Animal Biomechanical Professionals Australia

ABM for Equine and Large Animals ~ FAQs

General Questions

Some commonly asked questions about Animal Biomechanical procedures for our animals, both large and small. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.

ABM is a holistic approach to the musculoskeletal system of the animal with the aim of optimising joint and soft tissue biomechanics for the individual animal. Why is this important? When the joints of the spine and limbs cease to function properly (either individually, or as a group), generally due to injury, a cascade of events is created, which can be broken down into two main groups: Local, and Global.

ABM for Equine and Large Animals

As anyone who regularly interacts with animals knows, it is often the ‘nature’ and manner of the practitioner that scares/frightens the animals more than the procedure itself. Hence, knowing how to establish rapport before, and whilst, working with the animal is of utmost importance, making the task at hand much easier and safer.

This is a formal part of ABM training, and qualified Veterinarians, Chiropractors and Osteopaths with ABM qualifications can usually achieve this rapport with animals quickly, and easily perform their work.

There are times when ABM procedures may be uncomfortable for the animal if the area requiring attention is already sore and inflamed, or if the animal has a tendency to resist handling. Just as when we visit an Osteopath or Chiropractor, however we can verbally communicate with the practitioner to understand the discomfort, yet an animal can not. However, ABM professionals are highly trained at observing and responding to an animal’s subtle signs of discomfort, and have a range of treatment options available so painful or inflamed areas can be addressed without distressing the animal patient.

ABM procedures which involve spinal, and other limb ‘adjustments’, are not inherently painful at all. Other procedures such as resolving soft tissue fibrosis or trigger point work can be uncomfortable for the animal, and the ABM professional will select techniques designed to resolve these areas of tension in the least uncomfortable manner. Many animals appear to understand and lean into the “good pressure”, particularly if they have already learned to trust the ABM practitioner.

  • Is your horse engaged in regular competition, where maintenance care is recommended?
  • Are there other subtle problems with performance?
  • Does your horse resent you grooming some parts of its body?
  • Does your horse lick or chew at an area of its body?
  • Is your horse girthy?
  • Has your horse become bad tempered, sour or aggressive?
  • Does your horse have areas of abnormal sweating?
  • Does your horse have trouble standing square?
  • Is your horse stepping short?
  • Is your horse bridle lame?
  • Is your horse stiff on one side?
  • Is your horse head shy?
  • Is your horse difficult for the farrier/trimmer? (Particularly if this is a new thing)
  • Does your horse head shake?
  • Does your horse buck/pigroot?
  • Does your horse stumble?
  • Does your horse wear its feet or shoes unevenly?
  • Does your horse drag its hind feet?
  • Does your horse struggle to round up?
  • Does your horse have a weaker canter lead or disunite at the canter?
  • Does your horse prefer one diagonal?
  • Does your horse rush transitions?
  • Does your horse struggle with a particular exercise?
  • Does your horse avoid trot or canter?
  • Has your horse’s posture/conformation changed?
  • Has your horse been diagnosed with any joint issues or arthritis?

When biomechanical dysfunction is present, the nervous system changes its protective reflexes, to compensate for problems such as loss of elasticity, pain or weakness in an area. This may produce changes in gait or posture.

The longer dysfunction is present, the more ingrained the compensation patterns are, and hence there is more resistance to the return to normal. When an animal is treated the nervous system must re-learn how to operate the affected areas properly again. This often takes a little time.

It is often best to build up their workload gradually, so the new changes can be integrated into their new ‘action’. Your ABM professional will advise on return to work and exercises to aid the improvement of your animal after the treatment is completed. Where an ABM professional is closely involved with the management of equine and canine athletes, treatment may occur close to and even during competition (depending on the rules of competition of course).

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