Dogs, cats, horses, cows and a duck are all patients of a chiropractor who is as happy treating four-legged friends as he is people.

Dr Todd Keenan, with canine client Tank, has been running his practice in Freemans Bay for 11 years. He told the Herald on Sunday the number of animals he sees has been steadily increasing in that time.

"People are becoming more interested in natural health for themselves and want it for their pets, too."

About 10 per cent of his clients are animals, some of whose owners also come in to see Keenan - although "not at the same time".


Chiropractic care focuses on treating injured vertebrae, which in turn can cause other health problems. Keenan says these can be a result of physical injury, stress or anxiety, and nutrition.

"We're not trying to move bones we're trying to send information into the joints," he told the Herald on Sunday. "I'm trying to make the body more aware."

Keenan has a post-graduate diploma, focusing on the treatment of animals, from Parker College of Chiropractic in the United States.

He estimated about 30 of the hundreds of qualified chiropractors in New Zealand would have this post-grad training.

Dogs and cats are his bread and butter, but he has also carried out adjustments on cows, horses and, once, even a duck.

Chiropractic care is used in conjunction with medical care from a vet, says Keenan whose wife is a practicing veterinarian.

Although some vets are suspicious of his methods, he says sceptics should be satisfied because animals won't fall for a placebo."I can't convince an animal to get better - it either does or it doesn't."