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Compassionate Veterinary Care

The Guelph Animal Hospital provides a variety of comprehensive veterinary services including general wellness and appropriate vaccinations, dental care, in-house diagnostics, laser surgery, oncology services, integrative pain management, behavioural consultations, and nutrition and weight management programs.

Our facility features an on-site pharmacy, in-house laboratory, diagnostic ultrasound and digital radiography to aid in the prompt and efficient diagnosis and treatment of our patients.

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Veterinary Services For Everyone

Whatever the veterinary needs of our patients, our doctors and healthcare team at Guelph Animal Hospital are ready to assist in any way we can.

For more information about our individual services please click below or select from the drop-down menu. Should you have additional questions or cannot find a specific service that you are interested in, please contact our hospital and ask us about it!

Conventional Therapy Services

At Guelph Animal Hospital we seek to provide our patients with the most current medical and surgical options available.  We partner with our clients, to help keep your pet healthy and when necessary can design a treatment plan that is individualized to you and your pet.  Our veterinarians and health care team are involved in on-going continuing education so that we can provide up to date information to our clients and maintain a high standard of care for our patients.

Our hospital is equipped with on-site diagnostic equipment such as digital radiography, in-house blood analysers and diagnostic ultrasound.  We have a modern veterinary pharmacy, dental suite and high tech surgical and therapeutic lasers to offer a variety of treatment options.

Our Registered Veterinary Technicians (RVTs) are highly skilled and a very important part of our health care team.  They are trained to provide exemplary nursing care for your pet and look forward to helping our clients and their families for the duration of your pets’ visit or hospital stay with us.  They keep up to date with advanced anesthesia methods and monitoring and make sure your pet is warm, happy, and comfortable when they are staying with us, whether during a time of illness or post surgery.   

Our front desk team provides a warm and welcoming environment, and their pockets are always full of delicious treats (if your pet has dietary sensitivities they will always ask first).  They can help answer any questions you have about our products and services and will work with you to ensure that your pet is seen promptly and at a convenient time for your family. 

We are proud of our modern facility, and are happy to book a tour if you would like to meet members of our team and learn more about what we do! 

Wellness Care & Vaccinations

At Guelph Animal Hospital, your pet’s health is our main concern.  We like to focus on preventive medicine whenever possible, which is why we have developed special “Healthy Pet” programs to help make it easy for you to obtain the necessary medical care for your pet.

To help your pet to stay healthy it is important to have a physical examination at least once a year. At this time we can also help answer questions you may have regarding your pet’s health or behaviour, provide you with updated information on current recommendations for preventive health care, let you know what’s new in flea and parasite control (including heartworm in dogs) and assess your pet’s overall health and nutritional status.

We have programs designed for all stages of your pet’s life from puppies and kittens to adult and senior pets. Whether you choose only select services for your pet’s care or purchase one of our wellness packages, regular yearly exams focus on keeping your pet healthy and confronting problems before they get out of hand.

For your convenience, we offer the following programs for your pet:

Puppy Plan – includes all core vaccinations and examinations, a fecal test, deworming, free nail trims, spay/neuter, and some other great bonuses!

Kitten Plan -includes all core vaccinations and examinations, a fecal test, deworming, a Feline Leukemia/Immunodifficiency Virus blood test (FeLV/FIV test), free nail trims, spay/neuter, and some other great bonuses!

Healthy Dog Plan – includes annual examination and core vaccinations, a heartworm test, free nail trims, fecal test or deworming, and a discount on heartworm medications

Healthy Cat Plan – includes annual examination and core vaccinations, a heartworm test, free nail trims, fecal test or deworming, and a discount on flea medication

Dental Care

According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by the age of 3, and it is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. Common signs of oral disease can include bad breath, tartar buildup, red and swollen gums, changes in eating or chewing habits, pawing at the face and generalized depression.  Many dogs and cats can have significant oral disease (abscessed or fractured teeth) without showing ANY outward signs of discomfort, even though oral disease is very painful for your pet.

