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Chiropractic care beneficial for pets

posted February 21st, 2017 by
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Holistic healthcare for our families, both human and furry members, continues to gain popularity. If you haven’t had a chance to read about Dr. Corinna Tressler and her work with acupuncture, be sure to pick up the January/February issue of Tulsa Pets Magazine or read it online.

Also falling under the umbrella of holistic healthcare is chiropractic care, an Eastern medicine approach that deals primarily with the mechanics of the spine and associated joints. Exams include adjustments or a short, controlled thrust by hand directed at a joint to improve function and motion.

Dr. Willa Weisel, DC, CAC,bonnie_dr_duree_shoulder_adj_236x300 is a doctor of chiropractic care who is also certified in animal chiropractic through the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Her practice, American Chiropractic Clinic, is located in Shawnee but she makes monthly visits to Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Norman.

Many pet owners who seek chiropractic care for their animals do so because of an injury.

“If you have a dog or a cat, you know they have a tendency to be very active and to jump on and off of things. And that very thing is what can be the start of repetitive stressor that leads to a real significant disability for them,” Weisel said. “It’s almost always the case that I don’t see that dog or cat or horse until the problem is so big that it is really disabling for the animal.”

Weisel is also involved with a variety of canine sports and will attend agility trials and other events to adjust dogs that become injured on the spot.

“If you have a dog that is involved with sports, agility, fly ball, discs, those types of things, they are athletes just like you and I are athletes if we are out playing volleyball or running track,” Weisel added. “So they need to get checked. They are going to have problems just from the repetitive stress exerting themselves in a physical nature like that.”

While chiropractic does not replace traditional veterinary care, it does offer a drug-free and noninvasive approach that can be used preventatively as a wellness tool in addition to treatment for existing problems.

“It should be a wellness treatment, a supportive treatment,” Weisel said. “We all have bumps and grinds, everyday.”

Though Weisel began her career focusing on chiropractic for people, her first animal adjustment happened by chance in 1988. A client who wanted her to adjust a foal born with an S-curve in its back approached Weisel and she agreed to take a look at the horse and give it a try.

“I went out there and this little horse was really cute. She couldn’t go backwards and she couldn’t go to the right and so she had kind of adapted to that,” Weisel recalled. “She had taken the horse several places and they had all advised her to euthanize the horse and she just couldn’t bring herself to do it. This little horse was not thriving though. She had diarrhea and she wasn’t processing food. I made one simple adjustment on her pelvis and it was so interesting … I can still see this blonde little horse, she turned around and she touched her nose right on her butt to the right and then she galloped off to the right and kicked her heels up and came back around.”

From that moment on, Weisel knew she would pursue expanding her practice to animals. Shortly after becoming certified through the AVCA, Weisel moved to Oklahoma and opened her practice in Shawnee in 2006.

In addition to the cats and dogs that visit her in the office, Weisel has had the chance to work with goats, sheep, a rabbit, a duck and even a llama.

“I was very much interested in pursuing that part of my practice and it has just grown and I love it,” Weisel said.

Weisel books appointments in Oklahoma City the first Saturday of the month, in Tulsa the third Saturday of the month and in Norman the second Tuesday of the month. To make an appointment, call 405-275-6363. You can learn more about Weisel and her clinic at or follow her Facebook page.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, l[email protected].

Disaster prep should include pets

posted April 2nd, 2014 by
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We are just barely into spring, and already the potential for severe weather has presented itself.

Most Oklahoma families have disaster plans for emergencies, especially tornadoes, but does your plan include your pets?

If not, take a few minutes to look over some of these disaster prep ideas by the Humane Society. They include disaster planning for pets, horses, farm animals, tornadoes and everyday emergencies.

Some of the most important points to remember:

• If it isn’t safe for you to be outside, it isn’t safe for your pet to be outside.

• Make sure all of your pets are microchipped, wearing ID tags or both. And make sure the info is current.

• Keep pet food and extra water, along with leashes, first aid supplies and any medications your pets need in your storm shelter or safe room.

• Have current photos of all of your pets on your phone, just in case.

- Lauren Cavagnolo, [email protected]


The Art of a Farrier

posted January 25th, 2014 by
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by Lauren Cavagnolo

Photos by Bob Foshay

ANYONE WHO’S OWNED A DOG knows there’s a fine art to trimming dog nails—holding your dog’s paw just right, not cutting too close to the quick, and if your dog is like mine, feeding him treats for the duration of the grooming. And if you’re like me, after completing the task a couple of times, you decide maybe it would be better for both of you if someone else handled the trimming.

Next, imagine trimming the nails of an animal that averages 1,100 pounds. If you’re now thinking, ‘Who do I call for that?’ Marc Munger is your guy.

Munger grew up watching his dad shoe horses and now makes his living as a farrier.

Farriers specialize in the hoof care of horses, including hygiene, trimming, disease prevention and attaching horseshoes. And though it is a profession that dates back hundreds of years, it has not changed all that much over time.

Munger’s father, Art, began working as a farrier part time in 1978. By 1992, it was his full-time job.

“I think when I was little my mother just sent me and my brothers with [my dad] to get us out of the way,” Munger said. “When we got old enough, we learned how to do it and started helping.

“I remember as a kid, Dad and I were at a job and working two horses tied to a fence as we normally would. He would trim the wall off the bottom, and I would come behind and bevel the edges on the hoof stand.”

He continued to help his father and learn the trade working summers and weekends through high school and college. He took over the family business in 2009 after graduating with a degree in agribusiness.

