I’ve written extensively about the use of chiropractic in animals as well as humans. The bottom line is that the underlying theory is nonsense, and at best the evidence suggests it might offer some benefit for people with back pain, though no more than conventional therapy. This is hardly enough to balance the completely bogus claims for chiropractic therapy, the dangers of neck manipulation, and the nonsense like colonic irrigation and opposition to vaccines so often offered by chiropractors alongside back manipulation.
There is no convincing evidence that the therapy is beneficial for veterinary patients, and it is bizarre that chiropractors claim the problems animals experience, and the therapy they offer, are the same as for humans when the spinal anatomy of human beings is so dramatically different from most other species. Even if chiropractic manipulation of a persons back relieves pain, what possible relevance could this have to twisting a dog’s neck to treat seizures and neurologic problems or chronic internal medicine disorders, as claimed by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association?
An illustration of the extent to which chiropractors practicing on animals so readily leave reality behind is the video below showing chiropractic manipulation of the neck of an injured duck. For the most part, critics of chiropractic are posting this as a joke, with lots of remarks about “quacks.” The problem is that the humor is diminished for me by the cruelty. Taking a frightened wild animal that has been hit by a car and subjecting it to cervical spinal manipulations for which there is not the slightest rational justification is ultimately a form of animal cruelty. It is a far cry from treating a consenting adult human being with back pain, and it illustrates why irrational approaches to medicine not supported by real evidence are not just silly or harmless. Once we head down the rabbit hole and suspend our skepticism and reliance on scientific evidence, we can quickly go from the merely unproven or unlikely to the outright crazy.