Holistic Veterinary Services for Your Beloved Pet
The spine extends from the neck to the tailbone and directly affects the nervous system. A healthy spine is an essential part of a sound body and active lifestyle. Because the nervous system controls all aspects of the body, poor spinal health can cause a variety of conditions that negatively impact performance, health, and activity like incontinence, gastrointestinal problems, and patellar luxations. These can all be effectively addressed with chiropractic adjustments.
Frequently Asked Questions
Chiropractic care is a treatment of the whole body as opposed to treating specific symptoms of a condition. It focuses on health, not disease, specifically the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. Nerves enter and exit the spine, transferring information between the brain, spinal cord, organs, muscles, and other parts of the body.
It also controls all the functions of the body, including the organs. So, if the spine is out of alignment, it not only causes the body to perform poorly but can also lead to pain, discomfort, and disease. Chiropractic works by maintaining proper nervous system function to preserve homeostasis within the body.
The best use of chiropractic care is as a preventive approach to healthcare. Along with eating a good diet, getting exercise, and having yearly wellness exams, regular chiropractic treatments are very beneficial to maintain good health. Many animals, just like people, are compensating for a problem within their body without even realizing it. This results in the back being thrown out of alignment, causing bigger issues to arise.
Chiropractic care can be used as a single treatment modality or in conjunction with traditional veterinary medicine, depending on the patient’s preexisting disease or condition. It can likewise slow the progression of a disease or condition.
Chiropractic helps reduce pain and improve mobility by promoting the body’s innate ability to heal itself via the nervous system through the reduction of vertebral subluxation complexes (chiropractic adjustments). Through adjustments, I will evaluate the movement of the spine and extraspinal bones as well as remove any interference to the nervous system to put the body back into its homeostatic state to promote health and wellness.
In doing spinal manipulation, a subluxation (spinal structural displacement) is felt as decreased movement in the spine. With a gentle, controlled thrust, the specific subluxated or fixed vertebrae is corrected, eliminating local pain and restoring nerve flow to the body.
Chiropractic techniques performed on animals have been formulated differently from those applied to humans to adapt to the differences in animals’ anatomies and to take into account the differences between animal species.
Before any chiropractic treatment is given, a medical history is taken and physical, lameness, neurologic, and chiropractic exams are performed. Then during the session, I will apply a force called an adjustment on specific areas of vertebrae and the bones of the extremities to allow these to move normally.
Yes! Everyday activities for animals of all ages can cause damage to the spine. Chiropractic adjustments will correct posture, relieve pain, and return the body to its homeostatic state to promote health. Young animals can benefit from regular chiropractic treatments because they are very physically active. Sometimes they experience falls and injuries that we may not see as they are good at compensating for an injury.
Older animals many times have ailments related to the spine and/or extremities or conditions associated with aging, such as arthritis, joint stiffness, pain, or circulatory issues. They may also benefit from chiropractic. Although sometimes chiropractic care will not “fix” a problem, such as an ear infection, it will certainly help put the body in a more neutral position (homeostasis), which in turn helps the body return to normal function.
Yes! Only a veterinarian certified in chiropractic should adjust your beloved pet. He or she may experience some minor discomfort with an adjustment, but the discomfort should resolve very quickly. The most common side effect following chiropractic treatment, similar to exercise, is mild soreness that can last between 12 to 48 hours.
- Reluctance to perform or more careful with movement
- Abnormal posture when standing or sitting
- Discomfort or pain
- Lameness or stiffness in lateral movement of neck or back
- Evasive maneuvers or behaviors, such as biting or hollowing of the back, using forelimbs more, and excessive muscle tension
- Asymmetrical movement (short strides)
- Inability to engage rear quarters
- Formication, which is a common cause of lick granulomas
- Trauma, such as constant jumping up and down, repetitive microtrauma, a fall or hard jump, and acute or chronic neck or back pain
- Injuries from agility training, frisbee, ball jumping, roughhousing, or any regular activities
- Hypersensitivity to touch
- Altered sitting position
- Altered head carriage
- Recurrent ear and anal gland infections
- Recurrent digestive trouble
- Pain or signs of pain when performing certain movements or regular movements or when being lifted
- Limited performance
- Undefined lameness, slow gait, and unevenly worn nails
- Dysfunction or loss of mobility of adjoining vertebrae
- Reluctance to move, climb stairs, and jump up or down from raised areas like couches
- Age or conformation traits
- Slow progression of a disease or condition
- Reverse some neurological symptoms
- Maintenance to prevent a problem
Chiropractic treatments effectively put the bones back into proper alignment. But massage will help to relax the muscles and keep the adjustments in place. Massage therapy for dogs and cats can improve circulation, relieve tension and muscle strain, promote healing, and increase range of motion and flexibility.
