Discovering and Codifying a Therapeutic Technology for Animals
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(link to the beginning of Article)The simple answer is, it would have been far less work and significantly less stressful if there had been someone who was expert in the field back in 1983 when I was confronted with my first paralyzed Dachshund, who was slated to be euthanized. However, at the time the only information I could find, despite a concerted effort, were vague rumors along the Chiropractic grapevine concerning doctors treating thoroughbreds in Kentucky. I tried in vane to find someone who could advise me. Lucky for me and my desperate pet owner, that little Dachshund's condition was relatively easy to resolve with only what I knew from treating humans. I had no idea at the time, flush with success, that the majority of cases I would see over the years would go beyond what I knew at that moment in time. So the other part of me is thankful there wasn’t anyone teaching when I started, since so many of the vital discoveries I have made in my own right might have been missed by blindly following someone else’s protocols and deferring to their knowledge base, especially in difficult cases that were not responding. Instead of thinking outside the box, trying something untried, and working diligently to find the precise healing solution, I might have just chocked it up to, “I did the best with what I know, but your Pet’s condition is beyond what I can help. I’m very sorry.” I read voraciously, often straying beyond the bounds of Chiropractic manipulative theory and practice, pouring over numerous treatises by Osteopathic Physicians such as Dr Jones and others, and the lengthy collections of the landmark research of Dr. Irwin Korr. Interestingly and perhaps axiomatically, over time I learned far more with my hands than I ever did from reading.
My first success helping that paralyzed Doxie to walk again over time yielded a fairly steady stream of what I called the “basket cases” from open minded Vets suggesting to the owners that they contact this Chiropractor they have heard of named, Kelly Thompson as a last resort before “putting their companion to sleep.” The genesis of my many discoveries was born of the heavy emotional yoke that comes with being, in so many cases, the last one standing between someone’s beloved companion and their final resting place at Memorial Park. Did I win in all the cases? Sadly no, but I helped the majority of them. It was and continues to be a harsh task master, but since I had no one to turn to for solutions for difficult cases over the years, one which caused me to continually "up my game," rely on my skill and to search exhaustively, often frustratingly for elusive solutions. As my palpation skills improved and my tactile sensory acuity vastly increased over time I found things that I had previously passed over and missed, or discovered patterns in numerous cases that I initially didn’t realize the significance of. You might ask how acute can one's sense of touch become by palpating animals all day? When you rely on one sense almost exclusively to tell you what is wrong with someone's companion you get to the point where it's even difficult to explain to pet owners what it is you are feeling in their pet. I suppose it's like asking a vision impaired individual what they feel when they are reading braille. They don't feel bumps anymore they think words and concepts. Beside the point, but perhaps a matter of interest is the fact that it is a highly perishable skill that even a two week vacation from results in a noticeable deterioration in tactile sensory acuity.
Pet owners often ask if it is easier treating animals than humans? They often quip, "it must be easier, they don't talk back!" Funny, but no, you really have to advance your skills. Human patients can tell you where they hurt, what might have caused their injury or condition, and what movements or positions make their condition feel better or worse. Humans will also relax and hold still while you examine them. They want you to find the problem. Animals on the other hand will frequently do their utmost to hide their injuries or conditions from you. Owners often have no clue how their pet’s problem happened or what might have caused it or even where their companion feels pain. Moreover, detecting the very subtle changes that tell the doctor where and how to treat are frequently obscured during examination (called palpation), by a “blizzard” of other meaningless sensory inputs to the examiner’s fingers. Patients move about, wiggling this way and that, pulling away, and generally holding their postural muscles tight, as they guard against the perceived threat of the examiner’s fingers. You get the idea.
For those interested, if you will indulge me for a moment, I have a fun analogy that better explains how one can discover patterns of significance in the chaos and randomness of tactile sensory inputs when palpating an animal's body. I offer the following visual graphic from a book called Magic Eye Gallery which can be purchased on Amazon. A number of years ago walking through your local Mall you would see displays of these posters full of what appeared to be incoherent visual static or chaos. The proprietors told you that if you gazed long enough a 3-dimensional image would suddenly appear. If you relaxed your eyes and had the sense of looking deeper into the static, an image in fact would magically appear. See if you can see a pattern materialize from the visual chaos. If you can pull it off you will have a sense of what it's like to suddenly feel patterns emerge from what seems like incomprehensible tactile gibberish. Can you see the Biplane in a left banking turn appear?