The Structural and Functional Assessment of the Canine Spine

This course provides an in-depth, guided evaluation of the functional anatomy, biomechanics and manual assessment of the canine spine using soft tissue and chiropractic evaluation techniques. Upon successful completion of this course, you will have the working knowledge needed to fully assess the structural and functional aspects of the canine axial skeleton. In addition, the course material will help to improve your physical examination skills, clinical decision making processes, and increase your awareness of the role of the axial skeleton in activities of daily living and compensatory mechanisms related to chronic pain and lameness issues in dogs.

aaronmassecar · November 6, 2020

Instructor: Dr. Kevin Haussler

Dr. Haussler obtained a B.S. in agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1984. He graduated in 1988 from The Ohio State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, followed by a small animal internship at the Sacramento Animal Medical Group in 1989. Dr. Haussler was a relief veterinarian for multiple small animal practices, emergency clinics, and humane societies from 1989 to 1994, when he became interested in pursuing further specialized training in the diagnosis and management of pain and musculoskeletal disorders in animals. 

He enrolled in Palmer College of Chiropractic-West, a human chiropractic program, to learn how to apply human chiropractic techniques and principles to the treatment of animals with musculoskeletal-related disorders. Dr. Haussler started veterinary chiropractic practice with equine and small animal patients in 1992.  He graduated with a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic-West in 1993.

Dr. Haussler went on to obtain a PhD in Comparative Pathology from the University of California-Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997. The focus of his PhD research was the evaluation of the anatomy, pathology, and biomechanics of the lower back and pelvis of Thoroughbred racehorses. 

He then went on to complete postdoctoral training investigating in vivo equine spinal kinematics in 1999 at the Department of Anatomy, College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University and was invited to be a Lecturer at Cornell University until 2005, where he was responsible for teaching equine anatomy, biomechanical research, and initiation of a clinical Integrative Medicine Service at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals in both the large and small animal clinics that provided chiropractic, acupuncture, and physical therapy services. Dr. Haussler’s research studies have included the evaluation of in vivo equine spinal kinematics, paraspinal muscle morphometry and histochemistry, and the initiation of equine chiropractic research assessing pain and spinal flexibility. 

In 2010, Dr. Haussler was invited to be a founding member of the new speciality college, The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, where he has served in several Board of Directors’ positions and as a committee chair.  Currently, Dr. Haussler is an Associate Professor at the Orthopaedic Research Center in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University where he has continued research interests in objective assessment of musculoskeletal pain and the diagnosis and treatment of spinal dysfunction.


Background and Purpose of the Course
Course Content
Course Instructor

Pre-assessment Survey
Case Presentations

Topographical Anatomy
Bones of the Head
Temporomandibular Joint Anatomy
Temporomandibular Joint Motion
Muscles of the Head – Overview
Temporalis Muscle
Masseter Muscle
Digastricus Muscle
Innervation of the Muscles of Mastication

Soft Tissue Palpation
Palpable Bony and Articular Landmarks
Mobilization Techniques

Lateral Mobilization of the Mandible
Medial Mobilization of the Temporomandibular Joint
Summary of Mobilization Techniques

Neuro-musculo-skeletal Integration

Learning Outcomes:

  • Ask focused and pertinent questions to help to develop a complete medical history related to the head
  • Describe pain behaviors, postural preferences, and movement patterns associated with dysfunction or injury to tissues and structures of the head
  • Describe the soft tissue and osseous features of the skull and temporomandibular joint
  • Perform a detailed evaluation of the head using manual therapy evaluation techniques
  • Assess the active and passive mobility of the mandible and temporomandibular joint
  • Discuss the structural and functional aspects of the temporomandibular joint
  • Identify specific dysfunction and associated rehabilitation issues related to the clinical signs
  • Determine the clinical relevance of the identified issues in order to develop appropriate treatment plans or the need for referral

Course Content

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About Instructor

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Course Includes

  • 1 Lesson
  • 1 Topic