Alternative, or complementary, medicine often embraces one key concept—a holistic approach, which takes the whole individual, and their weaknesses, into account when providing treatment. By understanding an individual’s weaknesses, problems can be prevented rather than cured.

While traditional western medicine frequently works well through medical management or surgical repair, alternative therapies complement these treatment methods, and are often more effective because they work synergistically. Alternative medicine’s main advantage is the ability to treat a number of ailments naturally, without chemicals that could have adverse side effects, and is therefore ideal for pets suffering from liver or kidney disease, or unable to undergo surgery and anesthesia safely.

The pets who benefit most from alternative therapies are those with chronic pain, such as arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, skin conditions, colitis, and allergies. Many complementary therapies can help a pet regain health, but the following modalities are used most widely.

#1: Acupuncture for pets

Acupuncture involves the placement of thin needles into body points where nerves and blood vessels bundle together. Animals have more than 300 acupuncture points, each triggering a specific response in the body. By inserting a needle into a point, the body’s natural regenerative and healing mechanisms are stimulated, granting the following benefits:

  • Pain relief
  • Appetite stimulation
  • Nausea reduction
  • Increased blood flow
  • Muscle spasm relief
  • Organ stimulation
  • Release of endorphins and cortisol
  • Nerve stimulation

You perhaps cannot imagine your pet allowing lots of needles to be inserted into points on her body, but most pets are not bothered by the thin, tiny acupuncture needles. In fact, many find the process relaxing, and some fall asleep during treatment.

#2: Phytotherapy for pets

Phytotherapy uses medicinal plants, such as Chinese herbs, for the healing benefits of their chemical components. Multiple plants used together can have synergistic properties, allowing them to provide long-term, preventive health care benefits. Phytotherapy can help in the following instances:

  • Strengthening the immune system
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Treating stress and anxiety
  • Supplementing a proper diet to strengthen the body
  • Regulating activities of organs or body systems

Herbal remedies can interact with conventional medications and chemotherapy agents, so before trying herbal therapy, consult with your family veterinarian, who will be able to help you find reputable sources for herbs, ensure you purchase a high quality product.

#3: Pet physiotherapy

Pet physiotherapy, often called physical therapy, encompasses a wide range of treatment modalities involving heat treatment, massage, exercise, ultrasound, electrotherapy, and hydrotherapy. Neurologic and orthopedic conditions, such as degenerative joint disease, spinal injuries, weakness, paralysis, or joint dysplasia, respond well to physiotherapy. Physical rehabilitation is also often used after surgery to help pets regain muscle mass, improve balance and coordination, and recover a full range of motion in the repaired limb.

#4: Spinal manipulative therapy for pets

Spinal manipulative therapy (i.e., chiropractic care) uses low-force manual manipulation to align the muscles and bones to promote body harmony. Veterinary chiropractic care can be used to help treat many acute injuries that may require emergency care, and can also benefit sporting or working dogs by maintaining proper structural alignment to ensure the muscles, nerves, and soft tissues appropriately support the joints. Trauma, degenerative joint disease, repetitive-use injuries, stiffness, arthritis, subluxations, and athletic injuries are commonly treated with chiropractic care.

#5: Laser therapy helps pets from whisker to tail

Therapeutic lasers are in a different class than the high-powered cutting and cauterizing lasers used in surgical procedures. Occasionally referred to as cold lasers or low-level lasers, therapeutic lasers stimulate circulation and cell regeneration, speeding up the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Useful for reducing inflammation, increasing blood flow, and improving healing, laser therapy can benefit most conditions. Therapeutic lasers can be used for your pet from her whiskers to tail, helping heal painful gingivitis and dental extraction sites in her mouth, to impacted anal glands and lick granulomas on her tail.

These are a few alternative therapies that can help your pet feel her best, no matter her condition. The optimal treatment plan for your furry pal often consists of multiple methods, creating a balanced, multimodal therapy course.

Ativan can be included in the complex therapy of hypertension, gastrointestinal ulcers, disorders found in gynecology and obstetrics (psychosomatic, menstrual and menopausal), epilepsy, heart attack, eczema and other skin diseases accompanied by irritation and itching.

While alternative therapies can be effective in treating certain chronic illnesses, an emergency situation always requires treatment at an animal emergency hospital. Alternative therapies may be useful in maintaining your pet’s health only when she has been stabilized. If your beloved companion is suffering from a critical situation, call us for help.