Animal Chiropractic


In addition to caring for you, Dr. Linda Capra offers chiropractic care for your family's pet.  Call 715-308-2482 or 715-235-7333 for an appointment.

Chiropractic for Animals

Until relatively recent, care for both humans and animals was primarily concerned with injuries, birth and illness.  Animals and humans often shared the environment, food and many diseases.

The first rudimentary veterinary school was started in the late 1700’s in France.  Human medical schools often used animals in research and practice in order to understand human biology.   

Chiropractic began as a health practice around 1900 by Daniel David Palmer.  He developed a practice of hands-on spinal care called chiro (done by hand) – practic (to practice). Chiropractic follows the basic biology of the nervous system: relieving stress, tension and distortion from the spinal cord allowing  the body to express itself more fully.  Modern chiropractic education includes the same prerequisites as medical and vet school.   Chiropractic schooling takes about four years with a half-year residency. 

         The developer of animal chiropractic education, Dr. Sharon Willoughby, graduated from Michigan State University Veterinary School in 1970.  Her own interest in chiropractic for herself and animals lead her to Iowa to pursue a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1986. 

        The practice of Animal Chiropractic began in 1988.  After initiating and attending a world conference on animal chiropractic at Life University in 1986, Dr. Willoughby, now a  DVM and DC, was asked to take over an organization called Options for Animals.  This small group was begun in an effort to spread the word of integrative care for animals.  With encouragement from others, and an interest in sharing her unique blend of veterinary and chiropractic practice philosophies, Dr. Willoughby began teaching classes in the revitalized profession of animal chiropractic. 

           Doctors of Veterinary Medicine and Doctors of Chiropractic were trained side-by-side.  In 1988, her program, and eventual school, became the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA).  During the next twelve years Dr. Willoughby worked diligently with other doctors she employed to develop a basic 150 hour curriculum aimed at teaching chiropractors and veterinarians the art, science and philosophy of animal chiropractic.  This course was the first of its kind, and was attended by doctors from around the world.  In the late 1990s, Dr Willoughby moved to Alaska and semi-retired.

In June of 2000, Dr Willoughby gave up the rights to the name of her organization and renamed her school by the old but favored name, Options for Animals.  The name American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) was given to a new and restructured professional organization for Animal Chiropractors.  Independent from Options for Animals, the AVCA also became a certifying agency for animal chiropractic schools and graduates of those schools, and a policing agency for this new profession.  Options for Animals went on to become an independent Animal Chiropractic School, free of the encumbrances of politics. 

          That practice continues today, teaching doctors of both degrees side-by-side, in the three animal chiropractic programs currently accredited by the AVCA. All of these programs meet the AVCA’s minimum requirement of 210 hours. To date, over 1,000 doctors worldwide have completed one of these approved programs.  Doctors of Veterinary Medicine receive a foundation of chiropractic theory and technique, and Doctors of Chiropractic learn common animal diseases, zoonotic diseases, comparative anatomy, and animal handling techniques.  Adjusting techniques are taught with both horses and dogs.

Dr. Linda Capra began her animal chiropractic training in 1990 under the tutelage of Mark Haverkos, DVM.  She graduated from Northwestern College of Chiropractic in 1991, opening her human practice in Feb of 1992.  Not wanting to get another degree and more school loans, she found out about Options for Animals in Nov 2001 and rushed to apply.  After a year of additional studies, she finished the animal program, tested and was certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association in 2002.