A recent report from the National Institute of Health found that 7 out of 10 adults and 1 in 9 children receive some form of complimentary or alternative medicine (CAM). More and more people are wanting to offer the same therapies for their pets. This includes acupuncture, chiropractic procedures, and homeopathic medicines.
CAM is a relatively unfamiliar area for many veterinarians. It requires hundreds of hours of additional education for a doctor to become certified in a particular field. It is very important to research and find a veterinarian in your area that is certified, rather than trying your own modalities. The vast majority of the time, your holistic veterinarian will use a treatment that complements what your existing veterinarian has already implemented.
The most common conditions that are treated with CAM are cancer, skin allergies, back pain, intervertebral disc disease, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and any illness that can cause chronic pain. However, just about any illness may benefit from CAM. Some veterinarians already implement supplements into their practice: fatty acids for skin allergies, glucosamine for arthritis, probiotics for diarrhea.
Acupuncture has been shown to greatly improve chronic pain associated with disc disease and arthritis, and even has reversed paralysis in some cases. Many owners state that after starting supplements for liver, kidney, or intestinal disease, they have been able to decrease the amount of steroids or anti-inflammatories they were giving. Cancer patients are less nauseated and much more comfortable with CAM.
Many insurance companies recognize how helpful CAM can be and are now covering the treatments in some policies. Contact each individual company to address each policy and premium.
If you are using any supplements in your pet, it is extremely important to disclose them to your veterinarian. Many treatments should not be used with the conventional medications that are commonly used. Do not think because the label states it is “all natural” means that it is completely safe and has no drug interactions.
To find a certified CAM veterinarian in your area, visit the following websites: