It’s a science and an art 🤍
Dr. Kendle Dykstra offers mobile animal chiropractic services in the Niagara region
It’s a science and an art 🤍
Love my job ❤️ even when I’m a resting post for some heavy heads 😅
🐾As a frenchie pawrent and an animal chiropractor, I am very aware of the high prevalence of neck and back pain in this breed, and the high risk of IVDD
This is because French bulldogs have a high prevalence of spinal abnormalities- often presenting as abnormal shapes to the bones of their spine. Add in their stubborn streak, silly antics and lack of self preservation - this is not a good combination for their spine!
Aside from sourcing your dog from a reputable breeder, swipe through for some things that you can do to minimize the risk of neck/back pain/IVDD issues.
I did a fun thing with a wonderful friend and colleague of mine Starline Equine Bodywork! Check out her new podcast episode to hear more 🙂
𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐌𝐎𝐍 𝐂𝐀𝐔𝐒𝐄𝐒 𝐎𝐅 𝐌𝐔𝐒𝐂𝐋𝐄 𝐀𝐓𝐑𝐎𝐏𝐇𝐘 𝐈𝐍 𝐇𝐎𝐑𝐒𝐄𝐒
by Kevin Haussler, DVM, DC, PhD
𝐏𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐭: 𝐒𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐭 𝟒 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞®
𝑶𝒖𝒓 𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒔𝒕 𝒃𝒍𝒐𝒈 𝒕𝒐𝒑𝒊𝒄 𝒊𝒔 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒄𝒍𝒆 𝒂𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒚 𝒊𝒏 𝒉𝒐𝒓𝒔𝒆𝒔. 𝑻𝒉𝒊𝒔 3-𝒑𝒂𝒓𝒕 𝒑𝒐𝒔𝒕 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒄𝒖𝒔𝒔𝒆𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒄𝒂𝒖𝒔𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒎𝒖𝒔𝒄𝒍𝒆 𝒂𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒚, 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒂𝒕𝒓𝒐𝒑𝒉𝒚 𝒊𝒔 𝒅𝒊𝒂𝒈𝒏𝒐𝒔𝒆𝒅 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒉𝒐𝒘 𝒊𝒕 𝒄𝒂𝒏 𝒃𝒆 𝒕𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒅. 𝑾𝒆 𝒍𝒐𝒐𝒌 𝒇𝒐𝒓𝒘𝒂𝒓𝒅 𝒕𝒐 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒓 𝒒𝒖𝒆𝒔𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒄𝒐𝒎𝒎𝒆𝒏𝒕𝒔.
Muscle atrophy is defined as a reduced size or shape of skeletal muscles. Reduced muscle mass can affect the horse’s overall health and performance. While muscle atrophy can occur in various muscle groups, the most affected areas include the cervical, thoracolumbar, and pelvic regions. The causes of muscle atrophy in horses may be related to trauma, poor nutrition, a general lack of exercise, or an underlying systemic disease.
1. 𝐈𝐧𝐚𝐝𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐭𝐞 𝐞𝐱𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐢𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐫 𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐭
One of the primary causes of muscle atrophy in horses is a lack of exercise. Regular and appropriate exercise is vital for maintaining muscle strength and mass. Limited turnout or stall confinement can result in reduced movement and physical activity, leading to muscle atrophy. Reduced muscle activation can lead to muscle wasting and weakness.
2. 𝐏𝐨𝐨𝐫 𝐧𝐮𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧
Adequate nutrition and a well-balanced diet play a significant role in muscle development and maintenance. Horses that do not receive appropriate levels of protein, carbohydrates, fat, or essential vitamins and minerals are prone to muscle atrophy. Poor nutrition can be due to a lack of access to food (e.g., starvation), low-quality foodstuffs, inability to properly chew (e.g., dental pain), or abnormal digestion (e.g., chronic diarrhea). Once the underlying nutritional deficiency is corrected, affected horses can regain their normal muscle mass quite rapidly.
