By Kathy Edstrom
I was introduced to Dr. Julie Kaufman in December 2000. I was so impressed with her willingness to help me with my practice. Her genuine concern for animals and animal practitioners was evident.
I recently had the opportunity to hook up with Dr. Kaufman again. I was honored that she agreed to be interviewed for the Paws-A-Tive Choice website.
Dr. Kaufman has been practicing equine chiropractic for thirteen years. She started with horses right out of chiropractic school. In the early 1990’s she switched to working with people for about two years while she was establishing her animal practice. She has been working solely with animals for the past seven years.
So why did Julie Kaufman decide to go to chiropractic school for people so she could become a doctor that works with animals? Her story parallels my own story about how I got involved with Healing Touch, but I’ll save that for another time.
Dr. Kaufman’s Story
Julie Kaufman was a pre-vet student at UW-Madison. While she was in college, she had an accident while riding a horse. Both she and the horse sustained injuries. A friend of her’s recommended she see a chiropractor, but Julie was a skeptic and thought “no way”. She went to a medical doctor and received medication for her injury. The medication didn’t do the trick. So she finally gave in and went to a chiropractor for assistance. Julie was amazed at how much the adjustment helped her, that she thought, if chiropractic helped her that much, she was sure that her horse could use a treatment as well. This was the start of her journey as a chiropractor.
Because Julie Kaufman did not become a veterinarian, she cannot “practice medicine”. However, she is a doctor of chiropractic and she obtained all of the necessary training and education in animal chiropractic through the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Soon after she completed this program, she switched her practice to animals and now focuses on treating animals that have mechanical injuries. Dr. Kaufman said, “This is the best profession. It is so much more rewarding than I ever thought possible.”
What exactly is “chiropractic”? According to Dr. Kaufman, Chiropractic is a mechanical solution for mechanical injuries involving joints, muscles and nerves. For more information about chiropractic and horses, visit her website at: www.animalchiropracticzone.com
Dr. Kaufman treats animals with sports injuries, animals that have been hit by cars, accidents involving horse trailers that go off the road, disc diseases and any physical, mechanical injury that disrupts the joint, muscle or nerve. Dr. Kaufman also noted that geriatric problems in animals such as arthritis and other bone disorders could be helped by chiropractic adjustments. She said that the chiropractic help for animals who have had disc disease has been consistently high and is a more conservative approach than back surgery.
One note that I was unaware of is that the term “chiropractic” can only be used by a licensed chiropractor. So anyone who does not hold a doctoral degree in Chiropractic cannot legally say they perform “chiropractic adjustments”. They can say they do “spinal manipulations” but they cannot use the term chiropractic. Just as Dr. Kaufman is not a veterinarian, she cannot say she provides veterinary services.
How many treatments are necessary before the horse begins to improve? According to Dr. Kaufman there should be noticeable improvement within the first or second adjustment. If not, she recommends re-evaluating the horse’s condition, she confers with a veterinarian and often times more tests are needed to determine the exact problem and course of action to help the animal recover.
Dr. Kaufman says she is a “low force chiropractor”, meaning she only uses the amount of pressure needed to adjust the animal. Most horses act like they are at a spa when they are receiving an adjustment. She said the horse becomes very relaxed, and are naturally responsive to the treatment.
How long do the effects from a chiropractic adjustment last? According to Dr. Kaufman there are many factors that impact this. The age of the horse, nutritional status, how the horse wears the saddle, the type of work the horse does and the type of riding that is required of the horse, along with the overall condition of the horse. Typically an adjustment can last from one month up to six months.
It is totally safe to use other healing modalities in between chiropractic treatments. Dr. Kaufman says her equine patients have received acupuncture, homeopathy, massage therapy, and various types of body work in between chiropractic adjustments.
I asked Dr. Kaufman to describe one case when chiropractic helped improve a horse’s condition dramatically. She spoke about a 6 year-old Rocky Mountain gelding that was lame in his left front leg. The veterinarians thought this horse had cancer because of a lump found in the front left leg. The owner thought she was going to have to euthanize her young horse. Then the veterinarians x-rayed the right leg and found that this knee was enlarged as well, but it wasn’t cancer! This just happened to be “normal” for this horse. So, what about the left knee? It was later determined that there was pressure being put on a nerve by the knee joint and this was the cause of the lameness.
