The McTimoney College of Chiropractic just announced that it has established a new four-year program in veterinary chiropractic for college students:

It means that those without a prior degree can undertake the training and education necessary to enter this coveted career. To date, animal chiropractors were required to have a prior qualification in human chiropractic or a degree in the relevant sciences.

Applications for the new program are being accepted from September 2023. Students will attend Abingdon-based University, Oxford, and a variety of practical locations, enabling the development of academic knowledge and the application of practical skills together . Modules include anatomy and physiology, veterinary science, practice and professionalism, and clinical skills, with a research dissertation running over the four-year course.

University director Christina Cunliffe said the new program was an exciting step in the development of chiropractic care for animals.

“Building on our decades of experience graduating confident, competent, and highly-skilled animal chiropractors, now is the time to open up this exciting career opportunity to college students.”

For the past 50 years, McTimoney College of Chiropractic has been training and educating human chiropractors to the highest regulatory standards. Over the past 20 years, animal chiropractic has developed to meet the requirements for this gentle, holistic treatment in the veterinary world.

Prospective students are invited to a Open House at McTimoney College of Chiropractic in Abingdon on February 16.

McTimoney Chiropractic for Animals identifies areas of stiffness, asymmetry, and poor range of motion within the skeletal system, particularly the spine and pelvis. This affects the muscles that surround these structures, as well as the nerve impulses that pass from the central nervous system to the periphery of the body. The adjustments are very light and fast, stimulating an instant response in the affected soft tissues and joints, promoting relaxation of muscle spasms, improving nerve function, and helping the skeletal structure regain better symmetry and movement again.

In many cases, animals suffer from underlying conditions such as arthritic changes or degenerative diseases that force them to compensate in their posture and movement in an attempt to remain comfortable. However, these offsets become increasingly entrenched and can be painful or uncomfortable, requiring chiropractic care to provide some relief. In other cases, the animals are working hard or competing and as such accumulate tension and asymmetries due to the demands of their work. Once again, chiropractic care helps relieve pain and promote performance, whether it’s faster speeds over hurdles for racehorses and events, better jumping style in showjumpers, or more extravagant movements for dressage stars.

Two recent graduates of the school’s Master of Animal Handling (Chiropractic) program did not hesitate to recommend the university. Natalie McQuiggan said that she had wanted to do McTimoney Chiropractic from a very young age, “but the process of doing it always seemed really daunting.

“But from the start, the staff and teachers were lovely and welcoming, and queries were answered promptly. I have really enjoyed my two years in the Master of Animal Handling (Chiropractic) program and would recommend anyone thinking of doing it to just do it.”

Pollyanna Fitzgerald said the university offered a supportive and welcoming learning environment, allowing her to grow and develop as a student and future professional. “There is always someone to talk to and offer encouragement when needed. As a student I have learned a lot and have been encouraged to believe in myself and it has been a wonderful place to learn.”

A free webinar, McTimoney’s Animal Chiropractic as a Careeron January 24 at 7:30 p.m. (GMT), is open to those who wish to learn more about the McTimoney technique and its application, and the training paths available to those interested in becoming a McTimoney Animal Chiropractor.


I think this announcement is puzzling on several levels:

  1. I was unable to find an ‘Abingdon-based University, Oxford’; could it be this institution that is a college and not a university?
  2. Christina Cunliffe seems to be (or has been?) affiliated with the McTimoney College of Chiropractic which is a bit odd, in my opinion.
  3. The college does not have ‘decades of experience’; it was founded only in 2001.
  4. Most importantly, I am unable to find a jot of good evidence that veterinary chiropractic is effective for any condition (see also here, here, and here). In case anyone is aware of any, please let me know. I’d be delighted to revise my judgment.

If I am right, the new course could be a fine example of quackademia where students are ripped off and taught to later rip off the owners of animals after the academically trained quacks have mistreated them.

11 Responses to Quackademia galore: An Oxford ‘university’ starts a course in ‘veterinary chiropractic’

  • It seems to be this one:

    McTimoney College of Chiropractic is a chiropractic college, is part of the College of Health and validated by Ulster University in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England.

