CARLSBAD — Dr. John Harrison has been treating the aches and pains of North County residents for more than 25 years through his chiropractic practice, Pacific Healing Arts in San Marcos.
Now he is improving the quality of life for their pets as well.
Harrison is certified in veterinary orthopedic manipulation, or VOM, a noninvasive treatment to correct spinal muscle-skeletal conditions known as subluxations in animals. Symptoms include pain, inflammation, sprains, strains, muscle spasms, hip dysplasia, mobility problems and neurologic defects.
The technique was developed by Dr. William Inman, a veterinary surgeon in Washington state.
Harrison practices on cats, dogs and rabbits.
Handheld instruments are used to gently apply an impulse to a joint complex that, in turn, restores fluidity or movement to the particular area of involvement.
The cost of each treatment is $50. Harrison says it takes three to five treatments before the animal will show results. Afterward the pet usually returns for a follow up maintenance once a month.
Among his satisfied clients are Pedro, an older black Lab and Aussie-shepherd mix.
“Three years ago I couldn’t take him on a walk anymore because he was completely locked up in the hind,” Trish Padfield said. “Today his mobility has been restored. It’s amazing the difference.”
Cecilia, an 11-year-old standard poodle, began showing signs of lameness in June. Her vet put her on muscle relaxants.
“Once we were able to mobilize the joint, it took pressure off her spinal cord and nerve root,” Harrison said. “Her function has returned and she is able to resume her doggie activities.”
Cecilia now walks three miles a day.
“And she no longer uses muscle relaxants,” owner Ann Smith said.
Harrison also does a lot of work through the San Diego House Rabbit Society treating common conditions such as spondylosis, head tilt and gastrointestinal issues.
One of his patients is Winter, a large, 8-year-old rabbit owned by president Judith Pierce who is getting relief for arthritis with VOM.
“Big rabbits are similar to big dogs who have hip and spine issues,” she said. “Winter’s been exhibiting some problems of a rabbit that is getting stiff and sore and not being able to jump into the litter box.”
Harrison tends to human patients through his chiropractic practice during the week.
Saturdays he provides VOM treatments to his four-legged patients at the Acacia Animal Health Center in Escondido. He works in conjunction with Dr. Carmine Bausone, director of integrative medicine who is also certified in VOM.
“VOM is an adjunct therapy for conditions being treated by a veterinarian,” Harrison said.
Each pet expresses relief differently. Dogs will shake and relax after treatment. Cats push into the Vibracussor instrument because the vibration reminds them of purring. Rabbits start grooming themselves.
Harrison says his VOM practice complements a lifelong love of animals.
“There was never a time when I didn’t have a dog or cat,” he said. “They are living creatures who decide to be associated with humans. Words can’t describe.”
For more information about VOM treatment, call Dr. Harrison at (760) 510-8345.
To view videos of Dr. Harrison practicing VOM, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OelXPg4DcJg.
To schedule a VOM appointment, contact the Acacia Animal Health Center at (760) 745-8115.