Dr. Narda,

I just read an article in an integrative medicine journal that promoted cat chiropractic.  My own cat has been slowing down — less willing to jump, grouchy when I pet her back, sometimes peeing outside the litter box — and I wonder if this could indicate a need for chiropractic.  What do you think? Signed, Should I Get My Cat’s Back Chiropracted?

Scared Cat Hiding

Dear Should I Get My Cat’s Back Chiropracted?

Firstly, from a strictly evidence-based perspective, there is no research support indicating that chiropractic treatment would be safe or effective for your cat.  In fact, there is scarce evidence of any kind that chiropractic treatment is indicated or safe for any non-human.  If your cat is having mobility, pain, or litter-box issues, my recommendation would be to take him or her to a veterinarian versed in scientific integrative medicine and one that performs myofascial palpatory evaluation.  This could reveal much about the location and nature of the problem(s), and then help determine the appropriate treatment(s).    If there is a musculoskeletal or neurologic issue, the safety of massage and acupuncture has been much better established, and the evidence is robust and growing for each of these modalities in humans (learn about our veterinary medical massage courses here).  Neither of these approaches is as risky as high-velocity chiropractic thrusting.  Why take the risk when we don’t know what the benefits and risks actually are?  To read more on this topic, see this blog posting from Skeptvet.