What is Acupuncture?

Answers To Our Most Asked Questions:

1.  What is Acupuncture, where does it come from?

Acupuncture literally means `to prick with a needle` some history shows it to go back as far as the Stone Age. It is used to stimulate specific anatomical point on the body that have been shown to result in different physiological reactions. Every treatment is individualized to the patient; points selected, number and type of needles can be different for every animal.

2.  What are the most common conditions treated with Acupuncture?

Some of the top reasons we see patients for Acupuncture include:

  • Neurological Conditions: Spinal disease, or paralysis
  • Musculoskeletal Conditions: Intervertebral disc disease, Arthritis, or Traumatic Injuries
  • Skin Conditions: Allergies, Dermatitis
  • Gastrointestinal Conditions

 3.  How can my pet benefit and how successful is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is triggering the body’s natural healing responses; most times multiple treatments are recommended before deciding if this is the best therapy for the condition. Every case is different; some conditions we see tremendous improvement quickly, and others improvement can be much slower and subtle.

 4.   Is it safe, do the needles hurt?

You would be surprised how well pets tolerate acupuncture treatments. Keep in mind acupuncture needles are much different than regular needles for injections. They are very fine, flexible, and nearly painless; once they pass through the skin there should be no discomfort.Baus-Acupuncture

 5.  Can Acupuncture be combined with other types of veterinary medicine?

Absolutely; it is not uncommon for us to use several different types of therapies in combination. Chiropractic, Physical therapy, Chinese herbal therapies, and/or western medicine can all be used together and complement each other as long as it’s done under the supervision of a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.

 6.  Any side effects?

Side effects are rare but can be seen. Occasionally within 24-48 hours symptoms may seem a little worse before they improve. Pets often become sleepy and during most treatment they become quite relaxed.

 7.  Are there different styles of Acupuncture?

There are several different types of acupuncture that may be warranted for different conditions. `Dry Needles` are used most commonly, but for some conditions needles can be stimulated by electrical impulses, or acupuncture points can be stimulated by injection
Baus-Acupuncture1of vitamins, and/or homeopathic preparations.

 8.  Can only veterinarians treat animals with Acupuncture?

Yes, only licensed veterinarians with appropriate post-doctoral education in veterinary acupuncture are qualified to perform treatments.

If acupuncture sounds like treatment you would like to see integrated into your pet’s care, call today to book a consult with our Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, Dr. Rob Butler.


Rachel Halsall RVT

What is Holistic?

Holistic Veterinary Care = treating the whole patientCat-and-Dog1

Holistic Veterinary Medicine considers all aspects of the patient’s current state of health including their current physical state as well as activity level, behaviour, nutrition, environment and genetics.   People often view Holistic Veterinary Care as providing treatments that are less invasive and that take greater consideration of the patient’s wellbeing and lifestyle.   In contrast Allopathic medicine is a term used to describe that aspect of conventional medicine that uses drugs or surgery to treat or suppress symptoms or a disease process.   These two views may at time appear at odds with each other,  however at Guelph Animal Hospital we believe that all medicine whether considered “conventional” or “alternative” should be approached from a holistic perspective.

Let’s take for example an overweight dog that is being examined for chronic arthritis in the hips and back.  A straight forward allopathic approach would be to prescribe an anti-inflammatory drug to suppress the pain associated with inflammation.  A less invasive approach may involve the use of acupuncture applied to specific points along the back and hips to help increase blood flow and reduce inflammation and pain in the associated area.  Neither of these approaches would be considered “holistic” in and off themselves.   A more holistic approach would take into consideration that this pet is overweight, eats a dry commercial dog food, and gets little exercise, is stiff and sore when first getting up and then gradually improves with exercise.  A holistic treatment plan may involve a diet that contains an increased amount of omega 3 fatty acids including additional nutrients for the joints (such as glucosamine, chondroitin and possibly green lipped muscle), plus the addition of some whole foods rich in naturally occurring antioxidants.  A weight reduction plan designed to achieve an ideal lean body weight can recommended while a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug is used initially to provide comfort while regular daily walks are implemented.  Then acupuncture, chiropractic and or laser therapy can be implemented to help improve blood circulation, decrease inflammation and improve mobility.  Further therapies may also include the addition of narcotic and other pharmaceutical drugs or homeopathic and herbal medicines used in combination to decrease the overall risk of side effects.      Visit http://guelphvet.ca/2012/09/11/integrative-therapy-for-arthritic-pets/  for more information on integrative pain management.

Integrative Veterinary Care makes the best use of all modalities, whether considered conventional or alternative, that best apply to each individual patient and situation.  At Guelph Animal Hospital we believe that by staying well educated in current veterinary therapies, diagnostics, and surgical techniques while also having solid training in several alternative modalities (such as acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal, nutritional and homeopathic therapies) we are better able to choose those therapies that appeal best to our client’s and patient’s individualized needs.   For more information on Integrative and Alternative Therapies visit http://guelphvet.ca/guelph-veterinary-services/alternative-integrative-therapies/ .


Laser Therapy? What is That?

Laser Therapy? What is That?When I recommend laser therapy for my patients, some pet owners look at me quizzically.  “Aren’t lasers dangerous?” or “I thought lasers were used for surgery?” are common questions I hear.  I hope that this blog helps answer any questions you may have about laser therapy for pets, and if you have not ever heard of this advanced treatment modality – read on to learn more!

