Wounded wallaby gets healing touch from chiropractor

All About Animals

POSTED: Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 9:00pm

UPDATED: Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 9:04pm

When we think of chiropractors, we usually think of human patients, but one Georgia chiropractor is trying to help save the life of a more exotic creature from down under.

The patient's name is Oliver.

Five years old and 68 pounds, he's a Marcropus Agilis...an Agile Wallaby.

This smaller cousin to the kangaroo belongs to Roger Nelson who raises various marsupials at his Kangaroo Conservation Center in Dawson County, Georgia.

He brought Oliver to the Stover Sports Injury and Chiropractic Wellness center in Cumming on Friday.

Dr. Craig Stover was surprised when he got the first phone call.

"My buddy, that's the vet, he called me and he said, 'I got a crazy one for you' and I said, 'What's that?' and he said, 'a kangaroo', and I started laughing and said, 'bring him on over'," Stover said.

The chiropractor has worked on some cats and dogs, but never anything like this.

Oliver's owner believes this wallaby that can run more than 50 mph injured his neck after getting spooked and running into a fence.

"Because of that fast movement, if an immovable object gets in their way and they hit it, you know, you can have some serious injuries," Nelson said.

This was Oliver's third visit to Dr. Stover's clinic since injuring himself about a week-and-a-half ago.

This time new x-rays confirmed some bad news.

They showed some fractured vertebrae at the top of Oliver's spine.

"He's wounded bad; he's pretty banged up," said Dr. Stover.

He was surprised that Oliver was a calmer patient that some of his human clients.

"He knows what's going on, yeah, absolutely," said Stover.

"The first time I touched him his ears perked up and when he got my scent his heart beat slowed; he's definitely aware that I'm here to help him," he added.

After several minutes of spinal adjustments, Dr. Stover put a collar brace on Oliver.

He expects it will take several weeks for the fractured vertebrae to heal.

In addition to keeping his neck still, Oliver now has to be kept upright so he can eat and digest food.

Stover suggested Nelson rig some kind of sling for the wallaby.

But he said there's no guarantee it will work.

"I just don't know if he'll be able to pull through or not," Stover said, "It's just one of those things where we're not sure what's going to happen."

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