A veterinarian should evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. We recommend this because bacteria and food debris accumulates around a pet’s teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay results in irreversible periodontal disease and even tooth loss.

There are other reasons why you should pay close attention to your pet’s dental health. Dental disease can affect other organs in the body: bacteria in the mouth can get into the blood stream and may cause serious kidney infections, liver disease, lung disease, and heart valve disease. Oral disease can also indicate that another disease process is occurring elsewhere in a pet’s body. A thorough physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if this is the case.

Just as our own teeth require periodic dental cleaning and assessment, even more so do our pets. The procedure for cleaning your pet’s teeth (called a dental prophy) is no different from that which we experience at our own dentist. The only complication is that our pets won’t just sit still and say “Ahh”! A general anesthetic is required in order to safely scale, probe, assess and polish all surfaces of all of the teeth.   We also take routine digital oral radiographs to ensure your pet’s teeth are healthy above and below the gumline.

Providing a variety of safe chew toys and, if and when possible, practicing a routine of regular brushing can help decrease the number of dental procedures your pet requires in a lifetime.

Drs. Renee Fleming & Ilana Smolkin have all had extensive hours of training with a veterinary oral surgeon in the United States, and are happy to take care of your pet’s oral health care needs.

Nutritional/ Weight Counseling

Nutritional Counseling

Nutritional counseling is an important part of your pet’s regular veterinary assessment. Every pet is unique in some way when it comes to nutrition. Growing puppies and kittens have different nutritional needs than adult dogs and cats. There are a variety of pet foods available on the market. We have selected nutritionally balanced brands that we are confident will meet your puppies’ and kittens’ growth requirements. (http://www.petfoodnutrition.com/)

Feeding the appropriate amount of food is as important as choosing the best foods for your pet. We can help you select from a variety of commercially prepared, premium pet foods or veterinary directed diets on the market.

Some owners are becoming more interested in feeding homemade diets or providing a variety of whole foods to supplement their pet’s diets. This can be particularly beneficial when your pet has a chronic disease condition – we often can control both the symptoms and progression of disease by formulating a home-cooked diet.   We have a number of methods to help you to formulate a nutritionally balanced home-cooked diet – please feel free to give us a call and we can provide you with more information!

Weight Counseling

One of the most common findings in the examination room is obesity.  Over 60% of our pet population is overweight.  This can cause significant health problems and will shorten your pet’s life.  We see a much higher rate of diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis in overweight pets.

We offer free nutritional counseling to our clients that will help your pet reach his or her ideal weight. All of our staff have undertaken extensive training to help ensure that they can properly educate you on how to help your pet reach a healthy weight!

Our registered veterinary technicians will consult with our veterinarians to make accurate recommendations for your pet’s weight loss.  If necessary, we can also discuss pharmaceutical methods that may help your pet reach their ideal weight sooner.

Behavioural Consultations

Are you having trouble with your dog’s or cat’s behaviour? Is Fido showing signs of aggression, fear or anxiety?  Is Fluffy continuously peeing outside the litterbox? Before you throw up your hands in despair – call us to set up a behavioural consultation. Whatever the problem, we can help! Depending on the nature of your pet’s problem, we will either set up an hour long consultation with one of our veterinarians, or a 40 minute consultation with one of our registered veterinary technicians.

We can help your pet with a variety of unwanted behaviours – such as excessive biting in puppies, crate training, introducing a new pet or baby to the household, interdog aggression, fear, separation anxiety, compulsive disorders and inappropriate urination.  Our expertly trained staff will work with you and your pet to determine the root cause of the unwanted behaviour and then develop and implement an individualized modification plan designed to correct the problem and help your pet become happier and more balanced.

Laser Surgery

The Guelph Animal Hospital provides laser surgery as a progressive alternative to conventional surgery. We began using this alternative in order to provide a less painful surgery and faster healing time for your pet.

The laser works by emitting an intense beam of light at a very high temperature that is able to vaporize the water in tissue. This process removes only a very small amount of supportive tissue when compared to conventional surgeries performed with a scalpel.

