All Posts by Dr. Megan Fowler


Urinary Incontinence in Dogs

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence occurs when a house trained dog loses control of his or her bladder. This can range in severity from the occasional, small urine leaks to inadvertent voiding of large amounts of urine. This can be a frustrating situation for dog owners, regardless of the amount or frequent of "accidents." If you believe your dog is suffering from urinary incontinence, your first step should be to consult with your veterinarian who will work to determine a cause. It is important to rule out conditions that may require medical intervention, such as: urinary tract infection, hormonal imbalance, urinary stones, prostate disorders, diabetes, or kidney disease. Excessive urination can also be a side effect or certain medications.

What causes urinary incontinence?

Other known causes of urinary incontinence include: spinal injury, disc degeneration or a protruding intervertebral disc. It is these conditions in which chiropractic care can provide relief to both the dog and frustrated dog owners. One study has documented the association between segmental dysfunction in the lumbar region (low back) and urinary problems,  either retention or incontinence, in dogs. This association suggests a possible neurological explanation for the observed urinary problems. The nerves that supply the urinary bladder and urethra originate from the lumbar and sacral sections of the spinal cord. Segmental dysfunction of the joints in this area could cause swelling, leading to pressure on the nerves originating here, causing secondary problems like urinary incontinence. In dogs, the nerves originating in the L1 to L4 spinal cord segments provide the nerve supply to the bladder, whereas the nerve supply to the urethra originates in the sacrum, or tail bone.

How can Segmental Correction help?

Structural corrective chiropractic care focuses on locating and correcting segmental dysfunction in your pets spine. Finding and correcting the underlying cause of secondary conditions, such as urinary incontinence, not only provides your pet with a better quality of life, but can also eliminate the frustration that comes with frequent "accidents" in the house. Chiropractic should be viewed as a low-cost and non-invasive treatment option involving little to not discomfort. Contraindications for animal chiropractic are few, but they include vertebral or pelvic fractures and spinal tumors. Although not a contraindication, skill and diligence must be used with animals that have disc protrusion or prolapse or that have had previous back surgery. Animal chiropractic does not replace conventional veterinary care, rather it is complementary, as it addresses the structure and biomechanics of an animal and the secondary effects this has on the body's ability to function optimally.

  1. Thude, TR. Chiropractic abnormalities of the lumbar spine significantly associated with urinary incontinence and retention in dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice. Vol 56. December 2015.
  2. Urinary Incontinence in Dogs. Retrieved on October 26, 2016.
  3. Taylor, LL and Romano, L. Veterinary chiropractic. The Canadian Veterinary Journal. Vol. 40 October 1999. 732-735.

Pregnancy & Chiropractic

Low Back Pain

Low back pain is a common complaint amongst women during pregnancy, having a great impact on their quality of life and the joy of pregnancy.​ It has been estimated that about 50% of pregnant women will suffer from low back pain at some point during their pregnancies or during the postpartum period.
As baby grows and weight is gained, the body's center of gravity is shifted forward, causing structural changes that greatly increases the stress on the low back and pelvis. Typically, a woman's body is usually able to adapt to these postural changes, however, segmental dysfunction within the spine or pelvis can cause painful secondary conditions, such as low back pain and sciatica.
As the pregnancy advances, hormonal changes prepare the pelvis for delivery by loosening the strong ligaments that control the function of these joints. The increased elasticity of these ligaments during pregnancy is necessary for the birth canal to expand as the baby passes through it. However, the increase in motion and instability can also be a source of sacroiliac pain.
Segmental dysfunction is the most common cause of back pain in pregnancy. While it can be quite painful, this condition is treatable and tends to get better after delivery of the baby. For patients experiencing back pain during pregnancy, segmental correction chiropractic can provide effective pain relief.

Breech Position

​Approximately 4% of all pregnancies result in breech and posterior presentations which can be a source of crisis and worry for expecting mothers. The chiropractor's role in a breech presentation is to balance and correct structural dysfunction in the pelvis which removes pelvic constraint and allows the fetus to assume the correct position. At no time does the chiropractor attempt to change the position of the fetus, as is done with external cephalic version. The chiropractor simply attempts to correct a potential cause of intrauterine constraint which allows baby to reposition on their own.
​Chiropractic analysis and adjustments, specific to the pregnant patient, have been developed which enables chiropractors to establish structural balance in the pregnant woman’s pelvis. Correcting structural imbalance has been clinically shown to allow for optimal fetal positioning.
Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to establish pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for fetal development. With a balanced pelvis, babies have a greater chance of moving into the correct position for birth, naturally.

