I often have many people who are reluctant to take medication for different things, but there is still something we have to do. Holistic medicine has a really good place in this “intermediate phase”, and we can also supplement it if our current medications are simply not quite sufficient. I’m going to talk about a few holistic options as I know that there are even more options available to a fully trained holistic veterinarian.
The main alternative therapies that general practitioners use are acupuncture (veterinarians must be trained), therapeutic lasers, nutritional supplements, chiropractic, and herbal medicines. Each of these drugs has an important place in veterinary medicine and in many cases can help reduce the amount of other “traditional” drugs.
Acupuncture is a practice from ancient Chinese medicine. Acupuncture evaluates the chi throughout the body and the channels through which it flows. An initial acupuncture exam includes a full medical history, a thorough physical exam, and an examination of any defective acupuncture points.
Sometimes the acupuncture exam reveals bad points that don’t necessarily match what the owners report, but once done it makes a world of difference! Acupuncture is a complex medical art form that requires intensive study to integrate physiological conditions with acupuncture points and meridians.
Acupuncture points are often where the lymphatic and nervous system points are concentrated.
Many of the actual theories do not translate into simple article conversations, especially if you are not very familiar with them. What I do know is that I am seeing some pretty amazing results from patients that our other vet is doing. We see many dogs with osteoarthritis that respond wonderfully. In this way, we can delay the start of medication, reduce the amount required or add it when the effectiveness of the medication has reached the limit. It also treats anxiety, organ diseases, and neurological problems. It is a wonderful supplement for dogs with disc problems.
We often know whether acupuncture is working in the first few sessions and the results can be quite amazing. By stimulating this area, we can release endorphins that make pets feel good. I always encourage people to try because there are no downsides. Even our fearful dogs often just relax and take naps for their session.
Diet supplements are a very simple additive that can make a huge difference. Dogs and cats respond very well to dietary supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin. I encourage people to buy pet tags because they have very strict quality control. Only a very small amount needs to be added to over-the-counter products, although that amount may not be therapeutic. Veterinary brands carry out frequent quality controls so we know the correct amount is being used.
Many therapeutic foods can also have great benefits. These are supplemented for things like joint disease, liver disease, and bladder health. This is a nice intermediate step before we start drugs that can bridge the gap and keep diseases at bay for longer.
Chiropractic care for pets is similar to that for humans. This should be done by a certified veterinarian. These veterinary chiropractors can help adjust and realign pets so their bones and muscles can work better together. This is wonderful for dogs who have mild problems or are very active and need just a little bit of alignment.
With holistic care we can often improve the quality of life, delay the start of medication and reduce the need for medication.