This hands-on treatment works well for pets suffering from chronic pain, anxiety issues, muscle spasms or atrophy, and problems associated with aging. Using massage techniques and trigger point therapy, we can enhance performance and improve quality of life.
For thousands of years, acupuncture has been used to rebalance the total energy system of animals’ bodies, Qi, by placing tiny needles into the body at specific locations along meridians or channels to relieve pain, restore normal body functions, and facilitate health and healing. It effectively treats many conditions, such as arthritis, disc disease, musculoskeletal pain, nerve pain and paralysis, kidney failure, liver failure, cancer, heart disease, diarrhea, vomiting, and seizures.
Acupuncture can stimulate a pet’s appetite, or calm a patient who has anxiety issues. It can treat many conditions because Qi travels along meridians (pathways) throughout the body where it affects organs, muscles, joints, and all systems of the body, including the nervous and immune systems. In short, acupuncture relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and restores homeostasis within the body.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acupuncture usually involves the insertion of thin, sterile needles into discrete and specific points on the body called “Shu-xue” or acupoints to cause a therapeutic effect. But it may include other methods, such as laser acupuncture or moxibustion. Acupuncture techniques are used to get the energy in the body, Qi, to flow smoothly.
Yes. Acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner. Very few negative effects have been found in clinical cases. Acupuncture should be used with caution in cases involving pregnancy, open wounds, tumors, and fractures.
Rarely. Acupuncture is not painful because acupuncture points are stimulated using very fine needles, almost as thin as a strand of hair. Over 95% of patients are comfortable with acupuncture therapy. Due to the relaxation effect, some animals will fall asleep during acupuncture treatments. In general, sedation is not needed before an acupuncture treatment.
Each treatment session can take about 20 to 45 minutes.
Some results can be seen immediately, but others will require several treatments. For chronic conditions, a minimum of three to five treatments that are one to two weeks apart is needed before one can expect notable improvement. Remember, many conditions did not happen overnight and many usually have multiple symptoms before the condition was even noticed.
As in all medicine, this depends on the situation. Treatments can be done daily, weekly, monthly, or even further apart, depending on the severity and chronicity of the condition. Prevention is key, so starting acupuncture treatments once every two to six months when the animal is young is a wonderful way to help maintain a good-quality life force with no Qi blockages.
Studies have shown that acupuncture stimulation induces the following physiological effects:
- Pain relief
- Promotion of tissue healing processes
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Anti-febrile effects
- Regulation of gastrointestinal motility
- Hormone and reproductive regulation
Clinical trials indicate that acupuncture therapy can be effective in the following conditions:
- Neurological disorders: Seizures, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), laryngeal hemiplegia, facial and radial nerve paralysis
- Gastrointestinal disorders: Diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation, impactions
- Musculoskeletal problems: Muscle soreness, back pain, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease
- Chronic conditions: Skin problems, heaves, asthma, cough, uveitis, renal failure, chronic liver diseases, behavioral problems, infertility, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, geriatric weakness, anhidrosis
- Other: Quality of life, cancer, hospice care, performance enhancement, and disease prevention
Acupuncture has been practiced in both animals and humans for thousands of years in China. The earliest veterinary acupuncture book, “Bo Le Zhen Jing,” is believed to have been written by Dr. Bo Le in the Qin-mu-gong period (659 BCE to 621 BCE). Veterinary treatment protocols using acupuncture are well-documented in this book. Since that time, acupuncture has been a part of the veterinary medical system in China.
Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the life force or vital energy. There are two contrasting forms of Qi: Yin and Yang. Yin energy tends to be cool, dark, still, and moving downward, while Yang energy is warm, light, mobile, expanding, and moving upward. Physiologically, Qi flows throughout the body all the time, maintaining the balance of Yin and Yang.
When the flow of Qi is interrupted by any pathological factor (such as a viral or bacterial infection), the balance of Yin and Yang will be disrupted and, consequently, a disease may occur. Pain is seen as a blockage of Qi flow. Acupuncture stimulation resolves this blockage, freeing the flow of Qi and enabling the body to heal itself. Homeostasis is restored when Yin and Yang Qi are in balance.
A channel or meridian is where Qi flows inside the body. The most commonly used acupuncture points are located along the 12 Regular Channels and 8 Extraordinary Channels mapped out in the body.
Modern research shows that acupoints are located in areas where there is a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small arterioles, and lymphatic vessels. Most acupoints are motor points.
A great number of studies indicate that the stimulation of acupoints induces the release of beta-endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters. The U.S. National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine (pubmed.gov) has more than 25,000 research papers regarding acupuncture, with more than 400 being animal-specific.
Only licensed veterinarians are qualified to practice veterinary acupuncture.
