National Holistic Pet Day is just under a week away. That’s why we’ve spent August discussing the role holistic veterinary medicine can play in your pet’s healthy life.

Humans and pets alike deserve health options. And just as you have “alternative” health options for your own health, so do your best — and furriest — friends. In fact, there are many amazing holistic treatments available. Aromatherapy. Massage. Laser Treatments. But, the two most popular — and most amazing — examples of holistic medicine are Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care.

Yes. For your pet. Here are two examples regarding how they can be used:

Animal Chiropractic — more properly called veterinary spinal manipulation therapy — can help animals (like Elliot) walk again, when used in the right situation. Elliot is a six month young Olde English Bulldog. One day, he suddenly could not use his right back leg – and all pressure hurt. X-rays showed he had damage to the growth plate of the long bone under his knee.

The growth plate is the end of the bone where growth occurs. If there is damage there, the bone does not grow, while the other leg continues to grow. In Elliot’s case, only part of the growth plate was not growing. If left without treatment, this means part of the bone will grow and part will not resulting in a bowed leg and constant pain developing into arthritis. A sad prognosis for such a young dog.

Conventional treatment would include (expensive) orthopedic surgery where the bone is cut in one place while trying to stop growth in another place -looking for balance in the leg.

Surgery was not an option for Elliot’s family. They asked what alternative medicine could do. I used chiropractic and a technique to break down interosseous faults. (An inter-osseous fault is a place on the bone where the muscle attaches and pulls resulting in microscopic changes in the structure of the bone.) By the third treatment Elliott was using his right leg!

can have equally amazing results in patients. Recently, Jackson, a five-year-old domestic shorthair cat came to see me because he could not urinate. His penis was blocked with crystals from a urinary tract infection. If Jackson had not been brought to the clinic when he was, he might have ruptured his bladder – resulting in an agonizing death.

The standard Western treatment is to anesthetize the patient, pass a urinary catheter into the penis, and open the blockage. Then flush the bladder, treat the bladder infection and get the cat on good food. Unfortunately for Jackson, this happened to him three years previously. On the plus side, his family has been feeding him excellent food ever since the first obstruction. This time, however, I wasn’t able to pass a catheter. The scar tissue and the obstruction was so tight that I absolutely couldn’t pass the catheter through the opening in his penis.

I spoke to Jackson’s family about options – one option was to go to the referral hospital where they would make Jackson a different opening that would make him essentially have parts of a female. This was not an option for Jackson. My only option was to empty the bladder with a needle and syringe, and hope acupuncture would help drain fluid from the urinary tract and open blockages. Three hours later, after the acupuncture treatment, I again made Jackson a little bit sleepy. Within seconds the urinary catheter passed! Acupuncture — literally — saved his life!

These two examples show some of the amazing things that happen at Healthy PAWsibilities every day. All holistic veterinarians have these wonderful experiences, and we hope you have one near you. Western medicine does some great things too; holistic medicine fills in the rest – it’s a great combination.

These are only two of the many holistic modalities available. Ask your holistic veterinarian what he or she can offer – for the best pet care of your four legged family’s life!

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