No, this is not the premise of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch. Animal chiropractors are 100 percent for real. Just ask the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, the certifying body for trained doctors of chiropractic specializing in the misaligned spines of cats, dogs and horses. The association has certified more than 1,100 people in this field since 1989.
Chiropractors use a series of manual adjustments to bring the vertebrae of the spine and other joints into alignment to allow for the unrestricted function of the nervous system. If it works for humans — relieving chronic pain, increasing range of motion — then why can't it work on animals?
Well, for one thing, animals can't talk. So it takes a very sensitive and experienced veterinary chiropractor to recognize and diagnose areas of pain, sensitivity and stiffness. Animal chiropractors are graduates of training and certification programs like the pioneering Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic in Wellsville, Kansas.
Horse chiropractors are in the most demand, making house calls (stable calls, technically) to adjust giant spines of thousand-pound animals. Annual salaries for horse chiropractors range from $40,000 to $85,000 [source: SalaryExpert].