We are so fortunate to live in an age of advanced medicine and surgery in both human and veterinary medicine. We are all too young to remember the days before penicillin was discovered, or before life saving surgeries had been invented. We often take for granted the availability of things like antibiotics for an infection, or pain control to relieve our suffering. But what do we do when these things don’t work, are not a viable option or maybe just don’t work well enough? Some of us try to avoid medications, and don’t want our pets to take them either. We all know that some medications can come with side effects. This is where complementary therapy can make the difference- enhancing the benefits of western medicine
Cold laser therapy has had enormous advances in recent years. We now use this pain-free modality to treat a multitude of issues, from acute wound healing to chronic arthritis pain. Laser therapy works to increase cell metabolism, thereby accelerating healing, decreasing inflammation, and decreasing pain. We are seeing amazing results. Recently a cat was hit by a car and sustained a spinal cord injury, leaving him paralyzed in his left hind limb. After two weeks of laser therapy, range of motion physical therapy, and acupuncture he is walking again. Traditionally this kind of recovery can takes months, if achieved at all. Post-operative pain can also be significantly minimized with a combination of pain control medication and laser therapy in a synergistic, multi-modal approach. Each laser session lasts between two to ten minutes, depending on the area treated, and the condition being treated.
Acupuncture can be defined as the insertion of tiny needles into specific points on the body to help the body heal itself. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat a multitude of ailments. Acupuncture has gained enough popularity in pet populations to be available in a few veterinary schools in the United States for the certification necessary to practice this modality. Acupuncture can also be used as preventative medicine. Clinical research has shown positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated. In our practice acupuncture is often used for chronic arthritic pain conditions, immune mediated conditions, and spinal cord injuries and other nerve damage.
Currently there are a multitude of complementary therapies available to our pets, many of which will aid in the health and well being of pets at different life stages. There are several other noninvasive options from medical massage, chiropractics, swim therapy and water treadmills. Your family veterinarian can determine if and of these treatments are right for your pet. Choose a practice that offers these therapies in addition to a high standard of care in traditional western medicine for the best possible outcome for your beloved pets.