(Early Detection, Treatment and Prevention)
Wm. L. Inman BS, DVM, CVCP
As we all love our canine friends, we
reserve a particular fondness for the larger of the dog breeds. They seem to
be more interesting and portend more personality and vitality than their
It is particularly common for veterinary
clients to announce that they are not "small dog people" but rather
prefer the larger or giant breeds. "They are ‘real’ dogs" as
they will say.
The giant breeds also carry with them a
very specific set of disease conditions. In some cases these conditions can
be life-threatening and at the very least can be financially and emotionally
I will never forget the sight of one of my
best clients, (a tall, stately man, always impeccably dressed, in a corporate
power-suit and always looking in control). He was standing outside the
doorway of my veterinary practice, covered in blood and vomitus, with the dead
carcass of his beloved Great Dane, "Goliath" dangling in his arms.
Whenever I want to remember what
significant personal loss is like, I always flash back in my mind to the
expression of total helplessness and loss on the face of this man.
Goliath was a 6-year old male brindle Great
Dane who 3 hours before was the love of this man’s life and the pride of his
family. Goliath was very thirsty and after a big drink of water decided to
engage in a good tug-of-war with his brother in the back yard. The gastric
dilatation-torsion that occurred took Goliath’s life within two hours. By
the time Goliath was noted as not feeling well and rushed to my hospital, he
was terminal. Goliath died in the owner’s lap in the car on the way to my
Two months previously the same man and his
family had presented the 9-month-old "brother" of the gastric
torsion dog with painful limping in the right front leg. This was a black or
sable Dane, and upon x-ray evaluation he was found to have defects in the
bone at the top end of his humerus. He had Osteochondritis Dissicans (OCD)
of the shoulder. Immediately, the other shoulder and the rear
legs were radiographed to make sure that "Buster" was not just
limping on the leg that hurt the most.
Buster was radiographically clear, so we
opted to operate on the shoulder and remove the joint defect. The operation
was a success. Within 6 weeks he was back terrorizing Goliath with
incessant games of tug-of-war and wrestling matches. I can’t help but think
that if I hadn’t done such a good job with Buster’s surgery that he wouldn’t
have been active enough to roughhouse with Goliath on a full stomach. This
tragic event may have been averted.
That hindsight did not change the fact that
Goliath was now presented dead outside my hospital door. His 130# held up by
his owner, wearing a ruined business suit and surrounded by his family. With
a belly the size of a basketball and his tongue blue, Goliath had gone
through the agonal throws of death in the car, while stuck in Seattle traffic
and the whole family helplessly watching.
The patriarch of this family was a captain
of industry and a multi-millionaire in the computer industry. He had a
beautiful family and every blessing known to man. I believe he would have
given them all up if I could have just helped Goliath. I pronounced his
dog dead and this stately man broke down and began to cry like a child.
It was he who had given the dog a large bowl of water and then turned both
Danes out in the back yard to play.
Six months after Goliath died, he presented
me with Buster who now was having trouble with the other shoulder.
Radiographs revealed that he had developed OCD in the other shoulder and in
the stifle and would need surgery in both places. At this point, my client
had decided that enough was enough and that this breed was just too fraught
with potential diseases to place any more emotional confidence. The cost of
surgery was not an issue for this man. The emotional expense was too high,
and against my recommendation he opted for euthanasia.
That is not the end. Three years later the eldest son added a black and
white Great Dane puppy to his family against the advice of his father. At
18-months "Marmaduke" or "Duke" presented unable
to stand in the rears. He had poor control of his front legs. Duke had
experienced no trauma, fall or accident.
Further examination would reveal that Duke
was a Canine Wobbler (caudal cervical instability) and even though the
problem was in the base of the neck, it affected his rear legs and was
progressing to his front legs. Regardless of medical therapy, Duke became a
quadriplegic within 4 hours and the inevitable euthanasia
would leave this family with 3 dead Great Danes in as many years.
Five years later I ran into father and when
I asked how he and his family were doing, he offered that he had not gotten
another dog since the death of his Danes. "Can’t afford ‘em"
was his rationalization. "Those inbred dogs have too many problems.
