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Bridging the Gap: Large animal chiropractic care will assist food animal rural veterinarians in managing their workloads.

Updated: Apr 9

In 2023 several veterinary magazines and journals including the AVMA brought attention to the loss of large animal veterinarians.

State legislatures across the country are looking for ways to support their agricultural base as the number of veterinary clinics in rural America dwindles.

Many large animal clinics no longer offer emergency services to their clients, as the number of available veterinary associates has shrunk.

In states across the nation, Agricultural Departments are working to find incentives to attract more large animal veterinarians. These incentives will cost the state's Ag departments hundreds of thousands of dollars to absorb the student loans held by these doctors.

Lancaster, PA - Lancaster News reported in October 2023

Dr. Erin Luley, executive director of Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health and Diagnostic Services, and Dr. David Wolfgang, former state veterinarian, said burnout is a problem in the profession largely due to a lack of available support staff. Dr. James Holt, a Penn Vet trustee and chairman of the Pennsylvania One Health Task Force, said he had to stop offering 24-hour care at his equine and bovine practice because he couldn’t find associates to help.

Better utilization of existing vet technician positions could help, but Pennsylvania’s Practice Act limits what a vet tech can do. When Holt turned to the act for help to increase vet tech responsibilities as a way to fill the associate roles, he said he wasn’t given clear answers as to what these individuals could and could not do.

The use of veterinary technicians by large animal vets is lagging because the Practice Act requires technicians to be under the direction of a vet, meaning within the same building. This doesn’t work in the field service model of large animal veterinarians, Luley said.

Holt suggests a change of language in the act, not major revisions, which could open the door for non-vets to practice animal medicine. However, changing definitions could help allow large animal vet techs to handle more tasks comparable to their companion animal counterparts.

Increasing the responsibilities of vet techs would need to come with higher pay and employee satisfaction considerations. Vet techs are leaving the field just like veterinarians, said Dr. Andrew Hoffman, dean of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, Doctors of Chiropractic who are additionally trained in Animal Chiropractic and specifically Food Animal Adjusting, are required to have direct veterinary supervision to treat patients with a modality the veterinarian knows nothing about. This rule is faulty in two ways.

  1. It requires the animal owner to pay 2 doctors for one treatment plan.

  2. It puts a greater burden on an already burned-out large animal doctor who has neither the time nor the training to adequately oversee another trained professional.

Animal Chiropractors carry liability coverage. Unlike a veterinary technician, Animal Chiropractors are doctors who completed a rigorous animal chiropractic program, have licensing and professional insurance. While veterinary technicians may be licensed, they don't own clinics and do not create doctor-client-patient relationships like veterinarians or chiropractors.

Doctors of Chiropractic go through training similar to MDs and Veterinarians, taking classes in anatomy, neurology, physiology, biochemistry, and even pharmaceuticals. The level of responsibility of being a doctor is different than that of being a technician.

When state legislations overlook this valuable resource, they are burdening their constituents with unnecessary financial responsibility. The cost of training a Chiropractor is to become an Animal Chiropractor is far less than that of taking on the loan debt of veterinarians.

Animal Chiropractors are trained a minimum of 210 hours over and above their chiropractic training. They have been tested to understand the requirements of animal chiropractic and to understand when and how to refer a patient to a veterinarian for further care.

Animal Chiropractors Certified in Food Animal Adjusting have an additional 20 hours of training in managing production animal health using chiropractic.

Farmers have been able to save thousands of dollars in production costs when using animal chiropractors routinely in their herds and flocks.

Merino Wool Producers have had wool testing scores have increased, lambing more successfully, and general health of their sheep improve with chiropractic. (Personal communication wool growers of Meridian, Texas)

Multiple chicken studies have shown that chiropractically adjusted chickens reach butcher weight 2 weeks sooner than non-adjusted chickens, produce a better carcass ratio and taste better based on consumer test tastes.

Large animal veterinarians are also turning to animal chiropractic to be able to continue in their service role to their clients while reducing their time and commitment load.

The crisis of large animal veterinarians could be reduced, allowing veterinarians more quality of life to continue in their zone of genius, when animal chiropractors are added to their team. As a win-win, this would also benefit farmers and ranchers as they develop more efficient methods of producing better quality products, at a savings.

The implementation of certified animal chiropractic into large animal practices reduces the drug residues in human foods, removes the economic burden of withdrawal drug times from producers, and allows veterinarians to have better practice environments where they are able to attract more associates to share their client load.

For further information on animal chiropractic certification to your large animal rural practice, find us today at


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