Integrative Veterinary Medicine

The philosophy of integrative medicine is to look at all aspects of the entire animal and be open to using a variety of treatments. As an integrative veterinarian Dr Donna uses both conventional and alternative therapies in her patients. Recognizing that modern veterinary techniques are necessary in caring for an animal but also believing that alternative medicine modalities such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, and chiropractic care have a role as well.

Acupuncture

The practice of acupuncture has been used for centuries as a way to naturally alleviate pain and treat a variety of medical conditions in humans. Today, we are able to use this same ancient treatment modality to manage the ongoing health of our animal companions. Veterinary Acupuncture & Wellness Centre is proud to offer acupuncture as a way to provide more holistic and well-rounded care to your cherished pets. Veterinary acupuncture is a drug-free, virtually painless way to help your pet live a healthier, more comfortable life.

What is Acupuncture?

Combining Modern Medicine With Ancient Healing Methods

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Acupuncture involves the gentle insertion of tiny needles into various areas of the body known as “acupoints”, which are known to be directly related to other areas within the body, such as muscle groups, nerves or internal organs. When the needles are strategically inserted into these acupoints, it causes a cellular response in the area being targeted and triggers the body’s natural healing and pain management mechanisms. Our animal companions are believed to possess upwards of 170 acupoints, making this practice highly effective with excellent results.

How Many Treatments Will My Pet Need?

While the results from acupuncture can often be seen almost immediately, the number and frequency of treatments your pet will require for optimum results will depend on what is being treated and a variety of other factors that are specific to your pet. Dr Donna is a highly skilled, experienced doctor who will advise you on your companion’s particular treatment regimen once he or she has been thoroughly assessed and evaluated.

 

What Can Acupuncture Be Used to Treat?

Many pet owners are surprised to learn just how many different conditions and symptoms that veterinary acupuncture can be used to treat. These things include but are not limited to:

Back Pain
Muscle Soreness
Musculoskeletal Disorders
Arthritis and Other Joint Diseases
General Pain Management
Gastrointestinal Disorders
Neurological Issues
Thyroid Disorders
Dermatological (Skin) Conditions
Asthma
Behavioural Problems
Disease Prevention

If your pet suffers from any of these conditions, or just generally seems to be experiencing pain or discomfort, acupuncture may be beneficial in alleviating that pain and improving quality of life.

 

Will acupuncture help with my pet’s issues?

Acupuncture isn’t magic. It can’t reverse the aging process or cure all diseases. But what it can do is reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and improve the function of the immune system and other organs. So it can help reduce symptoms and improve performance, function, mobility, and Quality of Life. Of course there are times where acupuncture isn’t going to be the best option for a patient.

However, there are many benefits to acupuncture such as: Endorphin release: this is a natural hormone produced in the brain. As a result, it alleviates pain and creates a general sense of well-being in the individual. Cortisol release: this is a natural anti-inflammatory hormone. Cortisol is also known as a stress hormone; it is naturally released by the body in response to stress. Even more, this enables the body to better cope with stress. Block pain signals in the body: pain signals are blocked at many levels of the nervous system. This can occur at the local site of the pain. It usually occurs at the level of the spinal cord and at the level of the brain. Decrease inflammation: the nerve stimulation induced by acupuncture leads to biochemical signalling pathways. It will then act to regulate and decrease inflammation in the body. Stimulate immune system: certain acupuncture points have shown to boost the immune system. This is possible by increasing the number of white blood cells circulating in the bloodstream. Increase blood flow to local areas: acupuncture points draw blood to problem areas. As a result, promoting healing in those areas.

Holistic Veterinary Medicine

Our approach to your pet’s healthcare will be integrative–offering treatment options from Western & Eastern medicine based on your preferences and your pet’s needs. We will work with you to implement a holistic care plan.

Holistic or Integrative Veterinary Care

Holistic care refers to a way of thinking. The animal is viewed in its entirety, rather than focusing only on a set of problems or signs and symptoms. The goal of holistic care is disease prevention. As a holistic veterinarian Dr Donna can treat a pet with either conventional medical therapies or complementary therapies – or both. Dr Donna’s approach is integrating the best of ancient wisdom and healing traditions with the latest in progressive technology and research to create a truly holistic individualized plan to support your pet’s health and well-being.

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Chinese Herbal Medicine

Chinese Herbs can be useful when your pet needs some relief from particular disease symptoms such as itching, digestive upset, or arthritic pain, and when managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, epilepsy and cancer. Many of the Chinese herbal formulas have been used for thousands of years with remarkable results. Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine typically uses herbal formulas with 2-20 different herbs which all work synergistically in a balanced and holistic manner to treat the underlying disease. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete system of medicine developed in China. Its roots are in writings and practices which were developed over millennia. TCM may use acupuncture, herbs and other natural substances, acupressure, food therapy, meditation and exercise to maintain health and treat disease.

What are the side effects?

Side effects of TCM are relatively uncommon, the most common and managed possibly being a slight adjustment by the gastrointestinal tract (GI) of your pet due to introduction of herbs too rapidly. This often results in soft stools, and can be abated by discontinuing the herbal formula for a day or two, and reintroducing it gradually and at lower levels so the GI tract can slowly adapt. 

Can my pet take Chinese herbal formulas while already taking western drugs?