We’ve sworn of all dogs in our family". How depressing.
Is the Great Dane genetically cursed? Have
we inadvertently bred diseases into the giant breeds by line breeding and
even outcross breeding? What is the cause of these three disease conditions?
Could they all be the same thing and if they are could they be treated effectively?
Better yet, would there be a way to detect these disease states before they
actually produce a clinical problem? Is there an underlying secret that
has escaped the veterinary community for the last 100 years?
It is not going to endear me to many of my
colleagues to report that a huge medical phenomenon has been missed in the
veterinary field. What has been found is that a neurological
"interference" is present in all these disease
conditions. This interference is caused by the traumas of normal life and
manifests itself as most of the disease conditions we eventually see in our
This neurological phenomenon is called a
"subluxation" and is recognized by over 100,000 chiropractors as
the cause of disease. It is what chiropractor treat; it is what they reduce
when they make an "adjustment".
Unfortunately veterinarians have used the
term subluxation for years, but incorrectly. We vets think that if a joint is
out of place, it is said to be "luxated". If it looks
like the bones are less than completely out of joint, it must then be "sub-luxated".
A subluxation is in the nervous tissue and not in the bone. A subluxation
cannot be seen on an x-ray, yet on occasion, its effects can be seen on an
x-ray as a partial dislocation. This is where the two terms get mixed up.
My profession labors under the
misconception that a subluxation is anatomical instead of neurological. This explains why the two professions, veterinary
and chiropractic, have not been able to get together. Chiropractors know that
they are able to adjust the subluxations out of their pets and make them
sound. Vets are looking at the x-rays and failing to see the "anatomical
sub-luxations". They cannot figure out what the chiropractor is treating
and so relegates the whole area to quackery.
At no point in any US veterinary
teaching institution’s education curriculum is there any instruction on
chiropractic care, neither theory,
nor application. This is a travesty in that 80% of all animals have neuronal
subluxations and most of those will eventually direct some form of disease
A New Approach
The practitioners that embrace the
possibility that subluxation can and does cause disease, has opened up a huge
universe of here-to-fore untreatable diseases. He or she becomes a very busy
veterinarian and continues to perform "miracles" with the
VOM Technology, They soon find that this is a means of treating impossible
cases and diagnosing most all of the others.
The vet soon realizes that these methods of
rooting out the cause of the disease condition is possible not only after the
dog has a problem, but in most cases can be done months to years before a
problem is seen.
Here we have an invaluable treatment tool,
but the diagnostic potentials are unlimited. Finally,
the preventative value for finding subluxation before
disease is seen and repairing them before the disease is expressed, is the
crux of this article. It is also the incredible value of Veterinary
Orthopedic Manipulation to dogs in general.
VOM began in 1982 and was developed by this
author into a complete diagnostic, treatment and preventative specialty for
the animal health care provider. Based on over 45,000 clinical cases (on
file) the VOM Technology has trained in excess of 4200 practitioners in
the US, Great Britain Sweden, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It is
the fastest growing veterinary specialty of any kind in the world and yet it
is still relatively unknown to both pet owners and veterinarians alike. It
has been called "the best-kept secret in veterinary medicine".
What conditions can the VOM Technology
diagnose and treat? How does that involve the giant breeds and the Great Dane
In the Dane we see these conditions that
can be diagnosed and treated:
- Wobbler’s Disease
- Anterior cervical instability
- Cervical disk herniation
- Mega esophagus
- Gastric dilatation torsion complex
- Ostechondritis Dissicans (OCD) of the
shoulder, elbow and stifle
- Ununited Anconeal Process (Elbow Dysplasia)
- Ununited Coranoid and Coracoid Process
- Pyloric Stenosis
- K-9 Hip Dysplasia Syndrome
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury-Rupture
- Many others
Many of these diseases are events that can
be the beginning of the end for our dogs, and anything that
could prevent them would be a Godsend. VOM can do that.
How is VOM Performed?
