Chiropractic Care for Creatures

Chiropractic care these days isn't just for humans. It's also going to the dogs– and to the horses–thanks to Dr. Willa Duree, who along with being a board certified Chiropractic Sport Physician, is also certified to care for the furriest members of the family.

Dr. Duree grew up on a farm in Troy, Kansas where her love for animals blossomed and her interest in the field of chiropractic medicine evolved.

"As a little kid, I remember my father having a limp from a serious farm injury and having to see a chiropractor every week. That doctor was actually our family physician," said Dr. Duree. Observing her family physician's treatment of her father, she was encouraged by his progress and wanted to pursue a career in chiropractic.

Dr. Duree attended Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa, completing their program and graduating in 1985. The college was named after Dr. David Palmer who started chiropractic in the United States in 1895.

During her college externship, she worked as a diagnostic technique instructor and as a special intern in examination procedures. Since then, Dr. Duree has been in practice for twenty-one years in Sanger, California. In March of this year, she moved to Shawnee to be closer to family; then in May, opened the American Chiropractic Clinic.

Dr. Duree completed 230 hours at Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, earning her post-graduate animal certification. Doctors receive a minimum of 200 hours of training, a certification exam in animal motion and static palpation, biomechanics, gait analysis and certain adjustment techniques designed just for animals. She has been working with animals since the 1980s.

"A college professor would sneak dogs and cats on campus to teach students animal chiropractic," said Dr. Duree.

Why animals? "Animals are wonderful spirits," said Dr. Duree. "They live in the moment. Humans are more difficult because of the psychological factors."

Animal Chiropractic is a drug-free healthcare approach for animals. It works with the nerve system that is housed inside the spinal column. Chiropractic treatment does not dispense or inject drugs. Nor does it involve surgery or attempt to replace necessary, traditional veterinary treatment. It involves adjustments of subluxations or loss of normal motion. This is performed on joints of the spinal column and joints of the fore and hind limbs.

Dr. Duree performs thorough evaluations on animals. Prior to giving any type of chiropractic treatment, she obtains the history of the animal's illness from the owner along with information regarding veterinarian treatment, including lab and x-ray results when available.

"Dogs and horses have the same tendency towards injuries as humans. Horses that perform barrel racing, jumping and cutting, and dogs who perform in agility and fly ball may be injured as a result of these activities," explained Dr. Duree.

According to her website, there are many indications that your pet may need chiropractic care. They include: lameness, trouble getting up and down, athletic competition injuries, surgeries involving anesthesia, seizures or neurological problems, older pets, recovery from illness or injury, behavior or mood changes and other health problems.

Although Dr. Duree works mainly with humans, dogs and horses, all species of animals can benefit from chiropractic care. Many members of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) treat animals of every species, but horses, dogs and cats benefit the most from chiropractic care.

The clinic includes a specialized room just for animals. They even have their own entrance. Dr. Duree also makes "barn calls" for horses and has seen much improvement in the animals she's treated.

"Once they get things working better they resume normal function," explained Dr. Duree. "I've had some really great results at dog shows and horse events. They went from not being able to perform to winning ribbons."

According to Dr. Duree, going to the clinic can be a frightening experience for animals. However, once the animals get over the initial fear of believing they are at the vet to get a shot, the animals relax and enjoy their time at the clinic, especially when they realize how good it makes them feel.

"The things that happen with clients and their dogs are pretty amazing. When they come in the first time, they're a little apprehensive. After that you can see them get out of the car and pull the owner to the door. They just can't wait to get in there."

Dr. Duree is the only certified animal chiropractor in the area. Because of her exceptional care and reputation, people drive from as far away as Moore, Edmond, Bartlesville and even Nebraska, for treatment. She has received gifts as tokens of appreciation.

"They are so grateful. I had a lady bring me a nice photo in a beautiful picture frame of her seven Huskies, just to say thank you. I take care of three of them."

Dr. Duree's motto is, "Wake up feeling good!" And that's something she can do each morning knowing that her care has made a huge difference in the health of humans and animals alike.

Dr. Duree's clinic is located at 318 W. Highland and can be reached at 275-6363. The clinic's website can be found at You can listen to her chiropractic educational segment on KIRC 105.9 after the noon news on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month.

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