The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports Columns

December 1, 2012

Cross column: St. Peter chiropractor goes to the dogs



Not surprisingly, at this time of the year, hunting dogs are frequent visitors to his clinic on the south end of St. Peter.

“Hunting dogs are like athletes,” he said. “But when they lay around the house all summer and then you say, ‘we’re going to South Dakota pheasant hunting where you’re going to have to run all day‚’ it takes its toll.”

Nelson said that unless there’s a major injury like a blown ACL or a herniated disc, the signs of discomfort in a dog frequently are subtle. “They might not be able to lift their head or eat out of a bowl, can’t lift a leg.”

During a typical visit, Nelson first does a complete physical assessment of his canine patient, searching for tenderness and mobility issues before performing any adjustments.

“Dogs usually are like Jell-O during treatment — they let me do what I need to do,” he said.

“They’ll let me know if I’m doing something that makes them uncomfortable. I’ve never been bitten by a dog and been kicked only once by a horse. And once was enough.”

While treatment consists of adjustments similar to those performed on his human patients, Nelson said the physique of a canine is far different.

“Without the right neurological training, you can do real damage if you do the wrong thing,” he said.

“Response to the treatment sometimes is a dramatic improvement, but sometimes, just like in humans, you can’t expect to walk out just like a brand new person,” Nelson said.

After a treatment session, the a dog typically will be tired and thirsty.

In the case of Ostoff’s dog, three visits to Nelson put it back in the pink.

“After the first visit, at least she wasn’t any worse,” he said.

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