Animals respond favorably to treatment by longtime chiropractor

| Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, 8:31 p.m.

A typical patient of Dr. Dave Smolensky needs a spinal adjustment. Then again, this doctor has no typical patient.

“If a bone is pinching a nerve, it will cause problems,” Smolensky says. “As a chiropractor, the objective is singular: Get the bone off the nerve.”

For 27 years, Smolensky has practiced chiropractic and, a decade ago, he began adjusting animals as well.

It doesn't matter if a bone belongs to a pigeon, hawk, owl, dog or horse — he can adjust any.

“Animals are instinctive. They know when you are trying to help,” he says.

Animals respond more quickly to the treatments than humans, Smolensky says, healing from an injury in weeks rather than months.

“Sometimes animals have to heal faster in the wild, or they become food. They heal very rapidly due to survival instincts.”

On a recent visit to a barn, his hands worked on a Canada goose presumably kicked by a horse, an Eastern screech owl struck by a vehicle, an aging horse, a dog with Lyme disease and a great-horned owl brought in after colliding with a vehicle the night before.

“It's the coolest thing in the world, working with wild animals,” he says. “They love it.”

Phil Pavely is a Trib Total Media photographer. Reach him at

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