Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation


Veterinary orthopedic manipulation (VOM) is a healing technology that locates areas of the animal's nervous system that have fallen out of communication, and re-establishes neuronal communication and thus induces healing. VOM is singularly the most simple, effective and safe healing modality in veterinary care to date.

Is VOM Chiropractic Care?

No! VOM exists between veterinary medicine and chiropractic care. It has similarities to some of the chiropractic modalities and functions in restoring function by reducing "subluxations" as is done in chiropractic care. VOM uses a hand-held device that is used in a popular human chiropractic technique called "Activator Methods," but it is not to be confused with that technique. The differences between VOM and chiropractic care are significant and distinct.

  • VOM exists in a gray area between both professions—veterinary and chiropractic—and benefits from the positive aspects of both being more effective than either by themselves.
  • VOM is formally recognized by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, the Maine Veterinary Medical Association, the German Shepherd Clubs of America, and the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association in Washington State, to name a few.

History, Origination, and Development of VOM

VOM was developed by Wm. L. Inman, BS, DVM, CVCP, Seattle, WA, in his clinical practice from 1982 to the present. Before Dr. Inman began using these non-invasive techniques he was an accomplished veterinary surgeon and still consults in veterinary surgery. His vacillation to VOM from surgery reflects his frustration to ineffective surgical solutions to common veterinary medical problems.

VOM was developed in a vacuum, meaning it was developed with a trial-and-error approach in a clinical setting without input from other sources. Dr. Inman has been the sole source of the VOM technology. The body of VOM technology is the culmination of information gleaned from more than 48,000 patients treated for clinical disease. Dr. Inman has taught more than 4000 practitioners throughout the US in a seminar series of six modules.

Why VOM Is So Accurate

VOM finds and reduces all neuronal subluxations. All neuronal subluxations have a pathological reflex demonstrably associated with them. A pathological reflex is like a knee-jerk response. It is either there or it is not. VOM determines the presence and reduction of neuronal subluxation. The pathological read is not "partially there," "kind of there" or "almost there," and it does not add a factor of subjectivity to interpretation. VOM is a precisely objective science.

Chiropractic "Listings" vs VOMTM "Pathological Reads"

All chiropractic techniques (veterinary and human) rely on the chiropractic "listing" to determine the presence of a subluxation. Through manual palpation a misplaced bone prominence or a taut and tender muscle may be discovered by a competent veterinary chiropractor whose patient is cooperative and relaxed. This is a listing, an anatomical subluxation sign, and almost always is indicative of a neuronal subluxation syndrome.

Unfortunately only 40% of all neuronal subluxations produce palpable anatomical subluxation signs. This means over half of all the animal's subluxations will be overlooked if anatomical listings are used as a means to discover them. The good news is that all neuronal subluxations produce "pathological reads," and all these reads are obvious and easy to discover and reduce. The goal of an animal's adjustment is having all the vertebral subluxations in that animal reduced. Subluxation reduction based on pathological reads will verify they have been reduced. Fast, easy, effective.

How VOM Works

All chiropractic modalities have one thing in common: they all reduce the vertebral subluxation complex by providing motion or force to the fixated or subluxated joint.

  • Spinal injury = neuronal subluxation syndrome = pathological read
  • Neuronal subluxation + motion (force) = subluxation reduced

So if you put motion into a joint that is associated with a neuronal subluxation sign (a pathological read), you reduce the subluxation. It is that simple. All the various types of chiropractic techniques have this motion or force into the subluxated joint in common.

VOM delivers its force with a hand-held device called a spinal accelerometer. It looks a bit like a spring-loaded doorstop. Your VOM practitioner has extensive references covering the research investigating the principles portrayed above and can provide them upon request. These references are in chiropractic journals.

Functions of the VOM Hand-Held Device

The hand-held device reduces the subluxations present in the joints of your pet. It cannot create a subluxation. Instead, it flips the neuronal switches on that are turned off. It cannot flip a switch off. The device provides very accurate and precise motion to specific areas of the pet's spine — if a subluxation is present it can detect and reduce it quickly without pain or injury. It can confirm that the neuronal subluxation is reduced even if it is not associated with an anatomical listing.

Can the Device and VOM Harm My Pet?

NO! The device provides the exact amount of force to the subluxated joint needed to reduce the subluxation without having to induce a lot of motion. The motion (torsion, twisting, mass movement inherent in manual adjusting techniques) is what can potentially injure the animal. The device trades motion for speed to maintain the force needed to reduce the subluxation through Newton's Second Law of Motion (Force=Mass X Acceleration).

In the more than 48,000 animal adjustments done, including pets with fractures, tumors and acute spinal diseases, no pet has been injured with the accelerometer. Note: Sometimes the adjustments may cause some minor pain or discomfort, but not enough movement is done to cause injury.

VOM Does Not Use Hands Like Other Veterinary Chiropractors

Our hands are too slow for VOM. The fastest an excellent veterinary chiropractor can move a joint under optimum conditions and patient cooperation is 80 milliseconds. The animal's natural reflexive resistance to adjustments is 20 milliseconds or 4 times faster. This demonstrates the need for patient relaxation and cooperation and is the reason that excellent techniques are imperative for success using manual adjusting.

Conversely the hand-held device fires at a rate of 2-4 milliseconds, which is 5-10 times faster than the animal's ability to resist adjustment. With VOM, patients are always adjusted, every time, all the time, whether they want to or not, in any position, attitude or mood. Throughout Dr. Inman's experience, only 50 percent of domestic animals will completely cooperate with manual chiropractic adjustments. All of them can be adjusted using VOM technology.

Why VOM Is So Successful

  • Regardless of whether clinical symptoms are present in the animal, VOM locates, reduces and confirms the reduction of all the neuronal subluxations. Inherent in VOM technology is a built-in rescheduling protocol that inserts the patient on a self-regulating readjustment interval, making it an easy, objective science. VOM technique goes to the root of the problem, relying on an animal's innate ability to heal itself. VOM re-establishes communication with the pet's ability to heal itself and is easy, powerful and effective.

Conditions routinely treated using VOM include:

  • Acute and non-acute lameness
  • Progressive lameness
  • Hip dysplasia-like syndromes
  • IV disc disease
  • Progressive myelopathies (in dogs' rears)
  • Urinary and fecal incontinence
  • Unilateral lameness
  • Wobblers' disease
  • Knee diseases
  • Esophageal disease
  • Increased or decreased GI mobility disease
  • Digestive disorders
  • Performance problems
  • Behavioral problems
  • Agility dysfunction
  • Endocrine disease
  • Many more

VOM Effective On Horses

All the reads that veterinarians see in dogs and cats using VOM are magnified in the horse. Areas usually devoid of subluxations in the shoulder areas of dogs and cats are hot spots in equines. Many AVCA-trained veterinary chiropractors that have taken the VOM seminar chose to use the VOM device to locate all the subluxations and then proceed to manually adjust the horse using AVCA techniques.

What Happens to My Pet During VOM? 

The veterinary chiropractitioner does a "diagnostic pass" by running the device down the pet's spine searching for pathological reads indicative of subluxations. The subluxations are recorded.

  If significant subluxations are found the CVCP will recommend a course of VOM treatment.

  A second VOM therapeutic pass is done and changes to the reading pattern are noted. Your pet may already show signs of improvement.

  A third VOM (second therapeutic pass) is made and that data evaluated. Most if not all of the reads may be reduced at this point.

  Depending upon the nature of the case, your pet is then sent home.

  Upon release, a return-for-readjustment appointment is made, and the CVCP gives post-adjustment instructions as to activity and potential discomfort in your pet that may occur that evening.

  Depending upon the nature of the case, some medicines may be prescribed by your veterinarian.

  The VOM series consists of 3-7 readjustments to reach a point where no reads are found—in which case the subluxation pattern is "cured."

  Maintenance checks may be recommended every 4-6 months to watch for reoccurrence.


VOM Treatment Results

You may see a response while your pet is on the examination table. It can be that fast. Experienced practitioners using VOM technology have treated cases who haven't walked for weeks, given up for dead, with one adjustment thrust and the pet stands and walks about the exam room. The average case will see some sort of positive response with the first week. Commonly the entering clinical complaint will be gone within the first three adjustments giving the client the false security that the case is completed.  It is important to complete the cycle of healing. Cases that have had paralysis or lack of function for years or months may not respond well to VOM; however, one does not know until one tries.

Readjustment Important

When the body is used to functioning in an out-of-communication state, the nervous system throws up a nerve adaptation that allows some marginal level of function—the body develops a pseudo-memory of how it has "adapted." When the body is re-introduced to functioning correctly, that system wins out for a stretch of time until the nagging pseudo-memory of the neuronal adaptation re-express itself on the body again and the body slips "out of adjustment." Systematic readjustment on a succinct schedule then finally wins out over the pseudo-adaptive memory and further adjustments are not necessary.

Treatment Failures

Treatment failures fall into two categories:

  • Neurological damage is extensive, significant and permanent (too much serious injury for too long).  The length of time the animal has had the condition, the age and over-all health of the animal also determine the length of time and number of VOM treatments needed.
  • VOM treatment schedule not kept (most common cause of VOM failure and easiest to prevent).

Dr. Tana Nazar, DC, CVCP can generate an estimate for you, including projected costs.