3. 𝐓𝐫𝐚𝐮𝐦𝐚 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧𝐣𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬
Pain is a common cause of muscle atrophy. Acute pain induces a reflex inhibition of muscles, which serves as a protective mechanism to help guard and reduce movement of the injured area. Chronic joint or muscle pain will cause persistent changes in muscle function where some muscles have less activity (i.e., inhibited) and other muscles are required to work harder to compensate for those muscles that are not working properly. Improper saddle fit and incorrect riding techniques can also contribute to muscle atrophy.
4. 𝐃𝐞𝐠𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐧𝐟𝐞𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬
Certain disease processes affect the nerves that innervate muscles or the muscle itself. Equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (PSSM) can directly affect muscle development due to abnormal carbohydrate metabolism. Equine motor neuron disease (EMND) is caused by a vitamin E deficiency, which leads to the degeneration of motor neurons and subsequent muscle atrophy. Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a neurologic disease caused by a parasite that infects the brain and spinal cord in horses, causing localized muscle atrophy.
5. 𝐀𝐠𝐞-𝐫𝐞𝐥𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐬
As horses age, they naturally experience some degree of muscle loss, known as sarcopenia. Older horses may also have diminished mobility and exercise capacity, which further exacerbates muscle atrophy. Regular exercise and proper nutrition become even more crucial for maintaining muscle strength and countering the effects of aging.
Muscle atrophy in horses can have various underlying causes, each of which requires careful consideration and attention. A lack of exercise, poor nutrition, age-related factors, injuries or lameness, and ill-fitting saddles or tack can all contribute to the development of muscle atrophy. By understanding these causes, horse owners, trainers and caregivers can take proactive measures to prevent muscle atrophy and promote the overall health and well-being of horses.
𝐏𝐡𝐨𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝𝐢𝐭: 𝐒𝐚𝐝𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐟𝐢𝐭 𝟒 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞®
𝑀𝑢𝑠𝑐𝑙𝑒 𝑎𝑡𝑟𝑜𝑝ℎ𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑑𝑎𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑎𝑐𝑖𝑐 𝑟𝑒𝑔𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑝𝑜𝑜𝑟 𝑠𝑎𝑑𝑑𝑙𝑒 𝑓𝑖𝑡
𝐒𝐜𝐫𝐨𝐥𝐥 𝐮𝐩 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐏𝐚𝐫𝐭 𝟐: 𝐃𝐢𝐚𝐠𝐧𝐨𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐌𝐮𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐞 𝐀𝐭𝐫𝐨𝐩𝐡𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐇𝐨𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐬
This handsome boy was all smiles after his treatment 🥰🐾
Did you know that you can add your dog onto the schedule during your horse’s farm appointment? If that doesn’t work for you, then home visits are an option as well! Reduced rates are offered for dogs when included in farm visits.
Click the link in my bio to inquire/book!
Chiropractors use a High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) thrust into a joint to stimulate joint gapping. This means the thrust is fast, but not forceful. This results in increased mobility into the joint of interest, as well as a significant neurological stimulation.
This neurologic stimulation results in:
⚡️improved proprioceptive input
⚡️improved neurological output to musculature
⚡️relaxation of antagonistic musculature
One of the hardest parts of this job, is receiving the news that a patient has crossed the rainbow bridge 🌈
I have been receiving this news more frequently as of late, and it is just as heartbreaking every time.
For anyone going through this I want you to know:
- I see you and the wonderful bond that you had with your animal
- You provided a wonderful life for your companion. Thank you for letting me be part of it
- I wish you peace as you reminisce on your collection of wonderful memories together
- It is both a blessing and a curse to love an animal so much. Your feelings are valid. Your grieving process is yours and yours only. Take the time that you need
Sending you all my love ❤️
So many great prizes have been pulled together for the Dressage Niagara shows! Will you be showing with them this weekend?