The VOM Diagnostic Technology is done with
the use of a stainless steel spinal accelerometer, a sort of spinal hammer
that provides a very tiny motion in a very short period of time. In all the
history of the VOM Technology, there has never been an animal injured with
the application of this device. This is also true of over 6 million
applications on the human. The device cannot create an injury or a
If the diagnostic pulse imparts a force to
a spinal segment that has a neuronal interference associate with it, the pet
elicits a pathological reflex unique to that subluxation.
One can evaluate the whole of the pet’s
spine and in so doing a "blueprint" of the patterns of subluxations
are seen. These patterns correspond to disease states, and are exactly
reproducible among animals with identical diseases.
These reflexes are not subtle but are
easily seen by the practitioner and the pet owner, taking all of the
guesswork out of the diagnostic process. Previous chiropractic diagnostic
techniques were particularly nebulous and subjective. VOM makes the
diagnostic process completely objective and simple. Virtually, a child
could do it.
Once a diagnosis is reached, the treatment
technology is applied. That is done with the same instrument and the presence
of the diagnostic "reads" or pathological reflexes are negated one
by one. On occasion, the reading patterns change and do not disappear for
several more adjustments. This is due to the complex and chronic nature of
how the subluxations get there in the first place. Suffice to say, the reads
are reduced, the subluxations are gone, the animal now has full neuronal
capability and the pet is able to complete healing on its own.
How Many Adjustments Are Needed?
A common concern of clients who consider
this care is that if the animal is treated in this fashion, will they have to
continually return for more adjustments? The answer is no. The average amount
of adjustments per case is 5.75 or essentially six adjustments over a
four-month cycle of healing.
The good news is that after this cycle is
done, like in the case of a broken bone healing back stronger than before,
the area that has been healed does not have problems again. This imparts
a cure as apposed to a temporary fix that previous medical and
surgical treatments provide.
How does a subluxation work?
Think of it as a compact disc that becomes
severely scratched and at some point in the music it is only able to send
gibberish to the receiver. The music tract becomes locked in an endless loop
that it cannot escape. It will continue this loop until something acts on the
system to free it or until the equipment fails.
The scratch is the subluxation
caused by some injury. The gibberish is the pain impulses sent to the
spinal cord by the peripheral nerves. The receiver that will
misinterpret and amplify that gibberish is a segment of the spinal cord. The equipment
that will eventually fail is the body. Note that the brain is not really
How does the device reverse the
The body doesn’t give us anything we do not
need. Unfortunately, in the case of the subluxation phenomenon, it doesn’t
know when to stop, and a subluxation will continue until the animal dies or
an outside force acts upon it. The injured area of the spine that has a
subluxation is "frozen" or "fixed" for
future repair and this is the real reason the body has this mechanism.
When a cat wakes up, it always stretches.
This is an example of subluxations being reduced automatically and the feline
is fortunate to be able to do so. Cats unfortunately have plenty of
subluxations that they cannot spontaneously reduce.
As the neuronal impulses of pain hold in
place the subluxation as described above, the mechano-receptive impulses (motion
and force) will reverse the subluxation at the cellular level of the
spinal segment. In short, a mechanical force directed at the involved spinal
segment is all that is needed to reverse the subluxation phenomenon. This is
what all types of musculo-skeletal manipulation, VOM, Acupuncture,
Acupressure, and many other modalities have in common and why they all
Why not use your hands like a
It is too slow. The body can
resist motion on the spinal reflex level down to 20 milliseconds. The fastest
that a person can move a joint is 80 milliseconds, which is four times too
slow. The device operates at 2-4 milliseconds which is 5-10 times faster
than need be, and the animal gets the subluxation reduced whether he wants to
or not, each time, every time. Manual application of force can be
applied to reduce subluxation but the patient has to be very relaxed and
Canine Wobbler’s Syndrome
Let’s look at caudal cervical instability
from the standpoint of current veterinary medical disease application.
The pet has had an injury in or around the
cervical vertebrae. This has caused a subluxation and is compromising the
muscles that surround the spine, pulling them out of alignment (very commonly
not detectable on radiographs) and the ensuing pressure on the spinal
cord is causing acute pain and loss of function to the rear legs. This dog is
in big trouble.
