Veterinary Neuronal Adjustment


For the last decade, we have been using a wonderful technique, called Veterinary Neuronal Adjustment (VNA) for spinal care in our patients. In the past, it was referred to as Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM).

We use VNA for back and neck pain of any severity, as well as disc disease, Wobbler’s disease, lumbosacral disease and degenerative myelopathy. VNA is also employed as an adjunctive therapy to manage lick granulomas, cruciate ligament injury, urinary incontinence, inflammatory bowel disease, and other internal medicine disorders.

VNA was created by Dr. Bill Inman, a veterinary surgeon and neurologist. After years of treating spinal disease with surgery, he became dissatisfied with the results of his labours. He studied traditional chiropractic care and eventually developed his own technique (unlike chiropractic therapy) which involves using a spinal accelerometer (called an activator) to treat vertebral subluxations. Over many years, he established a treatment protocol that was predictable and repeatable.

The goal of VNA is to treat the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) – a vertebral malalignment that is rarely visible on x-rays. This physical abnormality causes a functional defect that generates pain. It also impinges on the spinal nerve that exits between the vertebrae, reducing or shutting down the nerve's function.

The nerve disruption directly affects the function of the organs or muscles that the nerve supplies. For example, if the impaired spinal nerve supplies the colon, its dysfunction may trigger inflammatory bowel disease or leaky bowel syndrome.

The advantage of VNA is that it can diagnose all subluxations, even in the early stages. We put the activator on the top of each vertebra and adjust each one, from the top of the neck down to the pelvis. We look for a "read" – a contraction of the muscles that lie beneath the skin, a slight change in posture, or a head nod (when neck vertebrae are activated), immediately after the activator thrust. Like a painless knee jerk reflex, the patient cannot prevent a read from happening. A read indicates that a subluxation, and therefore a compromised nerve root, is present.

Besides diagnosing where subluxations exist, the activator also helps correct the subluxation, allowing the nerve to resume function. By putting motion into the joint, the subluxation is reduced, without pain or injury. It won’t produce a subluxation. After three passes of the entire spine with the activator, we use an instrument called a “Vetro-stim” to deeply massage (myofascial release) the back muscles.

Some people wonder why we use an activator rather than our hands. It is because hands are too slow. An excellent chiropractor can move a joint in 80 milliseconds (ms). The animal’s natural reflexive resistance to adjustment is 20 ms, four times faster. This shows that patient relaxation is paramount for it to work. An activator, on the other hand, fires at 2 to 4 ms. The patient can’t prevent the adjustment so it works every time.

It takes five to ten adjustments over a few to many weeks to complete the course of treatment in most cats and dogs. Treatment schedules are individualized for each patient.

VNA is a simple technique that relies on the animal’s innate ability to heal itself. It re-establishes neuronal communication to stimulate this healing. It is easy, powerful, and effective.


1. We begin with a physical evaluation to determine the areas of pathology. This is done with physical palpation, looking for energetic blockages using muscle testing, and sometimes radiographs or ancillary tests.
2. If we are using VNA, we do a diagnostic pass along the spine to detect pathological reads that indicate subluxations.
3. We then make a second and third pass. These therapeutic passes may already show a change, indicating a reduction of subluxations and improvement in the pet.
4. We then use the Vetro-stim to relax the muscles along the spine.
5. We might suggest that laser (frequency-specific low level laser) therapy could be an appropriate addition to the therapy.
6. We then set up a schedule for your pet.


We sometimes see positive responses right after the first treatment. We’ve had dogs barely able to walk go out and jump in the car. However, in most cases, improvement is more subtle with changes seen over a few weeks.

Some dogs temporarily get worse after the first treatment. The reason for this is what’s termed a “healing crisis”. The subsequent success in these cases is usually quite good. If the pain continues, these are good candidates for laser therapy.

If a pet shows no response after a month, it will likely not respond to VNA. These treatment failures are due to extensive and permanent nerve injury that can’t be rehabilitated.

Another reason for failure is because we don’t continue the adjustments on schedule. It’s tempting to stop treatment when the pet looks good. The series of adjustments must be completed to prevent a relapse.