Happy Tongue-Out Tuesday 😝
I had the honour of treating this little cutie 🐾 recently!
His mom, .chiro, and dad are both chiropractors themselves, and they knew that he would benefit from having chiropractic care in his life. They drove to Niagara from NY 🇺🇸 to get him treated!
They had noticed postural changes and mobility issues since dealing with IVDD in the past. In NY animal chiropractic care can only be offered by vets who have done the appropriate post grad training to do so. Because of this, it is not nearly as accessible to pet owners in NY as it is in Ontario.
There is potential for access to animal chiropractic care to change in Ontario. If you would like more information on how to speak up against this, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. In the mean time, don’t hesitate to book your animals appointments!
All of that aside, I am beyond grateful that these wonderful colleagues of mine made the drive and allowed me to work on their precious little boy! 🐾 🥰
This mares love of her chiro treatments is my favourite ❤️
When people think of chiropractic treatments, they often associate them with cracking and popping noises with each adjustment. These noises occur when there is a change in pressure within the joint, causing a release of gas from the fluids within (think of opening up a jar or can).
Although in people this is quite common, cavitations occur much less frequently when adjusting animals. Popping and cracking noises do not indicate a successful adjustment.
You may also hear these noises when your horse turns their head to scratch their side or swat a fly. This does not indicate that they have adjusted themselves, and that they don’t need to be assessed by a chiropractor.
Any joint can make this noise given the right circumstances. When performed in conjunction with global movement such as turning the head, these releases often occur at joints that are already moving appropriately, and therefore have more range of motion to change the pressure within the joint that much easier.
Health and well-being are the ultimate form of wealth. This applies to both humans and animals.
Without health, not only are there expenses associated with addressing any given ailment, but also lost time, missed opportunities and psychological effects as well.
Health is not just the absence of disease. Health encompasses both mental, physical and social well being.
When financial pressures present, various forms of health care are often the first “expense” to be cut. It is no secret that there are serious financial strains in all aspects of life for many of us right now. Many of us have had to make changes in order to adapt to these changes in financial pressures, but I encourage you to maintain health care practices for you and your animals.
When we are healthy and feeling good, we don’t always see how these health related activities allow us to continue to work and participate in meaningful activities. These activities often positively influence our mental health as well.
Preserving health and well-being is an investment in the future.
I had an extra cute helper today 💕 Love my job!
Proprioception is awareness of the body in space (knowing where your body parts are and what they are doing without seeing them). This information is sent to the central nervous system via mechanoreceptors, which are found in joint capsules, muscle spindles (in the belly of the muscle) and tendons (Golgi tendon organs). Maintenance of appropriate joint mobility is essential for optimal brain-body communication.
I am honoured to work on your performance horses in and out of competition season!
The Temporomandibular Joint
Also known as the TMJ - this joint is involved in chewing, and any activities involving movement of the mandible relative to the skull. There are several nerves that pass through this area that can be affected by abnormalities (inflammation, infection, dysfunction, etc)
The TMJ is also an important component of the stomatognathic system which is involved in balance and equilibrium.
Common causes of imbalance to this system is malocclusion of the teeth, which then results in compensatory changes in associated muscles, joints and other associated structures.
Why is this all important? Because we need to always look at the body as a whole, and collaborate amongst providers. Dental work and bodywork can positively impact each other. Don’t forget about other important maintenance care as well such as staying on top of a schedule with your farrier, saddle fitter, and vet.
Don’t miss out on this free event!!!!
Tonight we welcome Dr. Kendle Dykstra of Unity Chiropractic for an evening of Equine Chiropractic care!
May 2nd 2023
Join us in our clearance loft with a chair and friend!
Refreshments will be provided!
Join me next week at to learn more about equine chiropractic 👐
Kinesiology Tape and Injuries
When there has been a laceration or trauma to our horses, our main concern is always what structures are involved, and the fear of infection. Although these are very important concerns in the acute phase of injury, we also have to consider the residual impact once an injury has healed.