    Alongside the University of South Wales and Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, the college is one of only three United Kingdom institutions to offer degrees recognized by the General Chiropractic Council, and the only one to specialize in programmes for those wishing to study while working.

    Principal: Professor Christina Cunliffe

  • It seems that as far as most of the general populous is concerned the teaching of a subject at a university is the ultimate validation. I have commented previously that there is a nurse undertaking a qualification in animal chiroquackery where I work, through a University and my colleagues, vets and nurses alike, deem me, with my objections the ill informed one.

  • Prof. Ernst wrote: “The college does not have ‘decades of experience’; it was founded only in 2001.”

    It looks like it might be including its previous status as a school in the above: ‘The College began as the Oxfordshire School of Chiropractic, founded by John McTimoney in 1972’.

    Interestingly, if you read further on in that reference, under the McTimoney logo description, it declares that:

    “By correctly training the hands as an instrument of our innate intelligence, healing can be encouraged to take place by the detection and correction of bony subluxations (slight displacements).”

    As a few readers will know, ‘Innate Intelligence’ evolved as a theological concept and to this day chiropractic subluxations have never been proven to exist.

    Before any chiropractors jump in with an attempt to assure that the old chiropractic ways are a thing of the past, you only have to look at this McTimoney CPD ‘Paediatric’ seminar from 2020 which taught “precise subluxation assessment on children from birth to adolescence” and “An exacting, evidence based, and clinically reproducible system of subluxation assessment”
    Ref. (scroll down the link)

    [As an aside, it should be noted that despite the McTimoney College of Chiropractic teaching ‘paediatric chiropractic’, it has failed to declare any support for the World Health Organization’s ‘Vision and Mission in Immunization and Vaccines – 2015-2030’, despite a handful of other chiropractic educational establishments agreeing with it:
    Ref. (see item 8) It makes you wonder if ‘animal chiropractors’ would attempt to dissuade owners/keepers from vaccinating their pets/animals.]

    In essence, given the above pseudoscientific teachings that are apparently so prolific within the McTimoney College, surely what is being offered with the new animal chiropractic course is a blatantly bogus qualification that could also be seen as tantamount to animal abuse?

    Furthermore, such belief-based notions do not sit well with the affirmation that McTimoney graduates must make upon graduating:

    “I promise that…My personal beliefs will not prejudice my care of patients. Recognising the limits of my competence, I will keep my professional knowledge and skills up to date. I will act quickly to protect patients from risk.”

  • Oh dear! Veterinary chiropractic is even more ridiculous than human chiropractic. A sad day for my profession.

  • Oh ye cynics!
    John McTimoney’s much venerated name can be found on the Wall of Honour at no less an esteemed institution than the Royal Society of Medicine of London.

    The Wall of Honour in the atrium at 1 Wimpole Street, “includes the names of 900 physicians, surgeons, nurses, and healthcare professions who have inspired or made a difference in their chosen field of medicine.”
    Which includes McTimoney.

    This honour would have cost McTimoney’s acolytes £2,500.00 (£2,000.00 if a nominator was a member of the RSM).
    The RSM makes no inquiry or assessment as to the worthiness or otherwise of the person being honoured.

    The Wall of Honour is a fund-raising exercise. ‘Honour’ is not defined and although legitimate, this initiative could be thought of as a scam of the gullible or narcissistic seeking undeserved recognition. A true vanity project – but could mislead patients as to the professional standing of McTimoney.
    Surely that was not the intention?

  • I’ll chip in £50.00 For “Prof. Edzard Ernst”.
    Only £1950.00 to go!

  • Perhaps some of this animal quackery might be of use to ducks?

  • Oh, I apologize for having overlooked this blog when it was published 11 months ago. Anyway, you may be interested in reading the strange things that my wife (DVM) and I (MD) found when we scrutinized the courses being offered in veterinary chiropractic. None of the veterinary journals dared (?) publish our report, but Science-Based Medicine did (2012):

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