Initial presentation to a veterinary clinic
will find this dog getting large doses of corticosteroid and pain medication
to try to slow down the swelling of the spinal cord that is accelerating the
Once stabilized, and after myelography
where a radio-opaque dye is injected into the spinal canal, a decision to
operate and stabilize the vertebrae that are impinging on the nerves is made.
The surgery is quite extensive and tricky. Only the finest of veterinary
surgeons will attempt this procedure. The unstable vertebrae will be fused
together using plates, screws and surgical bone glue.
When the big dog wakes up, he wakes up
screaming. The surgery is very painful post operatively. Often the surgeon
will pre-medicate the pet with pain medication to avoid this situation.
Before the surgery the veterinarian makes
sure that the owner realizes that even if the surgery was a supreme success,
in 8-10 months the exact same condition could recur in the
vertebral segments in front and behind the fusion. In this scenario,
the surgery has saved the dog’s life but only postpones the problem for
With this type of reoccurrence rate, the
decision is often made to spare the giant breed from this temporary fix and
the client opts for euthanasia. Thus, a diagnosis of K-9 Wobbler’s Disease
becomes the kiss of death, particularly in the giant breeds.
The dog that goes down acutely is a
candidate for the surgery. This is a means to save his life. The dog that can
walk into the veterinary hospital, (in the experience of this author), is not
only a VOM case, but now the prognosis is excellent.
Not only are we able to quickly treat these
cases, we can get them back into their normal activities and keep them from
reoccurring. The reality is that we actually induce the system to repair
itself completely as opposed to creating an artificial and temporary
Prognosis of this disease is excellent if
found early. That is the key. If we wait until the dog becomes
paralyzed we will have lost the war. Early diagnosis and treatment is
imperative. Radiographic changes are rarely apparent in the obvious
cases, much less the cases that are not showing clinical signs.
The good news is that subclinical cases
will show obvious VOM reads as far ahead as weeks to years before the disease
precipitates. Of course this give rise to an early warning system and also
allows us to treat the disease before it comes to pass. The giant
breeds, particularly the Great Dane, are always screened in a VOM Practice to
uncover a potential disaster waiting to happen. This usually takes
seconds within the body of the examination and is one of the very best things
we can do for the 5-month and older Dane puppy.
Canine Hip Dysplasia Syndrome
Go to a shopping mall and do this. Walk up
to 100 strangers and ask them what they think is the most common veterinary
disease that they know. Their answer will be hip dysplasia 95 out of 100
times. Now ask them how Hip Dysplasia in the dog is treated and you will be
astounded. Their response 87% of the time will be euthanasia!
Yes, Hip Dysplasia is the most common
disease condition known in my profession by the general public. It is thought
to be a disease that is treated by putting the dog to sleep. If a pet owner
is asked what the justification for euthanasia would be, he responds that K-9
Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disease. A dog from a sire or dam with the
disease is so painful that the only humane thing to do is to put the animal
out of its misery.
But wait, we know of dogs that have K-9 Hip
Dysplasia Syndrome and have parents that are OFA Dysplasia free. We also know
that animals that are "stress-fed" as pups have a greater tendency
to the syndrome. Male dogs that rapidly develop are also more prone to
develop the disease as opposed to the smaller, less physically aggressive
females. Vitamin C (and the collagen growth that it directs) also seems to
have an effect on the progression of the disease.
Hip Dysplasia is categorized as a
polygenetic, autosomal recessive trait with incomplete penetrance. Which
means that essentially it occurs or doesn’t, when it wants to or doesn’t
anytime or never. Very confusing.
Hip Dysplasia does not act like a genetic
disease at all. As we have selected OFA negative parents in the breeding
cycles, it would take only five generations to show a significant decrease in
the incidence of the disease. In the last 20 years of breeding dogs in this
selective fashion, the incidence of the K-9 Hip Dysplasia Syndrome has not
decreased at all, but in most studies has increased in incidence.
Hip Dysplasia acts like an acquired disease.
Some pups in susceptible litters develop the disease and some do not. The
males that are more aggressive are more prone than the females and well-fed
litters that are given "hot" diets are also more prone.
