Animal chiropractic is a modality based on the biomechanics of the spine and nervous system, which is used to relieve chiropractic subluxations. The characteristics of a chiropractic subluxation include loss of motion in the joints between the vertebrae, pain on pressure of the vertebrae, increased or decreased tone of the muscles surrounding the vertebrae, may include changes in temperature, swelling or scar tissue. The goal of animal chiropractic is to restore normal joint motion with an "adjustment", and to aide in neurologic reprogramming. Neurologic reprogramming can be thought of as an improvement of the message that one nerve sends to another.
A chiropractic adjustment involves a controlled, high velocity thrust over a specific joint, most commonly involving the joints between the vertebrae (backbones). Depending upon the duration and severity of the subluxation pattern, a series of adjustments allows gradual restoration of the biomechanic and neurologic function. Animal chiropractic is commonly thought of for back and neck pain, but is often quite useful for animals with an abnormal gait, which can be caused by a limb injury or pain (i.e. arthritis).