Bella is a young Dachshund who came to my office with total hind end paralysis after jumping off a chair. While her breed is predisposed to back issues, she was just out of puppyhood and this was a very serious case. Her legs were completely unresponsive, her tail was lifeless and she could only raise herself a bit on her front legs.
Her owner was very concerned but, as a retiree, he didn’t have the resources for orthopedic surgery. With no pet health insurance to protect her major medical needs, Bella and her owner were left with few options.
I was granted a week with Bella and a limited budget to see what I could stitch together with my recent acupuncture training, some Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, and anything else I could harness from Mother Nature’s energetic magic.
Holistic medicine for dogs: the impact it can make for pets
Fortunately, there are many options to be offered from the different pathways that fall under the umbrella of holistic healing. Holistic medicine is a trending topic in pet care, but it’s been around as long as people have roamed the earth.
Where did holistic medicine come from?
Historically, all medicine was natural as people discovered new and better ways to help themselves live through famine, infection, and extremes.
Then, with the advent of modern medicine, holistic therapies fell to the wayside with the promise of healing through clinical advancements in contemporary healthcare.
The resurgence in holistic health is returning as people are again learning that embracing nature and the old ways might not have been such a bad idea.
A lot of pet owners who are interested in holistic medicine have often used a form of it themselves. From acupuncture to herbs, the enthusiasm in adding these and other instinct-based services for pets is greater than ever.
What holistic medicine can do for your dog
The interest in this expansion in the veterinary and pet health communities has many important reasons. Pet owners experience a closeness to their animals that is really unprecedented in the human-animal bond.
They worry about medication side effects and they’re more educated than ever before about their pets. Empowered by knowledge and information, more pet owners are willing to ask for more services, different types of treatments, and natural ways to help their pets that are free of preservatives, chemicals, and drugs.
The main goal of using natural therapies is to get to the bottom of a medical condition, rather than just treating the symptoms.
Some top of mind concerns for pet owners includes diet concerns, joint pain, needs of aging dogs, and protection of a dog’s future health from the side effects of chronic medications such as organ damage.
The realm of possibilities in holistic healing is wide ranging.
From the familiar acupuncture, homeopathy, or herbal therapy to essential oils, harmonics, or reiki, holistic practices can be used for nearly any disease process.
An informed and educated veterinarian will address aspects of both holistic and conventional therapy to find the best protocol for each individual patient.
The benefits of natural medicine for your pets
One of the extra benefits of a holistic focused life for pets is cost-effectiveness. Once the initial work is done, regular maintenance is often less expensive than a lifelong medication.
These therapies are a great way to help animals use their own body to become better whether they are fighting pain, joint disease, or other issues. The power of long-term prevention, individual adjustment, customization, and results offer a real bang for an owner’s buck.
The body has a tremendous number of natural pathways that can be optimized to allow the pet to become well. Using the body’s ability to restore and regenerate by calling upon different natural hormones is more sustainable than relying on more traditional medications to control the symptoms.
By doing so you reduce the body’s dependency on medication which offers a more substantial recovery as an end result. This was the case with Bella.
Bella’s transformation with holistic medicine
For days, my team worked with Bella’s rehabilitation using acupuncture, water therapy, physical therapy, and herbal compounds. We blended the holistic treatments with a few injections of conventional medication to help relieve pressure on her spine.
By day 3 her tail wagged. By day 4 she was propped in a wheelchair, ambling through the clinic. When her owner picked her up a week later, she was standing on her own and walking slowly if a bit wobbly.
In just a week of intense natural healing, her life came right back. That was 10 years ago and I still see Bella for a tune-up occasionally. Thanks to holistic medicine, she and her owner have enjoyed many happy years together.
Dr. Jim Carlson, a holistic veterinarian, is the host of Holistic Vet Advice with Dr. Jim and Cristen Carlson on Voice America World Talk Radio. He owns Riverside Animal Clinic & Holistic Center in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.