Chiropractic: Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM)

What is VOM?

Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM) is a healing technology that locates areas of the spine that have subluxations(a neurologic disturbance or miscommunication in which the animal exhibits pain, paralysis, or loss of function), adjusts/reduces these areas, and induces healing.  VOM is safe, painless, and effective when administered by a VOM trained veterinarian.

Is VOM Chiropractic Care?

No, although VOM does utilize a hand held device called a spinal accelerometer, similar to that used in a popular human chiropractic technique called “Activator Methods”.  VOM has similarities to chiropractic modalities by virtue of treating spinal subluxations and restoring function.  VOM is formally recognized by many professional associations, including the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, and the German Shepherd Club of America.

How It Works

All chiropractic modalities have one thing in common: they all reduce the vertebral subluxation complex by applying motion or force to the fixated or subluxated joint.

VOM delivers this force to the spinal cord with a hand held device called a spinal accelerometer.

Why is VOM so Effective?

VOM finds and reduces ALL neuronal subluxations.  This is important, since physical examination may not demonstrate all affected areas.  For example, a dog with a cervical lesion may be acutely painful in the neck on physical exam, yet show no pain in the lower back, the area that is the source of the cervical lesion in some cases.  The severe neck pain in this situation masks the less severe pain in the lower back.  If this area is left untreated the problem will recur repeatedly.  VOM treats the entire spine, finding and reducing all areas, enabling a complete and lasting cure.VOM demonstrates a pathological reflex or “read” as the accelerometer is passed over an affected area of the spinal cord.  This is seen visually as a twitch or tremor as the affected areas are treated.  This reflex is either present or not, providing an objective means to determine the presence and reduction of neuronal subluxation.

Can VOM harm my Pet?

No!  The beauty of VOM is that the accelerometer provides the exact amount of force to the subluxated joint to reduce the subluxation without motion.  It is the motion inherent in manual adjusting techniques that can potentially harm the animal.  The accelerometer trades motion for speed to maintain the force needed to reduce the subluxation.  When the accelerometer reduces a subluxation, force is applied to the spinal cord, giving the spinal neurons the necessary energy to heal.  The accelerometer is not capable of producing enough force to cause a subluxation, merely reduce existing subluxations.

How do VOM and Chiropractic Differ?

The fastest a veterinary chiropractor can move a joint under optimum conditions with patient cooperation is 80 milliseconds.  An animal’s natural reflexive resistance to adjustment is 20 milliseconds, four times faster.  Obviously, an animal in pain in a veterinary office setting is not going to be a relaxed and cooperative patient, further reducing the speed of manual manipulation.  The accelerometer fires at a rate of 2-4 milliseconds, much faster than the animal’s ability to resist the adjustment.  The patient is always adjusted, every time, irrespective of their mood, cooperation or level of pain.

What Conditions can VOM Treat?

  • Intervertebral Disk Disease
  • Acute and Chronic Lameness
  • Progressive Myelopathies
  • Wobbler disease
  • Urinary and Fecal Incontinence
  • Performance problems
  • Behavior problems
  • Agility dysfunction

What Happens During a Typical VOM visit?

The veterinarian will do a “diagnostic pass” which consists of running the accelerometer down the animal’s spine to identify pathological reads indicative of subluxations.  If subluxations are found and correspond to the clinical disease presentation, a course of VOM will be recommended.  Other tests or procedures may also be recommended, depending on the the diagnostic pass results.  A second VOM pass (therapeutic pass) will be made and changes to the reading pattern will be noted.  A third VOM pass will be made and evaluated.  Most if not all of the reads will be reduced at this point.  Anti-inflammatories and/or pain medication will be dispensed to provide pain relief for the next few days.  As with most manipulation techniques (chiropractic, acupuncture, deep massage therapy, cupping) lactic acid is released and soreness can occur as the body adjusts and heals.
A series of 3-5 adjustments is usually needed to produce a complete cure in which no reads are found and the subluxation pattern is gone.

How Quickly Will I See Results with VOM?

Many patients show an immediate response after the first treatment.  The average case will see some degree of positive response within the first week, with most cases having complete resolution of the presenting complaint within the first three adjustments.  Adjustments are generally done at weekly intervals, although some severe cases may require more frequent adjustments initially.  Cases that do not respond within 1 month may never respond.  Cases that have had paralysis, severe pain, or lack of function for long periods of time may not respond well to VOM, but one never knows.

Why the Need for Repeated Adjustments?

The body becomes adapted to the diseased subluxed state, a survival mechanism that allows a marginal level of function.  This creates a memory in the tissues surrounding the spinal cord that persists for a period of time after the subluxation is corrected.  This memory causes the subluxation to recur for a short period of time until it is eventually overcome by systematic readjustment, at which point the animal is cured.

Treatment Failures

Treatment failures fall into two categories:
1. Neurologic damage is extensive, significant, and permanent
2. VOM treatment schedule not kept (most common cause of VOM failure and easiest to prevent)

Cost of VOM

A typical VOM session costs less than $75.  Initially, a physical examination is needed for diagnosis and to determine if VOM will help the problem.

If you have any questions about our services, please contact us today at (207) 351-1530.