As pets age, many of them develop osteoarthritis. Some pets are otherwise very healthy but have a compromised quality of life due to the pain from this condition. Medications to treat the joint inflammation and resulting pain can provide relief but sometimes carry unwanted risks and side effects. We are therefore happy to offer an alternative treatment for families which is affordable and non-invasive.
Laser Therapy is an FDA-cleared modality that reduces inflammation and alleviates pain. Treatments are performed in the hospital and only take a few minutes. Most patients relax and even enjoy the treatments, as they are soothing for achy joints. Some animals show signs of improvement after one treatment and even chronic patients often appear more comfortable after 3-5 visits. We have been offering this therapy as a primary or adjunct treatment for osteoarthritis at Courtenay Animal Hospital for over a year and have had very good results!
Laser therapy has also been used to treat non-healing wounds, lick granulomas, post-operative incisions, and other sites of chronic inflammation including ear infections and urinary tract disease. While we have less personal experience treating such conditions with laser therapy, it is a promising option for the future as we integrate alternative therapies with our traditional medical practices.
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) includes acupuncture and herbal therapies. Integrative medicine may include these methods, used in conjunction with traditional western medicine to treat and manage a variety of diseases. Acupuncture seeks to bring the body back into balance; stimulation of appropriately chosen acupoints leads to neurotransmitter release, which decreases inflammation and pain.
Veterinary acupuncture is most often used to help manage conditions such as arthritis or intervertebral disc disease. Electrical stimulation can be added to acupuncture treatment plans in some cases. Patients with decreased mobility or partial paralysis may benefit from this addition, as electricity stimulates nerves and may return the patient to walking with improved comfort more quickly than conventional medical intervention alone. It is also used in conjunction with surgical interventions for orthopedic conditions such as cruciate ligament injury, to improve long term outcomes after surgery.
Additionally, acupuncture may be used to help with management of many other medical conditions. These include but are not limited to: chronic constipation or other gastrointestinal illness, feline asthma, acute injuries of the soft tissues and geriatric internal medicine conditions such as kidney dysfunction.
While an integrative approach is generally the most successful, TCVM may be used alone for patients who cannot tolerate western therapies due to adverse drug reactions or intolerance's. Laser therapy can also be performed to help reduce inflammation, increase circulation and decrease pain. Laser is often used in conjunction with acupuncture to provide an even quicker resolution of inflammatory issues.
Most patients tolerate these minimally invasive treatments very well. We will be happy to answer any additional questions you have regarding the use of integrative therapies in our practice!