There's a potentially sad story about a Barrie daschund. Now this dog breed already has inherent difficulties just with its body shape but this three year old male was a sad sight. He had three herniated discs and his painful life included paralysis in his back end. He dragged himself across the floor.

His owners, in love with the wee fellow, were desperate to get some help. Prednisone was the drug of choice and xrays indicated that surgery was not really going to fix anything ... that was the medical advice and it makes sense.

But these owners were determined and they showed up at the Bradford St offices of Susan Shaw.

Now Susan has been a chiropractor for 19 years. She's been removing blocks from energy systems housed inside the body's spine and joints. As the body's master control system, intereference in the spine lowers body function level, according to Susan and her fellow chiropractors.

So, why wouldn't adjustments to the spine of the sad daschund help remove interference?

Turns out, it would. Susan was fresh from a year's chiroptractor training on small and large animals and she carefully placed her new patient on a table in her animal treatment room. It took 6 visits over 3 weeks and the dog started to support himself on his back legs... wobbly but standing. Two weeks later (4 more visits) and he took a few steps and wagged his tail... tail wagging doesn't happen with herniated discs.

Now, that dog is walking and the owners are thrilled. Because the injuries were so severe, he'll have longterm problems, but he's mobile and happy and out of pain and so are his owners.

While Susan Shaw would never claim to take the place of a veterinarian, she certainly sees herself as an adjunct to vet care. She currently has 25-30 regular canine patients who trot into her treatment room each week. It's a separate room from her human patients and she sees her canine friends at different times of the day (though canine owners often get their treatment along with their pet). Animal chiropracty is relatively new and extremely effective for animals who've had falls, or who can no longer get up on the sofa or the bed.

"While they don't talk like humans do, animals are intuitive about their bodies. They heal faster. When an animal has an ache or a pain, they stop. They pace around because they're in pain. They're like children... they respond quickly to treatment because they don't push themselves at the injury stage," says Susan.

She'd been treating her human patients for 15 years when she decided to start animal training in 2004. Every week for a year she flew to Chicago and caught a small plane to Moline, Illinois where she spent a week in animal training.

It certainly equipped her for the additions she's made to her very busy chiropractic practice. Not only has she added dogs, but she sees the odd cat and she works on location on a number of standard bred horses at Georgian Downs. Those horses pull heavy equipment and they respond quickly to chiropractic adjustments. It not only relieves their pain, it increases their performance.

So, when Susan started greeting animals at her clinic, how did her patients react? "Some people thought I was a bit crazy. But I have clients who now bring their animals to me. Pets are important to people," responds Susan. www.shawchiropractic.ca

"Of course the bulk of my practice is still people!"

Bet the daschund has one bark for Susan... Gruff! or, Thanks!

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