
Becoming an Animal Chiropractor
Attending a AVCA-approved chiropractic program is only the second step toward becoming an animal chiropractor; the first is, of course, obtaining a doctor's license to practice veterinary medicine or human chiropractics. After completing a postgraduate chiropractic program, you must apply for an exam administered by the Animal Chiropractic Certification Commission, or ACCC. The ACCC exam consists of a two-hour written component and a three-hour practicum. Once you pass both portions of the exam, you receive three-year certification through the ACCC and AVCA and are officially licensed to practice animal chiropractics.
Nadia Archuleta has a B.A. in English writing. She spent five years working abroad and has traveled extensively. She has worked as an English as a Foreign/Second Language teacher for 12 years.