With only a handful of farriers in the Tulsa area and just over 25,000 in the nation according to, it’s an important job. Like nails on a dog, if the hooves of a horse aren’t properly cared for it can lead to bigger problems down the road.

“Your number one goal is preventing lameness,” Munger said. “Horses in the wild are meant to run around to water and graze and get a lot of movement. That movement wears the hoof down at about the same speed that it grows out.”

Domesticated horses need regular trimming of their hooves and not much else. Munger says a horse’s feet should be trimmed about every six to eight weeks in the summer and eight to 12 weeks in the winter, depending on the horse.

“But if you are using them hard, riding on the road, riding on rocks or doing some sort of performance, a lot of times their feet will get sore if they don’t have any extra protection,” advised Munger.

These horses require steel shoes that are nailed into the hoof—a task not done without risk.

“You’re holding that foot right in between your legs with nails sticking out of every side of it, and if they jerk their foot away when you’re trying to break a nail tip off, you can cut your fingers,” Munger said.

“If you get a malicious horse, they may try and bite you or deliberately try and kick you. Most of the time horses will kick out when they are scared, but they are not taking aim trying to hurt you except for the very rare case.”

In addition to protection, some horses require shoes for correction due to a variety of reasons including fungal infections that eat away at the hoof or bone issues.

“There is something called thrush that is really prominent in horses,” Munger said. “It’s a fungal infection that essentially replaces the horse’s foot with a deep pocket of black fungus. I would say 90 percent of horses have some varying degree of it, a small portion of which gets trimmed out each time I come.”

In all, Munger says it takes him about an hour to remove the shoes, trim the feet and put all of the shoes back on one horse. Most of his clients’ horses are trail horses or are used for cattle performance, although he does shoe race horses as well.

Race horses wear aluminum horseshoes instead of steel and require a more precise fit. Depending on the type of race horse, quarter horse or thoroughbred, it will have a toe grab on its shoe or it may be flat, Munger said. The toe grab gives the horse traction and allows them to dig into the track.

“The importance of that as a horseshoer is that the toe grab has to be dead centered with the track of the foot, otherwise it will make their foot turn and pull funny,” Munger said. “It will also make them hit their other leg with their foot or interfere and cause them not to run fast.”

Regardless of the type of horse or its use, care of the hooves is vital to the well-being of the animal. So the next time you procrastinate on trimming your 20-pound canine’s nails, just be thankful you do not have to nail steel shoes to a half-ton animal. 

Hope for Horses Oklahoma

posted February 20th, 2012 by
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By Pat Penn, Founder

As I sat down to start writing this piece, the news came on and reported that 105 horses were found starving and abandoned in Logan County, OK.  Horse skeletons were found scattered throughout the pasture with the starving horses.  One of the horses didn’t make it through the night.  15 were rated as a “1” – the worst condition that can be rated before death.  This is exactly why I’m writing this story.


There is a disaster unfolding here in the Heartland that many people aren’t aware of.  Thousands of families are being affected and no one is reporting on this.


Due to the blizzards and then the record-breaking drought of 2011, there is no local hay to feed our animals.  Thousands of horses are dying due to starvation.  Hay has to be shipped in from out of state and prices have more than tripled.  Grain prices are up 50-70% since May.  Horse owners cannot afford to feed their horses.  People are going bankrupt trying to keep their horses alive.  You can sell your cows, sheep, etc., if you can’t afford to feed them.  But there is no horse market – you can’t give a horse away.  The equine rescues are past capacity and several have had to be rescued themselves due to bankruptcy.


Sale barns are charging up to $300 to put a horse into the sale due to the thousands of horses that have been abandoned there.  Many of these abandoned horses are being shot and put into mass graves.  95% of horses going to the sale are either being destroyed or sent to slaughter.  Most horses aren’t bid on and the average sale price is $3 – $50.  After you pay $20 to $30 for the state required Coggins test, the commission to the sale barn, and the fuel to the sale barn, you are in the red.


Most people can’t afford to have a vet euthanize their horse.  It costs $250 just to have your horse’s body removed for rendering if you don’t bury it.


The Tulsa World ran a story on Christmas Day 2011 on our charity and my phone has not stopped ringing with horse owners begging for help.  One lady, aged 74 and recently widowed, is feeding her horses loaves of bread trying to keep them alive.  A cowboy called, devastated, telling me how he has already had to shoot six horses due to starvation – they were too weak to stand.  These horses are people’s pets, their companions, members of their families.


This is why I started Hope for Horses Oklahoma.  Our goals are:   to help horse owners feed and keep their horses, and to purchase hay and have it shipped into the state.  Even if we have hay this year, it will be July or August before people can start buying decent quality local hay.


We are working with feed stores so that horse owners can pick up hay and grain.  No cash is given to individuals, except the hay owners and hay haulers.   Donors can thus rest assured that their donations are being used appropriately.  We are in the process of obtaining a 501(c)(3) non-profit status, therefore all donations are tax deductible.


We are in need of monetary donations — $10 – $12 will buy a bale of hay or a sack of feed.  One bale of hay will feed 3-4 horses their hay for the day.  50 pounds of feed will feed 6-8 horses their grain for a day.


Please help if you can.  Donations can be made at any branch of Bank of Oklahoma or mailed to Hope for Horses Oklahoma, c/o Pat Penn, HC-60, Box 91-A, Castle, OK  74833.  Please call 1-918-623-0064 for more information. Thank you for your support.  Our Oklahoma horses and their owners are deeply grateful for any help you can give.


Pat Penn

Hope for Horses Oklahoma