What is Osteopathic Articular Balancing?

OAB is a system of gentle manipulative techniques based on assessing and treating muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments by removing tensions and restrictions in the animal's musculoskeletal system and balancing body structures. OAB helps to improve function by relieving pain, maximizing movement and increasing performance.

Developed by Stuart McGregor, DO, considered by many to be the father of modern animal osteopathy, the OAB method reflects an osteopathic approach to the treatment of small animals, dogs and equines alike. Stuart graduated from the European School of Osteopathy, UK in 1984, where he wrote his dissertation on 'The Principles of Osteopathy Applied to the Horse’.  This is the first known written work about osteopathy for horses.

Prof. Stuart McGregor explains the physiological principles of Osteopathic Articular Balancing method used by animal osteopaths in the treatment of canines and equines alike.

OAB physiology. An animal's health manifests in their ability to move, and relies on a balanced relationship between the different systems of the body such as the locomotion system, the nervous system,  organs, fascia and other supporting tissues. 

Structural biomechanics are crucial for a correctly functioning central nervous system. Articulations of the skeletal system are the critical points of interconnectivity between all anatomic structures: healthy joints receive and emit messages with other parts of the body, and play a pivotal role in the overall health of the animal. 

  • Assessment. OAB examines the functional anatomy of each joint, along with the neurovascular structures, muscles, ligaments, capsule attachments and folds. The therapist incorporates soft tissue mobilization of the associated bones while looking at direct and indirect relationships between the bones of the body.
  • An OAB therapist uses gait assessment as well as palpation to identify a potential source of imbalance or pain, as well as how and why it is impacting a joint where the animal’s problem is manifested.

Treatment. OAB treatment helps to maintain nerve supply from the vertebral joints, improving blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, reducing stiffness in the joints, and helping maintain flexibility.

Through the application of gentle and specific OAB techniques, an osteopath intervenes and disrupts the dysfunctional pattern, releasing the affected joint and ultimately allowing the animal to achieve a state of optimal health.

Benefits of the OAB treatment. Delivered by a skilled osteopathic practitioner, OAB has proven effective in the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal pathologies such as:

joint pain

limited mobility

joint inflammation




stifle injuries

post-operative recovery

What our students say...

Niven E.
Dog Owner
Wales  UK

Stuart has treated my dogs for the past 24 yrs, two of which had various long term problems with mobility and digestion. He used a variety of gentle methods, and all 3 of the dogs absolutely loved his treatments. As they aged, the first two needed regular attention and he helped to keep them mobile for much longer than they would have been without his treatment. Now he's helping my 6 yr old with a leg problem which recurs from time to time. She can't wait to see him and almost bounces out afterwards.