Labor & Delivery

​Many women are unaware that chiropractic care can actually impact labor in beneficial ways and instead believe a specific complaint is needed in order to recommend chiropractic. ​Optimal baby positioning at the time of birth also eliminates the potential for difficult labor and, therefore, results in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and Research has found that women receiving chiropractic care through their first pregnancy had 24% reduction in labor times and subjects giving birth for the second or third time reported a 39% reduction.

Post Partum

Regarding the postpartum patient, previous research has indicated that in patients with moderate to severe pregnancy-related pelvic pain, segmental dysfunction can cause persisting complaints in 77% of women postpartum. Likewise, the postpartum patient faces physiological changes as the body returns to normal. After delivery, rehabilitative exercises should be used to strengthen core muscles. Continued chiropractic care is also beneficial in correcting segmental dysfunction of the spine and therefore restoring normal spinal biomechanics.


The loose ligaments brought on by pregnancy often makes adjusting comparatively easy using the gentlest of techniques. A patient who is comfortable will relax more completely and require a less forceful adjustment to be applied. The chiropractic adjustment can be beneficial and, with proper patient positioning for comfort and relaxation, only the slightest force is needed to safely and successfully correct segmental dysfunction in the spine and pelvis.


  1. Katonis P, Kampouroglou A, Aggelopoulos A, Kakavelakis K, Lykoudis S, Makrigiannakis A, and Alpantaki K. Pregnancy-related low back pain. Hippokratia. 2011 Jul-Sep; 15(3): 205-210.
  2. Triano, JJ. What causes back pain during pregnancy? April 22, 2000.
  3. Borggren, CL. Pregnancy and chiropractic: a narrative review of the literature. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine. 2007 Spring; 6(2): 70-74.
  4. ​
  5. ​Pettigrew J. Utilizing chiropractic for optimal pregnancy and birth outcomes. Midwifery Today with International Midwife. 2014 Summer; (110):56-57.
  6. ​Rosenberg, S. 2008. "An Expectant Parent's Guide to Chiropractic." Pathways to Family Wellness. 20.

Nail Trims: More Than Just Cosmetic

Nails determine what posture your dog takes as he or she moves through their environment. Posture is the interaction of your dog's body with gravity. How your dog interacts with gravity is very important in maintaining optimal health and activity levels. Input about the ground is sent from the paws, nails, muscles and joints of the body to the brain. The brain interprets the information and sends instructions to the muscles, telling them what to do.

A proper stance (for any species) is one that allows minimal energy expenditure to keep the body in an upright position. Anyone who has had to stand on their feet for long periods of time knows that certain stances and positions are easier to hold than others. For instance, standing up right is easier to maintain than a squat.

A dog's toenails should only touch the ground when they are digging or walking up a hill. When your canine companion has toenails that touch the ground as they stand or walk, their brains are receiving incorrect information, which may be causing them considerable problems.

​When the brain receives this incorrect information, the brain is being told that the dog is walking up hill, so it responds by telling the body to lean forward. When this stance is taken for any length of time, the muscles become fatigued. Fatigue is the primary cause of most injuries. Athletes know this the best.

​Regular nail trims and chiropractic care can often prevent chain of events, and the spine and knee injuries that often follow.

Common Problems Associated With Overgrown Nails

Hunched Posture
Easily Fatigued
Stiff Neck and Back
Torn ACL
Event or Sports Injuries
Torn or Broken Nails
Nail Injuries

Proper Nail Trims

A proper nail trim begins with a basic understanding of nail anatomy.

The spine of the nail is the strongest part of the nail and is where the growth begins. The best nail trim will cut as much of the spine away as possible. This allows the weaker parts of the nail to wear away and shorten before the spine grows back.

The quick of the nail is located in the middle-to-bottom part of the nail. This is the part that bleeds when clipped, but can be shorted by clipping the spine and allowing the quick to naturally wear down.

The nerve is located along the bottom curvature of the nail and is painful if clipped, however it is not painful if allowed to recede naturally.

The properly trimmed nail will have more taken off the top and sides with the bottom being left to wear down as your dog moves around. The nail will only touch the ground when your dog is walking up hill.

​Keeping your dog's nails trimmed properly is not only one of the most important grooming items, it is also a very important health step.