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Acupuncture is an extremely safe and effective means of treating or relieving pain associated with many musculoskeletal problems, including osteoarthritis, intervertebral disc disease, or muscle spasms. Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. The needles are very fine, and most pets experience little sensation when needles are gently inserted into the skin. Many will become very relaxed and even fall asleep during their acupuncture treatment.
When needles are inserted into acupuncture points, it causes a natural release of endorphins and cortisol into the bloodstream, ultimately affecting the blood flow to a certain area of the body, or the way the brain perceives pain. Acupuncture has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat not only musculoskeletal issues, but other metabolic problems such inflammatory bowel disease, renal failure, and respiratory or nervous system disorders.
Physical rehabilitation, adapts human physical therapy techniques to animals in order to increase function and mobility of joints and muscles. Veterinary rehab therapies can reduce pain and enhance recovery from injury, surgery, degenerative diseases, age-related diseases, and obesity. Techniques used include manual therapies such as joint mobilizations, therapeutic stretches, and massage, as well as modalities such as laser, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation. Physio balls and discs, therapy bands, and cavaletti poles are often used in targeted exercise programs to increase strength, balance, and coordination.
All dogs from senior citizens to canine athletes can benefit from a rehab program.
Cold Laser Therapy or Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is a veterinary treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to interact with tissue to help accelerate the healing process. It can be used on patients who suffer from a variety of acute and chronic conditions in order to help eliminate pain, swelling, reduce spasms and increase functionality. During this painless veterinary treatment, the light energy from the laser passes through the skin and reaches the underlying muscles, tendons and joints. When tissues absorb this light energy, it initiates a series of events in the cell that enhances intracellular metabolism. The result is increased circulation, and a reduction in pain, inflammation, and healing time. This process can be compared to photosynthesis in plants - sunlight is absorbed by plants, which is then converted to usable energy so that the plant can grow.
Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation
Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM) is a technique similar to chiropractic, but adjustments are performed using a spinal activator tool. This handheld device applies a very light but quick force to put motion through individual vertebrae. This motion reduces neuronal subluxations, thus restoring nerve communication and inducing healing.
Myofascial release therapy focuses on releasing muscular shortness, tightness and spasms that occur with strains or injury. The goal of this veterinary treatment is to stretch and loosen the fascia so that it and other contiguous structures can move more freely, and the patient's motion is restored. Using a VetroStim instrument to perform myofascial release is quicker and more comfortable than other methods, and the dogs genuinely seem to enjoy it. I often have owners ask me if I can treat them next!
Holistic veterinary medicine by definition takes an integrative, whole body approach to healthcare. The goal is to address the root of the problem, not simply identifying and treating a specific ailment. Holistic veterinarians determine the best combination of both conventional and alternative (or complementary) therapies for a given individual. Techniques used are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being. Emphasis is placed on wellness, prevention, and nutrition.