When you see these pups at 5-12 months,
they will seem normal but when evaluated with the VOM Diagnostic Technology,
some of the pups will show reading patterns at T-8-9-10 in the middle
of the back. The reflexive response is obvious to the practitioner and the
client. These pups will continue to develop laxity of the hip joints that
will lead to K-9 Hip Dysplasia Syndrome if not treated with VOM.
VOM treated pups will be treated at one
week, two weeks after that, three weeks after that, and be done with
pathological reads (and the disease) four weeks after that.
These treated pups will then "dodge
the bullet" of Hip Dysplasia by having early diagnosis and VOM
Treatment. This would then prove that this condition was an acquired disease
held in place by subluxation. The genetic component of the disease is due to
the genetic predisposition to subluxation and thereby the
An early diagnosis and treatment regimen
becomes simple when the cause of Dysplasia Syndrome is subluxation. The VOM
Diagnostic and Treatment Technology is used to isolate these young dogs at
risk, and treat them before they suffer irreparable changes in their hips.
Without this approach we are forced to wait
until it is too late and surgery and other techniques are just salvage
operations… or euthanasia.
Gastric Dilatation-Torsion of Volvulous, as
it is called, is the potential disaster that most Dane owners dread. People
who have owned Danes have sited this condition as one that they grew weary of
being careful of.
Their complaint was that they could
never let their Dane alone around an unlimited source of water as they might
gorge themselves, twist their stomachs, bloat and die.
This acts as a self-fulfilling prophecy in
that the "carefully watered" Dane becomes eager to gorge when given
the opportunity. It has been a reason that pet owners have opted not to get
another Great Dane.
We are led to believe that we have bred a
line of dogs that cannot freely drink water when they become dehydrated. This
is diametrically apposed to survival and makes no sense. What is happening
The stomach, esophagus and pylorus all are
controlled by nerves that increase or decrease their function. In normal
digestive operation they maintain a certain tone and function level.
In some animals these organs have
compromised function and hang loose in the abdomen. Food and water stagnate
in the stomach, as it is not being moved through the gastro-intestinal tract
normally. The pendulous stomach then has the opportunity to flip over and
twist off the esophagus and the pylorus. The disastrous bloat that results is
Why do some of these dogs have this problem
and some do not? For years we thought it was an inbred genetic faux-paus.
We know now that when we have a dog with a
mega-esophagus that we have subluxation at T-5-6 and when reduce them
with VOM the pet is cleared of the condition the next day.
In Volvulous, we see the same situation.
Reduction of the subluxations at T-6-7-8 will restore normal
functionality and tone to the stomach, esophagus and pylorus and prevent this
We also use this technique after we have to
untwist the stomach in a Dane that has bloated. No amount of VOM will untwist
a torsed stomach and surgical stabilization may be required to hold the organ
Untwisting the gut can save the life of the
dog. Surgical stabilization can in most instances prevent another torsion,
but the subluxation that caused the condition is still in place and needs to
It is seldom after a torsion is reduced and
the subluxations are treated, that surgical stabilization will be necessary.
The good news is that these
big dogs have subluxations that can be reduced months to years before they
bloat. The bad news is that these subluxation sites are ones
that involve the autonomic nervous system and do not give rise to the
classical reflexive reads that are so easily seen in musculo-skeletal
With this in mind, a routine check-up of one
of these "dogs at risk" would involve a VOM Pass in the T-6-7-8
area and if a subluxation is present it will be effectively reduced. If not
present, no harm will come of the adjustment.
An important point of the VOM
Technology is that it can and will only reduce subluxations and can only turn
a switch that is "off" to "on".
In 18 years of application the device and
the application of VOM has never harmed a pet. It just does not
produce enough motion to do so.
Osteochondritis Dissicans (OCD)
OCD, as it is called in veterinary
medicine, is a bone development problem that occurs in the shoulder of the
young rapidly growing dog. The Dane is a classic case. At 7-14 months the dog
presents favoring one of the front legs, or on occasion the rear leg. It is often
seen on both sides but the dog chooses to favor the one that hurts the most.
