Friday, July 19, 2013
Gracie seems to take her adjustment in stride. She calmly leans against Alan Thompson as he performs orthopedic manipulation. While Gracie can’t vocalize that she feels better, it’s obvious to her owner that something good is happening.
Gracie, all 105 pounds of her, is a 9-year-old golden retriever, and as she began to slow down, Judy and Charlie Bauknight of Murrells Inlet opted to try chiropractic for their pet.
So they called on Thompson, who has been performing chiropractic work on other people’s animals since he became certified in veterinary orthopedic manipulation in December, after three days of intensive study.
“I’ve always done it on my own animals,” Thompson said, “so I started looking into various certifications and this one – VOM -- seemed to fit best.”
It didn’t hurt that he already had the equipment, similar to the gear he uses in his chiropractic practice on humans.
“It helps old dogs move better,” he said.
“It’s totally painless and noninvasive.” Thompson’s growing VOM practice includes show animals as well as pets. “For the show animals, it seems to improve the gait and the look,” he said.
Thompson has kept his human patients, but he’s seen a 10 to 25 percent increase in his work with animals.
“I don’t diagnose, but I do try to remove joint problems,” he said. Although sharing some similarities with chiropractic care, VOM is a separate type of treatment, which works for cats, dogs and in Thompson’s treatment offerings, horses. So far, Thompson has worked with a number of dogs and horses, but fewer felines.
“I do cats if I must,” he said.
He uses four main instruments, including a low-level cold laser to treat some pain at the cellular level. And because the instruments are small, he will make house calls and sees small animals at his Pawleys Island office.
Many of his patients show improvement after one or two treatments, but Thompson tries not to set minimum or maximum number of treatments.
“Each animal is different; so you can’t really say how many treatments are needed,” he explained.
He likes to plan for about five sessions initially, which gives him time to assess the problem and see what treatments work best for each animal.
Thompson is one of two chiropractors in the area listed on the American Animal Adjusting Association website. Robert Powers of Georgetown also is among the 1,200 practitioners in the U.S. and Canada.
By Anita Crone
For The Times