In Alberta, no one may use the title ‘Chiropractor’ unless they are registered with the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors. This guarantees to the public that they are fully educated, having graduated at an accredited chiropractic college and passed national board exams from the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB). To maintain registration as a chiropractor, ‘continuing education’ requirements must be met each year to maintain the highest standards of patient care. Due to the exacting standards set by ACAC, you can be confident that registered chiropractors are competent and safe.
The International Veterinary Chiropractic Association (IVCA), and the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association govern the animal veterinary chiropractic profession, and also exacts similar ‘continuing education’ standards that must be completed in order to maintain your certification with the association. This maintains only the highest standard of care for your animals. In order to become certified with one of these associations you must have graduated from an accredited Animal Chiropractic Course after completing a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC), or a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM).
Despite proper education and qualifications, everyone must practice in accordance with the law. Due to unfortunate instances with unlicensed/improperly trained practitioners working on animals, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association (ABVMA)has modified their practice laws to protect the welfare of animals.
The law now states that anyone who is “diagnosing, prescribing, treating, manipulating and operating for the prevention, alleviation or correction of a disease, injury, pain, deficiency, deformity, defect, lesion, disorder or physical condition of or in any animal, with or without the use of any instrument, appliance, medicine, drug, anesthetic or antibiotic or biologic preparation, and the giving of advice in respect of anything mentioned in this definition with or without a view to obtaining a fee or other reward” is practicing veterinarian medicine without a license.
Therefore, anyone, other than the owner, who administers therapy of any kind to your animal is ‘practicing veterinary medicine without a license’. For this reason, any complimentary therapy (chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, homeopathy, reiki) provided to your animal must be under the knowledge and agreement of your own vet. In many cases your vet will need/want to examine your horse and make a diagnosis before chiropractic treatment can begin.
If your animal is lame, ill, or has suffered any trauma you MUST see your vet first before seeking complimentary therapies, and receive their permission before seeking complimentary care. If you simply want a check-up and preventative treatment for a generally healthy animal, the vet may provide consent without an examination being necessary. In such cases, a veterinarian referral is still required for legal reasons.
If these steps are not followed, any insurance will be void and you will have no legal comeback should anything go wrong.