Chiropractic Care and Animals

Law, rules and regulations, not Alerts, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Alert may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this Alert.

New York State Education Law, section 6551(1) defines the practice of chiropractic as:

detecting and correcting by manual or mechanical means structural imbalance, distortion, or subluxations in the human body for the purpose of removing nerve interference and the effects thereof, where such interference is the result of or related to distortion, misalignment or subluxation of or in the vertebral column. [emphasis added]

Therefore, as a New York State licensed chiropractor, you are practicing beyond the lawful scope of chiropractic if you provide professional services, treat, or correct structural imbalance, distortion, or subluxations for the purpose of removing nerve interference in any living creature, other than a human being.

While there are postgraduate courses available to chiropractors for the study of animal anatomy and associated adjustive techniques, and there is a national organization dedicated to veterinary chiropractic, you should be aware that providing chiropractic care to animals is against the law. Also, even if a service is provided pro bono, i.e., without fee, you are accountable under the law. If someone requests you to help an animal, refer that person to a qualified veterinarian, some of whom are trained in adjustive techniques.

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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:

  • Education Law, section 6509(9) - "unprofessional conduct"
  • Education Law, section 6551(1) - "confines chiropractic care to the human body"
  • Regents Rules, part 29.1(b)(9) - "practicing beyond the lawful scope"
Last Updated: June 8, 2009