There are a number of different types of lasers, and they are classified according to the wavelength of the laser and the energy/power output produced.  There are four classes:  I, II, IIIa,/b, and IV.   Most everyone has a type of laser in your home – such as a CD player or laser printer.  These would be considered Class I lasers.  Class II lasers have a wavelength visible to the human eye – such as bar code scanners.  Although safe, you should not look directly at the light for any period of time.  Class III lasers are of medium power and you must be cautious of these as they can cause tissue damage if used inappropriately (especially to the sensitive tissue of the eye).  An example of this type of laser is a laser pointer.  Class 3 Lasers, also known as “cold lasers” were the first to be used for therapy in veterinary medicine, however the time of treatment can be lengthier and more sessions may be required to see a response compared to newer Class IV Lasers.  Class IV lasers are the highest powered lasers currently used in veterinary medicine, and here at Guelph Animal Hospital we have two of them.  Our Class IV Surgical Laser  is used  instead of a scalpel when performing surgery.  In addition we have a Class IV Therapeutic Laser and rather than cutting tissues this laser is used to accelerate tissue healing while helping to reduce pain and inflammation.

Our Veterinarians and registered veterinary technicians have taken specialized training in order to safely use the Therapeutic Laser and to provide the most effective treatments.  We have been very pleased with the results we have seen over the past 2-years since introducing this service for our patients.

The laser system sends photons or packets of light energy deep into tissue without causing damage.  The photons are absorbed and induce a process called photo-bio-modulation.  This causes production of ATP within the tissue; ATP is like the fuel or energy that cells need to have for repair and rejuvenation.  Increased ATP production then leads to healthier cells, tissue, and therefore healthier animals!  There are multiple clinical studies in both human and veterinary medical literature that proves that laser therapy alleviates pain and inflammation, reduces swelling, and stimulates both nerve regeneration and cells involved in tissue repair.  These treatments are very well tolerated by our canine and feline friends.  There are no known side effects (although we use in caution in patients with cancer) and these treatments often reduce the need for certain medications or even surgery.  We don’t have to shave or prepare the area, and most treatments can be done under 10 minutes – it can take longer if we are doing multiple sites.

Here at Guelph Animal Hospital, we routinely use our therapeutic laser for the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Back pain/injury
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hot spots
  • Otitis (ear infection/inflammation)
  • Post-operative wound healing
  • Trauma or injury (eg. sprains/strains, cruciate ligament tears)

Although we have many, many patients that have experienced an improvement after laser treatment, one of our most dramatic cases is that of a little rescue Dachshund named “Rosie”.   Rosie was a rescue from the southern US, and she had experienced a leg fracture.  Her limb had been splinted but she had a lot of damaged skin that was red and in danger of becoming very infected.  One of our clients was fostering Rosie and brought her to us for our opinion.  We were very concerned that one of her toes needed to be amputated, and if we couldn’t get the skin to heal there was risk of her losing her leg entirely.  We decided to use our laser to help with the healing and Rosie diligently came in twice weekly for laser and bandage changes.  Within one week we decided her toe could be saved, and by 4 weeks of treatments her leg was completely healed!  Rosie has found a forever home and we get to see her often.  You would never know that she had any previous injury!

If you would like to schedule a laser therapy appointment or would like to learn more about this exciting treatment – please call and one of our Client Care Specialists will be happy to assist you.

Renee Fleming DVM

It’s official. I’m a Certified Animal Chiropractor.

It’s never an easy decision to go back to school and learn something new.  With a full time career, this means a huge time commitment away from family.  Having said that, I had gotten to a point in my career that had been leaving me with the feeling that there was more that I could do to make my patients more comfortable, more than what I had learned in vet school.

Over the years Dr. Woodcock had provided chiropractic care for our patients, when she came in I would ask questions, but never fully understood chiropractic treatment, what it does and why.  I personally have been seeing a chiropractor for several years and certainly enjoy the benefits.  The Canadian Animal Chiropractic Certification Program opened my eyes to a whole new world.  I don’t think I will ever look at pets the same.

Learning animal chiropractic medicine was like learning a different language.  Muscles, nerves and joints that I haven’t thought twice about since my first year anatomy course, now have a whole new significance.  I was now being asked to visualize the joint angles in the spine and to make a connection to what muscles down in the lower leg might be affected if there was an abnormality up in the spinal joints.  With the use of this new found knowledge and skillset I could see how chiropractic adjustments restore proper motion in a joint which in turn allows better nerve health, muscle health, range of motion and decreases pain.

In the course, we needed to do a case study, so I decided to put it to the test on my very own beloved Mackenzie.  For those that haven’t heard me speak of Kenzie, she is an 8 year old lab cross that I rescued at 3 weeks of age.  A few years ago, she had some major medical issues which meant that Kenzie is on A LOT of medications.  One of which, is for urinary incontinence which started about a year and a half ago.  I adjusted Kenzie monthly for 5 months as I learned the different techniques.  By the 5th month (once I was familiar with the lower spine and hip adjustments), she was able to come off the incontinence medication and hasn’t leaked any urine since!!  As an added bonus, her anal glands no longer bug her or require emptying, she is much more agile and better at jumping up on to the couch for her nap and into the car.  Overall Kenzie is much more comfortable in the hind end.

I am so excited to have finished this course, and proud to join the ranks of certified animal chiropractors.  I look forward to making a great difference in many pets lives.

Dr. Ilana Smolkin