This vet is rubbing animals the right way

Wednesday, September 1, 2004
Dr. Kameron Worley of the Berryville Veterinary Clinic starts a chiropractic procedure on a horse, held by Beth Brady. Dr. Worley is breaking new medical ground in animal health. Photo courtesy of Berryville Veterinary Clinic

BERRYVILLE ---- Dr. Kameron K. Worley has completed a rare achievement in a groundbreaking field ---- certification as the only veterinarian in Carroll County to specialize in chiropractic medicine for animals.

Dr. Worley, who practices at Berryville Veterinary Clinic, recently completed the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) Board Examinations and is now certified in "Animal Chiropractic" by the AVCA.

She is one of only three certified veterinarians in the state to practice the new and developing specialty.

She said she loves the new specialty, and her four-legged patients love it, too.

The practice deals with the nervous system housed within the spinal column, and with keeping the nervous system healthy for the benefit of all body systems, including the musculoskeletal system.

The specialty is no easy achievement, requiring five months of study broken down into one week per month, "which can be compared to the equivalent of a master's degree as far as hours of study," Dr. Worley said.

Animal Chiropractic is a relatively new specialty, and the only professionals eligible for certification from the AVCA are licensed doctors of veterinary medicine and licensed doctors of chiropractic.

Dr. Worley graduated from Oklahoma State University in 1986 with a bachelor's degree in animal science, and received her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 1990.

She practiced in Oklahoma for two years prior to moving to Berryville to take a position with the Berryville Veterinary Clinic.

There are only two certified schools for the specialty, one in Illinois and one in Wisconsin.

"It is a fascinating field," she said. "The nicest part of it is that a lot of what we do as vets is uncomfortable for the animal, but with chiropractic we bring comfort to the animals. And after the first visit, the animals are real happy to see me coming because they know they are going to feel better after I treat them."

The treatments are basically the same for animals as they are for people, she said, noting that chiropractic is a drug-free approach to pet and farm stock health care.

Horses, she said, are particularly in need of, and fond of, the treatment the doctor provides.

"They're just like us humans ---- but they suffer every-day wear and tear, especially roping horses. That's a rough sport for a horse, and working on horses is my favorite call, though some people wonder how a person my size can adjust their vertebrae. Actually, a horse's vertebrae is like a long lever and it's not as difficult to help an animal the size of a horse as you might think," Dr. Worley said.

She said it is a relatively new field, and there's still a lot of research going on, but she can adapt the chiropractic skills to any animal. She has several dogs among her patients ---- one with a spinal disc and paralysis problem, who comes all the way from Bull Shoals for treatment.

Animal chiropractic involves adjustment of subluxations of the spinal column, extremity joints and skull bone junctions called cranial sutures.

A vertebral subluxation is a spinal misalignment or joint dysfunction that results in neurological or biomechanical dysfunction.

Dr. Worley's practice involves management advice as to what is needed to insure proper response to chiropractic care, including rehabilitation and therapeutic care.

She begins with a case history consisting of information from the owner, prior veterinary radiographs or lab analysis, and information about previous diagnoses and therapies.

Dr. Worley analyzes the animals movements. such as a horses' gait, and she performs hands-on diagnosis of the animal, just as a chiropractor would.

She treats animals for neck, back, leg and tail pain; muscle spasms and nerve problems; disc and joint problems that cause limping or other symptoms; injuries from slips and falls and accidents; jaw problems and sports injuries; bowel, bladder and internal medicine disorders; and maintenance of joint and spinal health.

Dr. Worley said she is most pleased with the results of a visit to a four-legged patient, because it almost always brings some relief to the animal, without use of drugs.

"They like to see me coming the second time, that's for sure," she said.

She told a recent gathering of the Rotary Club that there's one working dog who won't let her do anything on the farm until she gives him a little chiropractic attention first.

"It is a fascinating new field, but it requires proper training. There are lay people in Carroll County who are doing this with no formal training, and not only is it very dangerous, it is against the law. Animal owners need to be aware of that," the doctor said.

For more information, contact the Berryville Veterinary Clinic at (870) 423-6178.

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