Many acupuncturists choose to combine acupuncture with herbal medicine because the use of herbs enhances the effectiveness of acupuncture. Most Chinese herbal medicines are made up of four to 15 individual herbs. Formulas are designed to correct the imbalances predisposing or causing disease and treat the condition, not just a single symptom.
In cases where a patient can be understood from a TCM perspective, Chinese herbal medicine can be integrated seamlessly with acupuncture to perpetuate the energetic stimulus provided through the acupuncture treatment.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) focuses on the natural energy balance of the body, Qi (pronounced “chee”), and its smooth flow within the body. All of the functions of the body can be described in terms of its Qi as it is translated as natural energy, life force, and energy flow. Each aspect of the body can have too much or too little. When the energy flow gets stuck or the amount is insufficient, symptoms are observed. Diseases are seen as an imbalance significant enough to overwhelm the body and result in physical and emotional symptoms that are created when the body is trying to re-establish a normal flow of Qi.
The goal of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments is to help the body reestablish the normal amount and flow of Qi to optimize body functions. Traditional Chinese Medical treatments consist of nutrition, exercise, acupuncture, and herbs and can be beneficial in the treatment of many ailments. Once energy is strengthened and balance is restored to the body via TCM, the body’s natural healing processes can take over. TCM has been used for more than 2,000 years to balance Qi in the body.
TCVM has four main components:
- Herbal medicine
- Food therapy
- Tui-na (medical manipulation)
The diet of an animal is very important and can have positive or negative effects. Dietary changes have had positive effects on many behavioral and skin conditions. TCVM has long recognized the importance of food therapy in the treatment and prevention of illnesses. Recommendations to implement a special food or eliminate a certain food that an animal is currently being fed are not uncommon.
Tui-na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy. It is often used in conjunction with acupuncture and Chinese herbs. From a conventional medicine perspective, Tui-na can be thought of as corresponding to a combination of acupressure, conventional massage, and chiropractic techniques. It can be used to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions.
Laser Therapy uses specific wavelengths of light to treat conditions that are painful and debilitating for cats or dogs. The light stimulates intercellular activity within damaged cells to reduce pain and speed recovery of the cell. As the cells recover, healing occurs. Laser therapy is painless and can treat acute and chronic ailments, with no known negative side effects.
Class IV Laser Therapy is designed to produce an efficient and simultaneous effect on pain and inflammation within a short period. Benefits include:
- Chronic pain relief, including arthritis
- Acute pain relief, including trauma or injuries
- Damaged tissue healing
- Improved local blood circulation
- Faster post-surgical recovery
- Restoring mobility
Frequently Asked Questions
Laser therapy is a surgery-free, drug-free, noninvasive treatment to reduce pain and inflammation as well as promote healing. It can be used alone or in conjunction with another therapeutic modality, such as acupuncture or chiropractic. It has been scientifically proven to be successful in treating post-surgical pain and many acute and chronic conditions.
Class IV deep tissue laser therapy uses a beam of laser light to deeply penetrate tissue without damaging it. Laser energy induces a biological response in the cells called “photobiomodulation,” which leads to decreased pain, reduced inflammation, and increased healing speed. The laser light is delivered through a noninvasive handpiece to treat the affected area. The animal may feel a gentle soothing warmth as the amount of laser light is substantial enough to help heal.
Treatment protocols are unique to each patient and condition. Therefore, treatments will vary in time, and complexity.
- Wound healing
- Acute pain
- Inflammation, such as sinusitis/rhinitis/gingivitis/stomatitis
- Sprains/strains/fractures, such as tendon/ligament tears
- Hot spots and other dermatological disorders
- Acute and chronic otitis
- Anal glands
- Post-surgical healing and pain
- Chronic pain
- Geriatric care
- Degenerative joint disease
- Degenerative disc disease
- Hip dysplasia
- Lick granulomas
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Periodontal disease
- Feline acne
- And more
I specialize in using holistic veterinary treatments to ensure that your beloved animal gets the best care. These include:
Herbs can be used in conjunction with acupuncture to help with the body’s healing process. This is another holistic modality that can be used on a daily basis to help bring your pet back to good health.
Food therapy plays a large part in holistic veterinary medicine to treat conditions, as well as using different food to treat animals based on their age, personality, environment, and condition.
Sometimes, it is more humane to let go of your beloved pet instead of letting them continue their suffering. I promise to keep your pet comfortable in their last moments.
BEMER, which stands for Bio-Electro-Magnetic-Energy-Regulation, is used to increase your pet’s blood flow and oxygenation on a capillary level. It uses a low-level, pulsed electromagnetic field to stimulate molecular activity in animal cells that can help them heal. This safe treatment has no pain or side effects.
Get in Touch
Animal Wellness Veterinary Services uses safe and effective holistic treatments that will help your beloved pet recover from their ailments. Reach out to me to learn more about what I do.