Atlantic Veterinary College to Offer Chiropractic Services for Horses

The Atlantic Veterinary College at the University of Prince Edward Island was recently awarded a grant by the Equine Foundation of Canada to support the development of chiropractic services for horses. The new service will mark the first time in Canada that chiropractic training will be offered to doctor of veterinary medicine students.

"Thanks to the generosity of the Equine Foundation of Canada, the Atlantic Veterinary College is able to add a whole new dimension of therapy to its service offerings," said Maggie Coffey, DVM, MBA, director of the Atlantic Veterinary College's Veterinary Teaching Hospital. "We are eager to provide veterinary chiropractic as a noninvasive treatment modality for animals with symptoms ranging from chronic back pain to peripheral neuropathies."

The new chiropractic service will be led by Art Ortenburger, DVM, MS, an associate professor of surgery at the Atlantic Veterinary College, who specializes in equine soft tissue surgery and clinical pain management, as well as veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic.

Training for animal chiropractic is available at the post-graduate level for veterinarians at three schools in North America. Ortenburger completed this training in 2008 and is now certified by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. He has received approval to teach chiropractic techniques to fourth year Atlantic Veterinary College students in a new senior rotation.

"Chiropractic techniques have been developed and applied to animals for about 20 years, though its principles and the underlying research which describes its physiology are essentially the same as for humans," explains Ortenburger. "We hope to offer this to clients to provide further treatment options for problems that cannot be solved through medication or surgery. Chiropractic benefits for horses and other animals are becoming better known, and we can amplify our ability to provide this to more animals by teaching veterinary students the techniques of integrative medicine."

With the support of the Equine Foundation of Canada, the Atlantic Veterinary College has purchased specialized equipment--including an algometer (an electronic instrument to measure the intensity of local pain)--that is needed to provide chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic treatment is applicable to any horse, but the actual need is seen most often in performance horses. Treatment offerings begin this month.

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