Spinal Manipulative Therapy
Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy (VSMT) for animals is a manual method for evaluating the motion of spinal vertebrae and understanding the impact that correct and incorrect motion can have on the function of an animal’s nervous system, pain perception, musculoskeletal comfort, and overall performance. In VSMT, manual adjustments are made to the spinal vertebrae to optimize normal motion of the vertebral segments.
Horses in all stages of life and physical activity may benefit from VSMT adjustments. While VSMT evaluations should be conducted in conjunction with wellness and lameness evaluations, adjustments may be used to improve a horse’s soundness and total body comfort as well as used proactively to avoid or minimize dysfunction of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
VSMT is also available for dogs upon request!
Frequently Asked Questions about VSMT
What is VSMT?
VSMT is a manual method for detecting normal and abnormal motion in the spinal vertebrae and extremities. When an area of abnormal motion is found, the motion is improved at that joint through a manually applied impulse. That impulse is applied in the specific direction and plane of motion in which the joint is restricted. Restoring more normal motion provides direct benefits to the articular, boney, and soft tissue components of the joint. It also provides direct benefit to the nerves and vasculature that interface with that joint, allowing for more normal functioning of these systems.
Who benefits from VSMT?
Any animal who runs, plays, jumps or participates in athletic activity may benefit from VSMT. Any animal that is less athletic than they used to be, is getting sore more often than they used to, or seems to be “slowing down” may also benefit from VSMT. The business of daily living can produce wear and tear on our animals’ bodies, causing them to develop reduced mobility in their spine with secondary muscle soreness, gait changes, reduced athletic performance, and reduced body comfort. Specific strains placed on an animal by the demands of athletic performance including being ridden, jumping over obstacles, wearing a saddle, wearing a harness, pulling heavy loads, or performing on suboptimal footing can all create opportunities for injury and chronic soreness.
Animals may express their reduced comfort in a number of different ways, including changes in attitude, overt lameness, changes in how they gait, resistance to a certain lead or lead changes, refusing to jump obstacles, shortened stride length, reduced flexibility or willingness to bend their neck or back, unwillingness to move forward, and sore areas on palpation, to name just a few.
Why choose VSMT?
VSMT has the ability to non-invasively treat and prevent issues arising from spinal hypomobility. While VSMT should always be conducted in the context of a complete veterinary evaluation, it can be utilized to maximize and then maintain the health of the vertebral system and the musculoskeletal and nervous systems it impacts.
Is VSMT appropriate for my animal?
As with all medical decisions, a recommendation for VSMT should be made on an individual basis. There is no age, breed, gender, or athletic limitation as to who may receive VSMT. VSMT should be conducted in concert with regular veterinary care. Please contact Dr. Renier if you have specific questions about if VSMT is right for your animal.
How often will my animal need VSMT?
The frequency of VSMT sessions is determined by the needs of each individual patient. Factors influencing the frequency of VSMT required include the severity and chronicity of hypomobilities found on examination, your animal’s type and degree of physical activity, concurrent medical conditions, and other therapies your animal is receiving. Some animals may respond to VSMT treatment for acute conditions over a few sessions whereas more chronic conditions may require additional treatment. An example of a preventive health “maintenance” VSMT schedule could include sessions once-a-month.
Preparing for your animal’s VSMT appointment
Please call Dr. Renier (612-750-8245) to discuss the details of your animal’s VSMT appointment. Dr. Renier travels throughout the Greater Twin Cities Area to see horses and dogs for VSMT, both at private locations and at veterinary clinics. Whenever possible, please have your animal’s veterinary records available if this is your animal’s first appointment with Dr. Renier.
Dr. Renier successfully attained certification in Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy in December 2018 from the Healing Oasis Wellness Center. The Healing Oasis school is the only school that provides Post Graduate State Approved (through the Educational Approval Board of WI) Certification in VSMT and is accredited under the United States Department of Education (by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training).
Dr. Renier also successfully completed the certificate of competency provided by the College of Animal Chiropractors, becoming a Fellow of the CoAC (Mixed) in December of 2018.