Some of the main benefits of laser surgery include:

LESS PAIN– With the intense heat of the laser it is able to seal the nerve endings as it passes through the tissue. This results in your pet feeling less pain. 

LESS BLEEDING– As with the nerve endings the laser is able to seal very small blood vessels simply by passing over them. In conventional surgery the doctor would have to take time to go back and seal off those blood vessels and in many cases some are too small to be easily sealed. This results in less bleeding and faster procedures.

LESS SWELLING – Since the laser is an intense beam of light, and is the only thing that comes in contact with the tissue, it causes less irritation resulting in minimal swelling. This leads to a higher level of comfort after the surgery.

EXTREME PRECISION – The thin precise nature of the laser beam allows the surgeon to affect only the desired tissues and leave the surrounding tissue healthy and untouched.

REDUCED RISK OF INFECTION – The intense heat of the laser is able to kill bacteria and other microbes on contact, thus reducing the chance of infection.

QUICKER RECOVERY – For all of the above reasons the patient is likely to feel less discomfort and return to their normal lifestyle sooner. This is probably the most evident and overall beneficial reason for the pet owner.

The laser shows definite benefits for most surgical procedures including cyst removal, canine spays and neuters and mass removal. In most cases we are seeing a much faster return to normal life and a lower level of post-operative pain medications.

The Guelph Animal Hospital is very pleased to provide this service to our clients. We feel that this is an excellent way to continue to add to our high level of quality care that our clients have come to expect from us. We continue to find new ways to grow and change with the times so we may provide our patients with the most up-to-date medical knowledge and techniques.

If you feel that laser surgery is something that may be beneficial to your pet please call the clinic and any of our staff members would be happy to answer all your additional questions or to set up an appointment for you.

Referrals

Our veterinarians do the majority of surgery in our surgical suite (with our surgical laser).  However, if your pet has suffered a complicated limb fracture, or has a cruciate (knee) ligament injury, we can quickly arrange for a surgeon to visit our hospital to provide surgical services.  This reduces the need for you to travel out of town to have the procedure completed at a referral center, and it allows your pet to recover in the comfort of the clinic that they are most used to visiting.

Diagnostics

BLOOD PRESSURE MONITORING

We are equipped with blood pressure machines for both surgical monitoring (every surgical patient has a constant blood pressure measurement) and ‘bed-side’ or measurement during examination.  We screen all of our senior pets for low/high blood pressure, especially if your pet suffers from kidney, heart or thyroid disease.

CARDIOLOGY

Cardiology is the study of the heart and how it functions.  At Guelph Animal Hospital we can help to diagnose heart conditions by blood tests, x-rays, echocardiogram (ultrasound), and EKG.   If it is decided that your pet needs to be evaluated by a cardiologist we can quickly make that referral for you.

DIGITAL RADIOGRAPHY

Radiology (x-ray) is routinely used to provide valuable information about your pet’s health.  It can be used alone, or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools (such as ultrasound or blood tests) to provide a list of possible causes for a pet’s condition, or to come to a definitive diagnosis.

At Guelph Animal Hospital, we are equipped with a digital x-ray unit.  Digital radiography provides a very high quality image that allows better visualization of bones and soft tissue, and allows us to manipulate the images to help improve our ability to make a diagnosis.  These images are captured and can be shown to you on any computer in the hospital within minutes.  These images are saved as part of your pet’s electronic health record kept at the Guelph Animal Hospital. If your pet’s images need to be reviewed by a board certified radiologist, the availability of digital images means that we can often have the results within hours, as opposed to days with film imaging.

If you would like a copy of your pet’s x-rays we will happily email or provide you with a CD copy.

IN-HOUSE LABORATORY

At Guelph Animal Hospital, our in-house laboratory allows us to run most diagnostic tests on-site including serum chemistry, blood analysis, urine tests, fecal exams, and cytology (from ear swabs or from skin lumps). This allows for prompt results and decision making when it comes to the treatment of your pet any time of day, including weekends.

OPHTHALMOLOGY

Here at Guelph Animal Hospital, we are equipped with a number of tests to help diagnose your pet’s ocular (eye) disease.  We have a special tool – called a Tonovet – which lets us quickly diagnose the pressure inside your pet’s eyes (elevations can indicate a serious condition called glaucoma).  If your pet needs to see an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) we can quickly arrange an in-house consultation with a local board certified eye specialist.

ULTRASONOGRAPHY

Ultrasonography is becoming one of the most useful diagnostic tools here at Guelph Animal Hospital.  Sometimes an x-ray may not give us a clear enough view of the inside of your pet’s body – ultrasound can help to give us a more clear view.

Drs. Renee Fleming and Ilana Smolkin have over 200 hours of training in veterinary ultrasonography.  We offer on-site imaging almost every day that we are open.  Most pets will tolerate an ultrasound procedure very well – they must lie fairly still on their back during the procedure, which can take up to 45 minutes.  If your pet is nervous or anxious, we will recommend administering a safe sedation to assist with the procedure.

We can image your pet’s abdomen or chest/heart (echocardiogram).

If there is an organ or mass that requires a biopsy, we can quickly obtain a sample under a deep sedation, and can usually have results within a week’s time.

The addition of ultrasound to our diagnostic imaging services at Guelph Animal Hospital has greatly improved the quality of medicine that we are able to quickly provide to our patients.

Laser Therapy

Laser treatments typically last anywhere from 3-30 minutes in duration, and most pets rest comfortably during this pain-free procedure.

The therapy laser provides drug-free, surgery-free, pain-free relief for many conditions including pain relief, wound healing, skin conditions (open sores or wounds), burns, ear disease, and many more conditions.

Oncology

Of all the illnesses a pet owner may face with their pet, none may elicit the fear and dread that is experienced when dealing with cancer. Cancer implies the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells on or within the body and is the leading cause of death in cats and dogs. It accounts for about half the deaths of pets over 10 years of age. There are about 100 different kinds of cancer, and each behaves in a unique fashion once present in the body. Each type has a specific medical name usually referring to the tissue of origin (Osteosarcoma = cancer in the bone, Squamous cell carcinoma = cancer in the skin).

A tumor is a lump formed by a group of abnormal cells. Not all tumors are cancerous. Benign tumors are usually not dangerous but may need to be removed because of their size or discomfort to the animal.

Facing cancer is a team effort and the caregiver is at the center and is the most important member of the team. The doctors at the Guelph Animal Hospital will assist you in making the necessary decisions as far as the diagnostic procedures recommended and the various options available for treatment and care of the pet with cancer.  It is natural for the term chemotherapy (cancer therapy) to cause thoughts of severe vomiting and sickness for your pet – but we work very hard to ensure that we chose a treatment protocol that effectively controls the cancer growth, while ensuring your pet still has a very good quality of life.  Many of our patients have lived for years after their initial diagnosis, providing many opportunities for happy memories for the pets’ family.

Aggressive cancer therapy may require more elaborate diagnostics, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other specialized procedures that often can be performed right at Guelph Animal Hospital, or when necessary – a referral to a specialty clinic can be arranged.

More and more owners are interested in Integrative Therapies that can be used to help support or treat the cancer patient. Although there are no proven cures for cancer when it comes to alternative therapies, some of these therapies such as Acupuncture, Herbal/Nutritional and Homeopathic treatments may assist the body’s natural healing functions. These integrative therapies can be used to help alleviate some of the potential side effects of chemotherapy and may even assist the body in responding more favourably to the treatment. Integrative therapies are also used to control pain, nausea, diarrhea, and improve the appetite of cancer patients.

Our goal is to provide you with the necessary information you need and help you make the best decisions (for both you and your pet) when it comes to treating cancer.

Pharmacy

Our convenient in-house pharmacy can provide your pet with most of the medications prescribed by our veterinarians. If we do not carry it in stock we often can order it quickly or can provide a prescription for you to use at a local pharmacy.  We even have access to a special veterinary formulating pharmacy that can make medications in all different forms and flavours for those pets that are particularly difficult to medicate.  In addition to this, we offer a wide variety of nutritional and other natural supplements that may benefit your pet.

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 is an approach to healing that integrates the principles of homeopathy with conventional medicine.   It is a branch of medicine which seeks to aid the body’s natural defense systems in eliminating disease causing agents.

 Homotoxicological View of Illness

From a homotoxicological point of view, illness is caused by the body’s reaction to the presence of disease causing agents called homotoxins.  Symptoms are the result of the body’s natural defense system reacting to a threat.  This means that illness is not the presence of symptoms (as often thought of in conventional medicine) but rather symptoms are proof that the body is attempting to mount a natural defense against specific disease causing agents.  When an entire treatment is geared just to the removal of symptoms, the results may only be superficial and the long term health of the patient may end up being compromised.  Treatment based on the principles of homotoxicology takes into account the causative agents (homotoxins) and, by stimulating the body’s own defense system, can address the actual causes of the illness rather than just suppressing the symptoms.

Homotoxins include all of those substances which can cause illness such as viruses, bacteria, allergens, chemicals, drugs, radiation, hormones, stress, etc.  Their present causes disruption to normal regulatory processes.  Every illness is due therefore to the effects of homotoxins.   Homotoxins may be introduced from the exterior or originate in the body itself.

Homotoxicological Medicines:

Anti-homotoxic medications represent combinations of herbal, mineral, biological, pharmaceutical and/or biopharmaceutical ingredients prepared homeopathically.  They have been developed to serve the very specific purpose of restoring regulation in the organism.

These medications can be given orally or by injection and are often injected into acupuncture points to affect even greater activity.

Animal Manual Therapy

When you are looking for an Animal Chiropractor within the Veterinary world the reference is Animal Manual Therapy which addresses dysfunction in your pet’s muscular, skeletal and/or nervous systems.  All of the joints in the body  including joints between every vertebra in the spine  have a normal range of motion.
When these joints become fixated (often called a subluxation), changes occur in the local muscles and tendons.  Also, each organ and muscle in the body is stimulated by a nerve that travels out between a spinal segment, so when a spinal joint becomes fixated, there can be changes anywhere in the body.  As you would feel better after visiting a chiropractor for an adjustment, animal manual therapy may help reduce pain, minimize injury, increase range of motion, restore proper biomechanics, improve joint function and quality of life and enhance performance for your pet.
Although pain and arthritis is the most commonly addressed issue, other conditions such as bladder incontinence, anal gland problems, and digestive issues can also be aided by adjustments.  

Dr. Smolkin has completed 220 hours of training at the Canadian Veterinary Chiropractic Learning Centre in Brantford (http://collegeofanimalchiropractors.org/en/)   Your pet’s initial consult for manual therapy will take about 30 minutes where a thorough history, gait analysis (evaluation of movement) and muscle evaluation will be performed.  A specific chiropractic exam will be done to assess each joint’s range of motion.  Depending on the condition of the animal and the severity of restrictions, we may need to start slowly with only one or two adjustments on the first visit.  Expect to commit to 3-4 treatments to determine the efficacy of chiropractic for your pet.

Serving patients from south western Ontario near Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph, Waterloo, Brantford area who are looking for animal chiropractic and animal chiropractor.  Due to regulations Veterinarians must phrase this mode of treatment as Manual Therapy and not Chiropractic 😉

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:   AcupunctureHerbal TherapyFood Therapy and Tui-na (adjusting, massage and meridian therapy).

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is commonly defined as the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect and/or to control pain. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for ~ 3000 years to treat various ailments. Although acupuncture was originally rooted in China, it is currently in use all over the world as an independent therapy or in conjunction with Western medicine.

