Animal Chiropractor, at Your Service
Renold Bleem grew up on a dairy farm in Walsh, a small community in Randolph County in the southwest corner of the state. He had a lot of experience caring for animals. “There were as many cows on our farm as there were people in our town,” he says.
Even after leaving the farm in 1987 to study chiropractic medicine, Bleem was drawn to the rural life. He established his practice in Havana, 200 miles north of his hometown. For 25 years, the graduate of Logan University College of Chiropractic has been serving the residents of west-central Illinois, providing relief and healing through chiropractic adjusting techniques. In the past 18 months, he’s also added new patients to his practice – patients most people don’t usually associate with chiropractic care.
Since graduating from the Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic in February 2019, Bleem has cared for horses, dogs and other show animals. These patients might not be able to tell the doctor about their pain, but he can discern by looking at them or touching them when adjustments are needed.
“An animal may duck out or back away because of a sore spot, or you may be able to spot problems just by evaluating how they stand,” Bleem says. “It’s hard to see animals hurting, and owners appreciate having someone who can help reduce their animals’ pain and improve their physical function.”
See more: Horse-Powered Healing
Making House Calls
How do you adjust an animal? Bleem says the same techniques apply to a horse as to a human, just on a bigger scale. “In both cases, the goal is to change nerve activity and reset the nervous system,” he explains.
The spine is key to a healthy nervous system. This complex framework of bones, ligaments, muscles and nerves protects the brain and the spinal cord, which are the command centers of the nervous system. When there is a problem with the spine, it can interfere with the nerves that branch off of the spinal cord, impacting mobility and resulting in stiffness or pain.
“Whether I’m working with animals or humans, I use the same techniques to find the tight areas or misalignment of the spine,” Bleem says. But as a 175-pound man working with a 1,200-pound horse, he needs one additional piece of equipment. “I have special foam bales so that I can stand over the top of the horse,” Bleem says. “Then it’s a matter of using my hands in a wave motion along the vertebrae and through the limbs and jaw to detect problems.”
For horses, he also makes house calls. “I don’t want the animals to get back in a trailer after they have been adjusted,” he says.
Back to the Barn
There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes with being able to help animals – and their owners.
“The farming community cares for its animals, which is something that was part of what I learned growing up on our farm,” Bleem says. “It’s been fulfilling to get to know the animals and their owners and to return to the barn. There is a lot of satisfaction that comes from getting my hands back on the animals to fix their problems and reduce their recurrence. It’s a way I can improve their overall health and vitality and serve my community. I’m a better human chiropractor because I’m an animal chiropractor.”