Johnson expanding chiropractic skill to animals

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Doctor plans to see animal patients two days per week

For five years, Chad Johnson has offered relief to patients as the owner of Johnson Chiropractic Sports and Wellness Clinic, but soon, he will also be helping patients with paws.

Johnson said he is going back to school in Wellsville, Kan., at Options for Animals, College on Animal Chiropractic.

“I have had patients ask about horses and pets,” he said. “With the type of usage of horses around here, a lot of horses are really athletes.”

Johnson said that aside from the cognitive abilities, a household pet’s nervous system is just the same as a human’s.

“You can adjust anything with a spine and nervous system,” he said. “There are laws in Missouri that state that an animal chiropractor does have to work along side a veterinarian.”

For smaller animals, a solution to that would be to rent a room in a veterinarian office to see animal patients, but for larger animals, a vet would have to accompany Johnson to the property.

“My plan is to see animals two days a week,” he said. “But, I have talked to others who split the time with human and animal patients 50-50.”

According to Johnson, he looked at the American Veterinarian Chiropractic Association website, and there were chiropractors that saw animals in Springfield and in Bella Vista, Ark.

“I don’t know however if they are still in practice,” he said. “Only about 5,000 people in the world practice the profession, and it has only been around for 33 years.”

Dr. Sharon Willoughby was the first veterinarian to go back to school for animal chiropractic.

“It is nice because she has the medical knowledge of animals to prove how it works,” Johnson said. “Less than 10 people have both a veterinarian doctorate and a chiropractic license.”

Johnson started school in February, and after five months, he will sit for his international license on June 14.

“It has been fun,” he said. “I am just practicing right now, but the plan is to find a local veterinarian to team up with who is on board with this alternate method of care.”

Johnson said the biggest difference in treating animals is the altitude sickness.

“To treat larger animals, you have to stand two to three feet up, so that is different,” he said. “For dogs’ stabilization, I have to lay on the patient and that can be intimidating to them.”

Teaming up with the Haven of the Ozarks, Johnson has been practicing his setups and palpation.

“This is an alternate method of care, just like human chiropractic,” he said. “But, this is also a proactive healthcare option.”

The original school Johnson is attending started in Illinois, then a retired doctor donated 10 acres of land in Kansas to build the current facility.

“At one time, there was a school in Germany,” Johnson said. “The story that got the profession started is interesting. There was a cow that had been down for seven weeks, the vet and farmer tried everything to get her up, but nothing worked. A chiropractor said, if they were going to have to put her down anyway, he wanted to try to help her. Three hours after the chiropractor left, she was back up again. The founder of the profession, whom I am learning from, was the vet that couldn’t figure out how to save the cow. She was so mad that she wasn’t the one who figured it out that she went back to school.”

Johnson said there is an interest for this type of care in the area, because he has been asked about it.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: