Alternative & Integrative Therapies

At Guelph Animal Hospital nothing makes us happier than helping our patients achieve wellness.  As we seek to understand health and disease more fully we have been able to find better ways to approach the cases we see daily in our practice. Having more tools available and knowing how to use them makes us more effective and better able to meet the needs of our clients and our patients.

As we begin to recognize the ebb and flow of the body’s natural biological systems that help maintain health and combat disease, we can enlist these natural systems and providing them guidance through the use of natural, biological therapies.  These include such diverse modalities as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Herbal Medicine, Homotoxicology , Laser Therapy, and Nutrition.

As the general public is becoming more concerned about the side effects that can result from the long term use of various pharmaceuticals and the limitations of the medical profession in the treatment of certain chronic conditions they will often seek out a “Holistic Veterinarian” or “Naturopathic Veterinary Services” in hopes of finding alternative solutions for their pet’s health.

We believe that these therapies can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine and surgery, or independently as a true alternative, to strengthen the body and its natural function and to assist in providing healing benefits and/or increased comfort for your pet. Our doctors are open to discussing all potential options in selecting veterinary care specific to your pet, so please feel free to ask.

Bioregulatory Medicine

Bioregulatory medicine is based on assessment of the patient’s overall physiology and ability for homeostasis and bioregulation.  This takes into account the burden of external and internal influences on the patient’s self-regulatory mechanisms.  Treatment is then given, by using homeopathically prepared medicines, acupuncture or herbal and nutritional therapies to support the inherent ability of the body to heal or regulate itself. The ultimate goal is to guide the patient back toward normal balance or what is called homeostasis.

Homotoxicology
Homotoxicology operates under the homeopathic theory that diseases are caused by toxins and the body’s natural attempt to rid itself of them. These toxins can come from a variety of sources including bacteria, environmental components and even stress. Rather than suppress the body’s natural healing process, homotoxicology seeks to activate it through the administration of specially designed homeopathic formulas with the goal of helping to guide the body back to a natural state of homeostasis and well-being.
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Chiropractic

Humans have been benefiting from chiropractic medicine for hundreds of years. Through animal chiropractic, your pets can receive these same health benefits. Animal chiropractic addresses dysfunction in the muscular, skeletal and/or nervous systems. When used in conjunction with traditional medicine, chiropractic adjustments can restore the body’s correct alignment and return the nervous system to proper working order.

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Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) has been practiced routinely in China for more than 2,000 years.  It embraces the philosophy that when the natural mechanisms within the body are working together in harmony the body has the capability of healing itself.  While Western medicine focuses on control, Chinese medicine focuses on balance.  Disease results when the body’s energy flow, known as Qi, is out of balance, and the natural defence mechanisms are weakened.  When a disease pattern is recognized, one can restore balance and health by helping the body regulate itself.  Qi is believed to run throughout the body in pathways called meridians.  This energy can be manipulated through acupuncture points located along these meridians as well as by herbal medicines and foods that have effects on cellular and organ structures.   Modern science has shown that acupuncture points contain concentrated clusters of nerve endings, capillaries, lymphatic and cellular structures that can transmit stimuli from needle insertion, by way of the nervous system and local chemical reactions within the intracellular matrix, throughout the body.  Therefore a single needle insertion at a specific acupuncture point may affect a part of the body or organ structure far removed from the actual point of contact.

TCVM looks at the whole patient, not just the symptoms and incorporates various treatment strategies specifically geared to the individual patient.

A TCVM diagnosis relies on palpation of the pulse and special diagnostic acupuncture points as well as looking at changes in the colour, size and texture of the tongue.   Close attention is also given to the patients other physical, physiological and emotional traits.  The TCVM practitioner may then recommend Acupuncture, Herbs, Special Diet or other specialized therapies.

TCVM  treatments fall into four categories:   Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy, Food Therapy and Tui-na (adjusting, massage and meridian therapy).

Acupuncture
Acupuncture has been used in Chinese veterinary practice for nearly 3000 years to treat various ailments and ease pain. When it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian acupuncture is a safe and effective form of medical treatment for animals. It can be used alone or in combination with conventional medical and surgical treatments to remedy a variety of conditions including respiratory problems, skin conditions, musculoskeletal problems, gastrointestinal issues and even cancer.
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Chinese Herbal Therapy
Chinese herbal therapy is the veterinary treatment of animals based on the same ancient theories as Traditional Chinese Medicine, which have been practiced throughout the world for over 3,500 years. In Western cultures Chinese herbal therapy is widely accepted as an alternative therapy for animals that do not respond favorably to conventional veterinary treatments and as a way to naturally strengthen the body and restore balance.
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Chinese Food Therapy
Chinese food therapy is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that involves the use of natural foods, either alone or in conjunction with traditional medicine, to promote better health and balance and to prevent or treat a number of diseases. Each specific food ingredient has flavours and energies that are selected according to the pet’s physiological needs. A customized recipe is developed based on the each individual pet’s needs and is designed to deliver 100% balanced nutrition to the pet.
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Tui-na
Tui-na is Chinese manual therapy used for preventing and treating disease.  Tui-na uses various manipulations applied to acupuncture points and meridians and/or special limb-stretching movements to bring the body into balance and prevent or treat diseases.  Tui-na is used to regulate meridians, soothe joints and sinews, promote circulation of Qi and blood, balance the organs and strengthen the body’s resistance.   These techniques of manual therapy have been successfully used to treat musculoskeletal conditions, arthritis, disk disease, nerve paralysis, generalized weakness and even internal medical problems.
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Integrative Therapy Consult

Integrative therapy is a comprehensive approach to veterinary care which combines conventional medicine with complementary and alternative therapies with the focus on treating the animal as a whole. An emphasis is placed on using available medicines and therapies that complement one another and work together to enhance the ability to prevent and treat disease that would not be possible using one method alone. The goal is to minimize adverse effects, maximize successful treatments and improve quality of life.

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