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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

A Systematic Review of Musculoskeletal Mobilization and Manipulation Techniques Used in Veterinary Medicine

Haussler, Kevin K.; Hesbach, Amie L.; Romano, Laura; Goff, Lesley; Bergh, Anna

Abstract

Simple Summary: Neck and back pain are common ailments in animals. While there are medical and surgical treatment options available for select patients, conservative care is the most common form of management of pain, stiffness and muscle spasms. Physical therapists, osteopaths and chiropractors use mobilization and manipulation techniques to evaluate and treat muscle and joint problems in both humans and animals, but there seems to be little scientific evidence available to support their use in veterinary medicine. This study reviews the scientific literature with the goal of identifying the clinical indications, dosages, outcome parameters, and efficacy of mobilization and manipulation techniques in dogs and horses. Fourteen articles were included in this review of which 13 were equine and one was a canine study. There was a large variability in the quality of evidence that supports the use of joint mobilization or manipulation in treating pain, stiffness and muscle hypertonicity in horses. Therefore, it was difficult to draw firm conclusions despite all studies reporting positive effects. Future studies need to establish standardized methods to evaluate the optimal dosages of mobilization and manipulation for use in animals.


Mobilization and manipulation techniques are often used in small animal and equine practice; however, questions remain concerning indications, dosing and efficacy. A bibliographic search was performed to identify peer-reviewed publications from 1980 to 2020 that evaluated the clinical effects of musculoskeletal mobilization and manipulation techniques in dogs, cats and horses. The search strategy identified 883 papers for review. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. The clinical indications, dosages, outcome parameters, and reported efficacy within each publication were recorded and categorized for comparison with scientific quality assessed according to a standardized grading system. Fourteen articles were included in this systematic review of which 13 were equine and one was a canine study. Seven of these were cohort studies and seven were randomized controlled clinical trials. The canine study involved carpal immobilization-remobilization and all equine studies focused on the effects of passive mobilization (n = 5) or manipulation (n = 8) of the axial skeleton. Study quality was low (n = 4), moderate (n = 7), and high (n = 3) and included a wide array of outcome parameters with varying levels of efficacy and duration of therapeutic effects, which prevented further meta-analysis. Therefore, it was difficult to draw firm conclusions despite all studies reporting positive effects. Optimal technique indications and dosages need to be determined to improve the standardization of these treatment options.

Keywords

manual therapies; mobilization; manipulation; musculoskeletal; osteopathy; chiropractic; dog; horse

Published in

Animals
2021, volume: 11, number: 10, article number: 2787
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Haussler, Kevin K.
Colorado State University
Amie L, Hesbach
EmpowerPhysio
Romano, Laura
VCA Canada Central Victoria Veterinary Hospital
Goff, Lesley
University of Queensland
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Clinical Sciences

Associated SLU-program

SLUsystematic

UKÄ Subject classification

Clinical Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102787

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/114364