Tools in the toolbox...
I started my post-internship career in traditional veterinary practice, 15 minute appointments, a symptom-only approach, and frustration with the "antibiotics and steroids for everyone" mantra. I wanted to practice a different way, to get to know my clients and patients, and to look at the whole picture, to provide options, and to dig deeper into biomechanics, neurology, and wellness. I made the shift in 2005 when I started my own practice. It's a journey down a rabbit-hole, one modality leads to the next, adding tools to the toolbox and then learning how to use them together, or separately, how to listen to the patient, and to recognize that there is not one magic treatment for all... Let's be real -you can't fix a fracture with acupuncture needles, but you can speed healing by promoting circulation. You're not going to reverse major arthritic disease with a chiropractic adjustment - but you can improve the firing of nerves which can help strengthen muscles and soft-tissues, which can better support joints. Most importantly integrity is key- a conscientious and experienced practitioner knows which tool to pull out for the job (a screwdriver is not a wrench) and not only WHEN to treat, but also WHEN NOT to!
Veterinary Chiropractic - VSMT
Chiropractic care works through receptor-based therapy, basically, modulating the nervous system and immune system. When nerves aren't firing correctly, areas may be weak or too tight, creating imbalances. These changes may be secondary to normal wear and tear, trauma (slips, falls, stepping in a hole), improperly fitted tack (saddles, bridles, bits), changes in trimming or shoeing, dental procedures, surgery and much more.
Bucking, rearing, pulling back, biting when saddled, problems with leads or lead changes, tripping, stiffness, uneven bending, and falling in or out on circles are all potential signs of chiropractic problems. Some patients may not show any outward signs at all, but still benefit from a complete assessment and treatment! Horses are horses, and they do things when we're not watching!
A STRONG CORE is imperative for the fitness of both horse and rider. Bodywork, trigger-point release, myofascial treatment, and core strengthening exercises and tools (EquiBands, etc.) are also incorporated or discussed as part of a whole horse evaluation. Horses were not designed to be ridden, we must take care of the structures on which we sit!
**Please note that in most states it is illegal for a non-veterinarian or lay-person to make chiropractic adjustments. Unskilled treatment may cause irreparable harm. Please seek a properly certified and licensed practitioner and check your state practice laws regarding who may provide services.
Veterinary Acupuncture - TCVM
& Chinese Herbal Medicine
I am a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist through Chi Institute in Gainesville, FL, and have also completed Advanced Training. TCVM is based in the Five-Element Theory: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water. When these elements are balanced, the body and mind are in a state of health and wellness. But injuries, environmental stressors, diet changes, allergies, herd dynamics, hormones, and life in general can tip the balance. An acupuncture evaluation includes constitution/element evaluation, tongue and pulse assessment, acupoint scanning, and dry needling, aquapuncture (Vitamin B-12), moxibustion, or electrostimulation (electroacupuncture) depending on each case.
Most patients tolerate acupuncture very well, the needles are very small, thin, and inserted carefully to an appropriate depth. Even needle-shy patients can learn to love acupuncture! However, not all patients tolerate needles, in which cases alternatives such as acupressure, cold laser treatment, herbal therapy, aquapuncture, or manual restraint may be used. I do not believe in sedating my patients unless medically necessary; sedation may negate the natural endorphin release associated with acupoint stimulation.
Acupuncture may be combined with CHINESE HERBAL MEDICINE, or herbs may be prescribed alone to bring balance to the body, treat arthritis, calm the mind, detox the liver, clear the feet, treat stomach ulcers, or more. Herbals are typically chosen carefully in consideration of the patient's constitution and underlying TCVM diagnosis. Only top-quality, non-animal medicines are used.
As a Level One Certified Thermographer and Technical Director of EquineIR, I'm a long-time advocate of PROPER and STANDARDIZED use of infrared thermography. The thermographic camera is non-invasive, safe, and converts infrared waves into images visible with the human eye. Increased and decreased circulation can be compared to typical patterning to determine areas of inflammation or disease. Infrared thermography is "physiologic" imaging and helps to locate and monitor lameness and healing, and is also very useful for saddlefitting, helping with trimming and shoeing (identify imbalances, bruises, abscesses). Anatomic imaging (radiographs, ultrasound, MRI) is often needed post-scan to identify the "part" that is affected. A whole horse scan can be performed in about 20 minutes, followed by a couple days to process and intepret images into a report.
Patient and environmental preparation is necessary for quality images, and images should only be interpreted by an experienced veterinarian.
Saddlefit assessment and education is a major part of my practice and has its own tab above. Please click on the link to learn more about these services.
I have traveled and lectured world-wide, from Equitana Australia to Rolex**** Kentucky. Teaching and coaching are the way to change the future - if you are interested in a lecture, clinic, or event, please reach out.
Coaching, Leadership, eCPR Facilitation, Veterinary Wellness, Clinics, Lectures
If you are interested in a presentation, lecture, clinic, or demonstration, please reach out. A variety of equine health and veterinary wellness topics are available.
I am a Certified eCPR Facilitator and am available for trainings. I have a special interest in veterinary wellness and veterinary social work education for Veterinary practitioners, technicians, support staff, and students alike.