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By Martine Lavallée BAA, TSA

The growing popularity of alternative medicines among pet owners is not in doubt. But what do we mean by alternative or complementary medicine? These include acupuncture, osteopathy, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, chiropractic as well as physiotherapy and they are all resources that can greatly improve animal health. Because they are less invasive, more and more people are using these alternative medicines to heal their animals. They can also accompany treatments in traditional medicines so in a complementary way. Alternative medicines are not painful for the animals and they let themselves go and regain their dynamism at the end of a treatment session! Note that in Quebec, only members of the Quebec Order of Veterinary Surgeons (OMVQ) can treat animals using medicines. Let’s give a brief portrait of each of its disciplines.

 

Acupuncture [1]
Acupuncture is a very impressive discipline especially when it is used on animals! These are needles planted at strategic points where the energy circuits of the body connect and travel. It is a very effective method against several types of pain. If your dog or cat is suffering from inflammation, muscle pain, arthritis, visceral or neuropathic pain, gynecological, mobility problems, urinary or behavioural disorders, acupuncture may be an alternative to surgery to treat these ailments. However, it is less effective on infections, tumours or fractures.

Osteopathy [2]
Osteopathy refers to all body tissues. It is an approach that appeals to a holistic view of the body’s health and self-healing ability. A good osteopath develops a manual feeling of all the anatomical components and uses so-called structural, cranial, fascial, visceral as well as fluidic approaches. Osteopathy is useful at any age for all animal species. It helps to solve mobility, cutaneous, neurological, reproductive and digestive problems.

 

Homeopathy [3]
Homeopathy for our pets is the same as for humans. It is a nontoxic and completely harmless treatment that can prevent or treat various injuries or diseases. Homeopathic medicines are sold as a capsule, granule or liquid to be swallowed to your pet. They can usually be mixed with the animal’s food to make it easier to eat. There are many reasons for dealing with homeopathy: anxiety, pruritus (excessive scratching), pain, urinary problems or breathing problems.

 

Massage Therapy
Massage is used on our animal companion to promote well-being and accelerate healing before or after surgery as well as after an injury. Our dogs and our pet cats accumulate over the years various muscular tensions that can greatly diminish their quality of life. Massage is part of a holistic approach to animal health care, providing additional treatment for their health and well-being. The massage is good for older animals, but the sooner we start massaging our animals, the better they will carry. It helps treat many health problems and prevents the development of chronic problems. Here are some of the benefits: calm and relax the animal, reduce muscle tension, reduce stress, relieve chronic pain, accelerate the healing and drainage of toxins, etc..

 

Physiotherapy
Physiotherapy in veterinary medicine has made an incredible advance! This discipline uses several effective techniques to promote healing, relieve pain and help recover from musculoskeletal injuries. Often done in specialized centres, treatments may include treadmill, hydrotherapy, ultrasound, laser, heat and / or cold, electric shocks, stretching and strengthening exercises with elastic bands, etc. The results are often fast, and several animals show a significant improvement after a single visit. Most animals reach full recovery after 2 to 4 months.

 

Chiropractic
Your dog is suffering from pain, caused by his old age? He is unable to ride alone by car or on the couch? Chiropractic is a good solution and it consists of adjusting and restoring the electric currents of the body, practising very fast movements to unlock the numb muscles. These stimulation is mostly at the level of the spine. The results are surprising, so much so that in the United States, some veterinarians only treat with this method rather than having direct surgery. Not painful for the animals, they let themselves do and regain their dynamism at the end of the session.

 

Naturopathy
Naturopathy encompasses several disciplines. It deals therapeutically and preventively. In addition, it aims to stimulate the natural mechanisms of self-healing of the body and the immunity of each animal. Naturopathic interventions aim at activating, stimulating, nourishing and strengthening the mechanisms mentioned above rather than eliminating symptoms or destroying pathogens. This means that they are soft and non-invasive interventions. The tools used in naturopathy are phytotherapy (therapy with plants), aromatherapy (therapy with odours), animal behaviour, nutrition, homeopathy, quality of sleep, physical manipulations (massage) and techniques stress management.

Do not hesitate to call your specialized veterinarian for traditional medical treatment or to improve the overall health of your pet.

 


[1] http://www.veterinairecinqsaisons.com/acupuncture.html
[2] http://www.veterinairecinqsaisons.com/osteopathie.html
[3] http://www.mouss-le-chien.com/conseils/soins/homeopathie-chien.html

 

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