Yes, it is not uncommon to prescribe Chinese Herbs to pets on medical therapy or where patients do require long-term medication to effectively manage their condition, Chinese herbs can be integrated into their therapy to relieve side effects of drugs or symptoms of the disease, leading to better quality of life. 

Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine is prescribed to help the body restore it’s natural balance so that it can heal, whereas pharmaceutical therapy is most often prescribed to treat a symptom, but is not actually getting to the root cause of disease.

Chiropractic Therapy

Animal chiropractic is not limited to an injured or sick pet.

Animal chiropractic does not involve medications, surgery or injections, and is not intended to assume the primary health care responsibility of animals or replace veterinary medicine. Animal chiropractic is integrated with concurrent veterinary primary care. Animal chiropractic is beneficial for older animals, injured animals, athletes, show animals, and family pets. Whether to enhance performance, address injury or illness, or simply for preventative care, animal chiropractic can make a positive difference in your animal’s life.

Veterinary Chiropractic

Chiropractic therapy for animals may be just as helpful as it is for humans.

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With chiropractic treatment a veterinarian or chiropractor with special training and certification in animal chiropractic checks every joint in the body to make sure it’s moving correctly. If it’s not moving correctly an adjustment is done which allows the joint to then move normally again, restoring normal blood flow and nerve function and reducing inflammation and pain. These adjustments are very quick and precise and typically don’t cause any discomfort.

Animals can experience a wide variety of spinal alignment issues whether they’re born with a disease, injure themselves, or acquire inevitable aches and pains as they age. Pet owners can take proper action to ensure their pets get well regardless of how or when the health issue presents itself. Avoiding the problem or trying to let it heal on its own can sometimes make matters worse, and what began as a minor issue can quickly turn into a severe condition. Sometimes conditions can start to take a turn for the worse, and then it can be difficult and expensive to treat. Chiropractic therapy for dogs provides benefits that may improve certain conditions and recovery time.

Chiropractic treatments include spine and joint adjustments, stretching, myofascial release, exercises programs and rehabilitation advice.

What ages of animals benefit from chiropractic care?

Animals of all ages benefit from regular chiropractic care. When older dogs get adjusted, oftentimes their owners report that their dog got its “inner puppy” back. Grouchy cats often become less moody and more playful. Watching animals regain their function and vitality never gets old. It’s a great way to increase their quality of life and keep them healthy. Our pets are worth it!

Healthy and athletic animals need check-ups of their spine to ensure proper structural alignment and function of muscles, nerves and joints. Broader benefits include superior immune function, healthier metabolism and a vibrant nervous system. 

What to expect after treatment?

In general, your pet will have greater mobility, less pain, be more alert and better able to function after their adjustment. In some cases, your pet may be sore the next day, especially if the condition is chronic and it’s their first adjustment.

Nutritional Advice

Your Pet’s Health Depends on Good Nutrition

One of the most important things you can do to to protect your pet from disease is feed a healthy, species-appropriate diet. The views on what foods and brands to feed your pets are many and varied depending on individual preferences as well as what brands the stores or vet clinics prefer to promote. Feeding a variety of different foods may also minimise the risk of developing intolerances to specific foods.

Animal Nutritional Counseling

We can offer guidance and create the best diet plan for your companion.

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When it comes right down to it, what your pet eats every day has a huge impact on their overall health. With varying qualities of pet food out there, the options can get a little overwhelming. Dr Donna can offer great advice on the best types of food, feeding schedules and supplements to keep your pet healthy for years to come. 

How diet & nutrition can help your pet

We will help you make the right dietary changes for your pet so that they can stay on track living their happy and healthy lives. A healthy diet and good nutrition can reduce or even eliminate problems such as pet allergies, itching and scratching, dull coat, arthritis, joint and hip problems and intestinal disorders.

Skin and coat supplements are a great way to keep your pet looking and feeling their best. Arthritis and joint supplements can be helpful for many pets as they age.

 

When is a diet change needed?

Pets should be fed a balanced wellness diet based on a number of factors, including their life stage, their breed or size, activity level, and any health issues they have. Diet changes are recommended when they enter a new life stage. For example, transitioning is recommended from puppy or kitten to adult, or from adult to senior, which is usually around age seven. Diet changes may also be recommended if your pet develops any issues that could be treated with a customised diet, such as obesity or a food allergy.

Keep your pet healthy for years to come

Some pets need specially made diets for specific health concerns. Whether your pet needs a low-fat diet for pancreatitis, a food properly formulated for their life stage, or simply the best quality food for your budget, we can help.

Allergies

Do you ever notice your pet’s skin becoming uncharacteristically red or itchy? This could be an allergic reaction. Pets can suffer from allergies to elements in the environment around them, immune dysregulation issues as well as certain ingredients in their foods, just like people can.

Pet allergies can be caused by a multitude of allergens that can be found either inside or outside the home. Outside the home, pets can suffer from seasonal allergies that can be triggered by the changing seasons. Various pollen and spores released into the air can cause pets to suffer severe allergies. Within the home, pets can become allergic to several household allergens. Sometimes a simple laundry detergent or soap is enough to trigger an allergic reaction, while other pets can be allergic to dust or smoke found within the home. Some pets suffer from food allergies that can be found in either the pet’s food or treats. Allergies can be the result of immune dysregulation issues such as thyroid disease or hormonal imbalances, even stress.

Allergies can make life uncomfortable for your pet. Protect them from irritation with proper testing and treatment to relieve any symptoms.