Dr. Kaufman did ONE adjustment and the pressure was relieved. This 6 year-old Rocky Mountain horse was never lame again AND his life was spared!
When should a horse receive chiropractic? Dr. Kaufman recommends that any horse with physical problems should definitely receive an adjustment. Horses that are in competitions also should receive chiropractic adjustments every two months because of the amount of stress on their bodies due to traveling and work in the show ring. However, Dr. Kaufman stresses that a veterinarian should see a horse immediately for any physical problems and illnesses the horse exhibits before bringing the horse to her.
The youngest horse Dr. Kaufman ever adjusted was a foal that was only a few hours old. She’s worked on horses that were 40 years old, and every age in between.
About Dr. Julie Kaufman
Dr. Kaufman attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She went on to the Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City, MO to earn her doctorate degree in Chiropractic in 1989. During the time she was attending Cleveland Chiropractic College, she was also attending classes at the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (which is now known as Options for Animals). She completed that program in 1990 and received her certification for working with animals performing chiropractic care. She earned the second Animal Chiropractic Certification awarded in the world; there are now over 600 certified animal chiropractors worldwide.
From 1989 to 1993 Dr. Julie Kaufman taught classes for the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Her students were veterinarians and chiropractors both interested in learning chiropractic skills for animals. She founded the Wisconsin Professional Animal Chiropractor’s Association and developed the holistic equine education program, Equinox, for horse owners, professionals and trainers.
Dr. Kaufman has been interviewed on CNN, as well as several magazines. She lectures around the country to horse and canine organizations.
Outside of her chiropractic practice, Dr. Kaufman owns three horses, two Arabians and one Arab-Warm blood cross. She is the author of Crossing the Rubicon; Celebrating the Human Animal Bond in Life and Death, published in 1999. This book is sold in veterinary clinics and can be purchased through Amazon.com. (You can read my review of this book on the Paws-A-Tive Picks – Personal Growthpage.) She is currently writing a fiction book.
Dr. Kaufman is on the board of The Animal Love and Loss Network and can sometimes be found participating in the chat rooms of this organization’s website, www.alln.org Dr. Kaufman was a speaker at the Association for Pet Loss Bereavement in June 2000.
She not only has three horses, but she also lives with four cats, one dog and four birds. When she’s not caring for her own critters, she says she enjoys woodworking and riding her horses.
There arefour clinics that Dr. Kaufman works out of: DeForest Veterinary Clinic in DeForest, WI, where she has worked for three years, Truesdell Animal Hospital in Madison, WI where Dr. Kaufman has worked for eight years, and for the past seven years she has also worked at Lake View Equine Clinic in River Falls, WI. She recently purchased a veterinary clinic, Marshall Pet Clinic in Marshall, WI. There are two veterinarians currently working at this clinic. Dr. Kaufman announced that she is building an equine clinic right next to the Marshall Pet Clinic and hopes to be seeing patients out of there this month, December 2002. This equine clinic will be the new Kaufman Chiropractic center.
Not only does Dr. Julie Kaufman offer chiropractic services for horses, but she also provides chiropractic care for dogs, cats, ferrets, rabbits, llamas, cows, birds and yes, even wildlife! The treatment of wildlife is also done through a wildlife rehabilitator and veterinarian.
To learn more about Dr. Julie Kaufman and the services she offers, visit her website at: www.animalchiropracticzone.com She may be reached at (608) 655-1515.
Her mailing address is:1121 State Hwy 19, Marshall, WI 53559 Dr. Kaufman can also be reached by email at: ArabEquine@aol.com
You can read about her “Chiropractic for Horses” videotape that is sold on Amazon.com. This is an educational video for horse owners who want to learn about chiropractic care for their horse. It is designed for horse owners who want to know how their horse may benefit from chiropractic care.
To locate a certified doctor in your area call the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association at (309) 658-2920, or visit their website at www.avcadoctors.com