Veterinarians usually diagnose this
condition by using a specific x-ray positioning technique that can show the
divot of bone at the end of the humerus or femur that has refused to undergo
Bone first appears as cartilage and then as
the young dog ages, is converted to bone.
In the case of the giant breeds, we have
increased weight and stresses unique to these breeds due to their size. This
added to their incredible growth rate, coupled with metabolic
"encouragement" by using diets and supplements designed to enhance
and accelerate grow, you have the potential for micro trauma at the ends of
This micro trauma results in a section at
the end of the bone not getting the blood supply that it needs to undergo
this cartilage to bone transformation.
The key here is blood supply. Something is
compromising the blood to these tissues and for years we thought it was the
direct trauma of weight bearing.
We know that these animals always have
subluxation reads at the caudal cervical areas of C-6-7-8. The effects
of subluxation are vaso-constriction (impeded blood supply) and accumulation
of the by-products of subluxation that are chemical that will further degrade
the developing tissues and cause pain. Those by-products are:
P (pain) Substance
Whether these substances induce the problem
with ossification, or they cause the miss-ossification and the resultant OCD,
is not known. Whether this event causes the subluxation reads or is caused by
this event is also not known.
In any event, these animals are easily and
definitively diagnosed with the VOM Diagnostic Passes; long before
radiographic bone changes are evident, allowing early subluxation reduction
and possibly avoidance of this condition.
In Danes, and other giant breeds prone to
this problem, we begin routinely screening them at 6-months of age and see
them monthly until 14 months.
A "normal" Dane developing this
condition will present without lameness. However, when the area in the caudal
cervical area is tested with the device, the pup will almost drop to the
floor. He will act as though he is being instantaneously "shut
off" and then, without experiencing pain, will be normal again. Radiographic
findings will not be seen for weeks to months, if at all. This makes this
early detection system the fastest and most effective to date.
Unfortunately, radiologists and surgeons
who will direct their excellent skills to treating the bony problem once it
can be isolated on x-ray, will tend to relegate this approach to "mumbo
jumbo" or "black magic". The veterinary teaching
institutions have not discovered these techniques, not yet.
We have taken on the responsibility of
breeding this disease into our Danes and the giant breeds we love so much. We
have explained their predilection to OCD and other diseases of this nature to
a "genetic destiny" mandated by our breeding.
I feel this is far too harsh and somewhat
irresponsible. To conclude that these diseases are the result of improper
genetics because we cannot understand them is a "cop-out" and not
worthy of these magnificent animals.
We know that certain breeds are predisposed
to subluxation. We know that subluxations cause these diseases and that these
subluxation patterns show up before the disease is seen. We know that when we
do see the disease we always find the same pattern of subluxations and we
know that the reduction of these patterns eliminates the disease or the
progression of the disease.
We have in our hands now a means for early
diagnosis and treatment. One that is fast, easy and inexpensive. As the VOM
Technology grows and is accepted in the veterinary community, the link
between subluxation and disease will become more evident. Diseases will be
diagnosed and treated in this fashion and our beloved pets will live much
happier lives. They can become free of the "medical disasters" that
plague the lives of these magnificent creatures and, of course their owners.
Wm. L. Inman BS, DVM, CVCP is the founder
and developer of the International Association of Chiropractitioners (IAVPC).
The IAVPC is dedicated to eradicating disease in the domestic animals and
uses exclusively the patented VOM Technology that Dr. Inman discovered and
developed in 1982.
Based on over 45,000 clinical cases, the
VOM Technology (through VOM Seminars Inc.) has trained over 3800
practitioners in the US and has become the most common means of subluxation
diagnosis and treatment in the world
Dr. Inman gives professional seminars
throughout the US and is available for lectures, presentations and
mini-seminars to interested groups. Non-professionals are allowed
access to the professional courses on an individual basis, based on
background, veterinary affiliation and the veterinary practice acts of the
state they would be practicing in
Dr. Inman and the IAVCP can be reached
at 206-523-9917, 206-522-7512 fax, email at firstname.lastname@example.org,
and on the web at www.vomtech.com.
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Please visit Dr.
Inman's site at www.vomtech.com
for more information about Veterinary Orthopedic
Manipulation and to find a chiropractitioner near