Spinal Cat

The November 11, 2003 edition of the Indianapolis Star reported an interesting story about a chiropractor, Dr. Lincoln Kamell who not only cares for his patients spines, but once his Eastlake, Wash., office has cleared out, he extends his practice, to care for his patients' furry companions. Dr. Kamell has been a chiropractor since 1990, but also holds a veterinary chiropractic certificate from the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, based in Bluejacket, Okla. He treats pets for free, as the state requires that only licensed veterinarians receive payment for treating animals. When asked why he cares for animals Dr Kamell responded, "It's incredibly helpful," he said. "Animals have spines, too."

Chiropractic care and other non-traditional forms of veterinary care are growing in popularity. Presently, at least 2 percent of dog owners had given their dogs homeopathic remedies, according to last year's National Pet Owners Survey, presented by the Greenwich, Conn.-based American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. About 64 million U.S. households own pets, according to Bob Vetere, managing director of the APPMA. These owners are expected to spend an astounding $31 billion on pet-related goods and services this year, an 8 percent increase over 2002, including $6.7 billion on veterinary care and another $7.6 billion on over-the-counter pet-care supplies.

So what do they think about chiropractic? "I think they're more curious than scared," said Dr. Kamell, who said it's difficult sometimes to get a dog to settle down. "They're more excited than anything else. Sometimes dogs will turn their heads for a moment and see what I'm doing." Sure, he's treated some that were uncooperative or skittish, but Dr. Kamell said animals aren't any harder to treat than humans. "Generally they have a sense that you're trying to help them."