When scar tissue develops we can be left with altered tissue glide and mobility. Injuries can also affect the proprioception (body awareness) in the tissues involved, which can ultimately result in improper utilization of the affected area post injury.
Kinesiology tape can be used to improve aid tissue glide AND body awareness post injury.
Featured here is my favourite
Another great episode from Starline Equine Bodywork
Mark your calendars! Can’t wait to see you there!
Three weeks today!
Tuesday May 2nd we welcome Dr. Kendle Dykstra of Unity Chiropractic for an evening of Equine Chiropractic care!
Mark your calendars, bring a friend, and bring a chair, can’t wait to see you there!
Timing Between Different Types of Bodywork 🗓
Every practitioner will have a different opinion on this topic - each with their own reasoning for their beliefs.
My recommendations vary between patients, as each individual’s unique needs, history and the associated goals vary as well. I recommend reaching out to the bodyworkers that you work with to make the most appropriate and cohesive plan possible for your animal.
That being said, I never recommend multiple forms of bodywork in the same day! Although this is a common occurrence in human practice, that does not mean that it crosses over the same in animals. As humans we are able to verbalize when we feel we can handle more work and when we can’t, and we are able to rationalize the consequences (good or bad) of our decisions. We can actively support our bodies and what they need according to the work that has been done (rest, movement, hydration, etc). This is not the same for our animals.
Please make an effort to plan what is best for your animal, and schedule them accordingly.
🐾This one goes out to one of my own! Miss Lizzy was adopted from the SPCA in December, and we were told that it was a hoarding type situation that she was taken from. We were told she was 6-8 months old at that time.
🐾She has always had springy and lofty movement, but as you can see in the second photo, she demonstrated a dramatic roached posture in her back.
🐾With chiropractic care, and a massage from , her posture has now significantly improved (third photo).
🐾Disregard her terrible stance and the unimpressed look on her face for the photos- being asked to stand still for the camera is quite torturous as far as she is concerned 🙄
Come check out these equine wellness talks Greenhawk Beamsville this spring! You’ll find yours truly there on May 2nd :)
3 years done, onto the 4th!
I’m a little on this post, but it was the beginning of March 2020 when Unity Chiropractic first started offering animal chiropractic appointments in the Niagara region. Of course that was followed by a brief pause thanks to a worldwide pandemic; however since then we have been going steady!
Thank you to all the animal owners who have trusted me with your animals care, and everyone who has supported me and my business in any way! I truly feel honoured to love what I do, and that is thanks to you and your support ❤️
Very important message from an incredible colleague ❤️ Please take the qualifications of your animals practitioners seriously!
🗓 Here is a little insight to how my booking works
If you want an appointment, you need to reach out to book AND confirm from the options offered to you.
I do my best to book those at one barn together, but I cannot hold hypothetical spots open until the last minute. If someone else reaches out to me before you, I will book that person at a different barn instead of leaving open spaces “just in case” some else at a location I’m already booked at reaches out to me. This allows me to keep more appointment options open moving forward, which generally means less wait time for you.
Also, performance animals are not prioritized over pleasure/companion animals. All of your animals and their needs are important to me. So again, if you want an appointment (and especially if you have a show schedule to work around) then you need to give advanced notice that you want to book in, and inform me of these important dates to work around.
Lastly, evening appointments are highly sought after and fill quickly. If you need an evening appointment, you need to plan ahead, or be willing to have a delay in getting your appointment.
I want to help you all, but can’t if minimal notice is given for booking.
Out of the Office 🗓
Friendly reminder that I will be out of the office to be home with this girl and her pups for a couple weeks once they arrive 🐶 her anticipated due date is April 6, which is sneaking up very fast!
Do you want to be spammed with puppy content when they arrive?
