Out of Africa

By John Amaro, LAc, DC, Dipl. Ac.(NCCAOM), Dipl.Med.Ac.(IAMA)
It may be safe to assume that in the history of chiropractic I may have the dubious honor of being the first chiropractor to deliver an adjustment to an African tiger.

Having treated more than my fair share of sports figures, movie personalities, and rock stars in my career, I can honestly say I was more excited about the opportunity to treat a distressed tiger than the combined total of all the celebrities I have had the pleasure to treat.

Receiving a call from "Out of Africa," a popular Arizona wild animal park, I was apprised of the plight of a 12-week-old tiger who was in obvious distress with a partial paralysis of the lower extremity. The directors of the park were advised by their veterinarian to seek electro/laser acupuncture as an alternative to the previously administered, unsuccessful treatment.

Both veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic are gaining incredible respect in the veterinary community as more and more dramatic success stories are becoming quite commonplace.

In the second issue of Dynamic Chiropractic (February 1983), a story and photo of myself treating "Rufus," a dog with paralysis in the hind legs, was featured on PM Magazine, a national televised program aired in 88 cities throughout North America. Within eight treatments Rufus had regained use of both his lower extremities and likewise regained both bowel and bladder function.

Both the dog and the tiger where treated with the combined efforts of chiropractic manipulation administered through Activator and electro/laser acupuncture.

Today we are seeing a movement towards both manipulation and acupuncture by an ever increasing number of veterinarians; however, the science is still in its infancy. Many veterinarians around the country are seeking the competency of chiropractic physicians to assist in this work.

So the big question is, "How do you treat an animal? -- Do I need special animal acupuncture charts? How much do I charge for a 'barn call' on an Arabian horse?"

The way you treat an animal is exactly the way you would treat a human. Activator manipulation in small animals and mallets in larger ones have an incredible effect. Obviously leg check is not indicated.

As far as acupuncture is concerned, even though I have acupuncture mannequins of the horse, dog, pig, and cow, I always treat the four-legged patient with acupuncture exactly if they were a human on all fours. Keep in mind however, you have to use a little imagination as to what exactly is the knee and ankle.

How much do you charge? Nothing. The last thing you want to do is begin practicing veterinary medicine unless you are willing to become a vet. Assisting a vet or teaching them how to perform the procedure is acceptable. We have enough human patients to treat without getting involved in veterinary applications.

Until you have had a dramatic success with a seriously ill animal, with either chiropractic or acupuncture, you may not be able to fully appreciate the impact these two sciences have on physiology. Work with your Department of Veterinary Medicine (DMV) as a consultant on their difficult and non-responsive patients and you will reap the rewards of a multitude of patient referrals (human).

John A. Amaro, D.C., F.I.A.C.A., Dipl.Ac.
Carefree, Arizona

Click here for previous articles by John Amaro, LAc, DC, Dipl. Ac.(NCCAOM), Dipl.Med.Ac.(IAMA).

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