Take your family to work day 🙃
Today I had the honour of having some family members join me while I treated some horses! I have a cousin visiting from the Netherlands, and an aunt from Alberta ✈️ A couple of my aunts and uncle local to the Niagara region joined in on the fun as well 🐴
We sadly lost a loved aunt/sister/sister in law recently, but I am grateful that we have all been able to come together and make some wonderful memories that I will cherish forever 🥰
For those of you who don’t know, I come from a VERY large Dutch family, so this is a very small sample of the Dykstra crew 😅
**THURSDAY RESEARCH MEME**
Todays research meme relates to the use of bonnets, also known as fly veils or hoods. Important to consider the fit of the bonnets to ensure they are not too small and compressing/restricting the ears. Ensure that there is no braiding or thick edges running beneath the headpiece as this will cause localised pressures. Materials used are an important consideration, along with checking that the additional layer beneath the headpiece has not altered bridle fit. Like with everything, check that the bonnet is correctly fitted 🤓
For more information www.centaurbiomechanics.co.uk/blog/
The Role of The Handler During An Appointment
Many people think that as long as a horse is brought out for their appointment that is all that is needed, but that is not the case!
Responsibilities as a handler include:
🔅Relaying relevant information regarding the current performance and health status of the horse/concerns wanting addressed
🔅Keeping the horse still and quiet for the practitioner
🔅Keeping the practitioner safe!! This includes redirecting any negative reactions away from the practitioner, and informing the practitioner if subtle concerns start to arise
🔅Helping to manage the surroundings, whether it be nosy neighbours getting too close, or busy human traffic passing by
🔅Making sure the horse is clean and dry before the start of the appointment
Although many horses relax and enjoy their treatments, they are creatures of flight and things can change suddenly. It is the responsibility of everyone involved to be mindful and cognizant during appointments!
I am so lucky to have the best clients and patients 🥰
Two of my favourite views 💕
I got mail! 💌 and very special mail at that 😍
One of my amazing clients, was the featured musher for the 38th anniversary of the Seguin Sled Dog Mail Run! Lori and her sled dog team travelled 17 km of trails between villages in the township of Seguin to get this mail where it needed to go. She has contributed so much to the canine community, and helped so many pet parents at her store, and she is truly deserving of this recognition. I am honoured to know this amazing woman and to receive this special “sledvelope”! Seeing her and her pack doing what they love is such an incredible sight ❤️
I’ve been quieter than normal on social media lately. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes between trying to replace my truck after the accident, and preparing for some exciting changes to come to the business in the near future.
I can’t wait to let the cat out of the bag!
Here’s your chance to learn a great taping technique to help with back pain for FREE!
This week’s episode of the podcast is all about back pain in horses. It’s very common. And it’s important to work with your vet to help your horse.
If you can rule out discomfort due to pathology, a great solution for low back pain in horses is kinesiology taping!
Grab your FREE INSTRUCTIONAL GUIDE on how to do this from the link in the show notes from episode 8 of the podcast!
“We’ve Got Your Back: The Kinesiology Taping Challenge”
And in my experience, long term positive outcomes are possible.
Happy taping! Please tag us! I can’t wait to see your results 🎉
Listen here and grab your instructions:
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Dr. Kendle Dykstra grew up in the Niagara region, where she spent much of her time involved in the equestrian community. She discovered the benefits of chiropractic care, for both herself and her horses, while dealing with ailments obtained through the equestrian sport. These experiences inspired her to pursue a career in Chiropractic.
Dr. Dykstra attended New York Chiropractic College, graduating with honours in 2019. She is excited to return to the Niagara region, and help her community through chiropractic adjustments. You can find her at Touch of Health Chiropractic and Wellness in Fonthill Ontario.
Her passion for animals has motivated Dr. Dykstra to pursue further certification, and attend the Veterinary Chiropractic Learning Centre to become an Animal Chiropractor. Keep an eye out for these services to become available!