Acupuncture can be used alone or in combination with conventional medical and surgical treatments to remedy a variety of conditions including (but not limited to):

  • Musculoskeletal problems: arthritis or vertebral disc disease
  • Gastrointestinal problems: poor appetite, chronic vomiting or diarrhea
  • Respiratory problems: chronic cough
  • Skin problems
  • Cancer and other debilitating conditions (to support immune function and appetite)

Safety of Acupuncture Treatment

Acupuncture is an incredibly safe form of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. For the majority of animals the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Most animals become extremely relaxed and may even become sleepy during the treatment. Side effects are rare, but do exist in some animals. They include:

  • The animal’s condition seeming worse for up to 48 hours after treatment.
  • Sleepy or lethargic behaviour for up to 24 hours after treatment.

These potential side effects are generally an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition. If you are concerned with the changes in your pet after treatment, please feel free to contact the hospital to see if they are normal reactions to acupuncture.

Potential Treatment Regimes

Patients often start with 1-3 acupuncture treatments per week for the initial 4-6 weeks. A positive response is usually seen by the third treatment if not sooner. Once a maximum positive response is achieved (generally 4-8 treatments), the treatments are tapered off so that the greatest amount of symptom-free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can taper off to 2-4 treatments per year.

Acupuncture can involve simple needle insertion or take the form of Aquapuncture which is the injection of homeopathic substances or Vit B12 into specific acupuncture points.   Electro-acupuncture is also commonly used.  This involves passing an electrical current through the acupuncture needles and often provides a greater response in patients with pain or limb weakness and paralysis.   Occasionally a form of heat is passed through the needle by burning an herbal stick called moxa and holding it close to the acupuncture needle – this is called Moxibustion.

Chinese Herbal Therapy

There are now many clinical studies that have shown that Chinese Herbal Therapies can be very effective for treating a variety of medical disorders.   Herbal therapy can also increase the quality of life in geriatric patients and help extend the life of cancer patients with or without the addition of chemotherapy.    By understanding the properties of individual herbs and herbal formulas, the TCVM practitioner can predict their actions and prescribe the appropriate formula for a particular clinical condition.

Properties of Chinese Herbs

Herbs can be divided energetically into temperature categories such as hot, warm and cold.  This allows herbs with “cold” energy to be used to treat conditions where Heat is present.   Herbs are further divided into the five tastes:  sour, bitter, sweet, pungent and salty.  The taste of the herb relates to its clinical effect.   This is because the taste is related to the blend of phytochemicals present in the herb.  The Chinese Herbal Practitioner takes all of these actions into account in addition to the detailed recorded history of each herb’s clinical effect when designing herbal formulas for treating specific medical conditions.

Treating with Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbal medicine generally involves combining a number of herbs into a formula to treat a specific disease pattern.   The herbs are often combined to produce a synergistic effect as well as to help reduce side effects that may occur if a single herb is administered by itself.   In veterinary medicine the herbs are generally administered to the patient in the form of a pill, capsule or powder.   Herbal therapies are used to strengthen the body and its natural function and to restore balance. This strengthening action is thought to assist in generating optimal health and healing within the animal.

Chinese Food Therapy

Food Therapy is the art and science of using selected food ingredients to feed each individual based upon their age, species, current physiological state or disease process using the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Different kinds of food can be used to treat various symptoms.

Before choosing a specific therapeutic diet a detailed history is taken to determine each pet’s constitution and the nature of their symptoms in order to determine the main pattern(s) that help define the disease process.  For example, a dog that is panting frequently, constantly seeking cool places and is prone to recurrent ear and urinary tract infection may be diagnosed, according to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, as manifesting excess “Damp Heat”.

Each specific food ingredient has flavours and energies that are selected according to the pet’s physiological needs.  In the case just mentioned specific ingredients can be chosen that will help to “Clear the Heat”, as well as “Drain” the excess “Damp”.   Turkey, duck and white fish are considered “Cool” while chicken and venison are considered “Hot”.  Likewise barley and brown rice are “Cool” while white rice and sweet potato are “Warm”.  Therefore for the dog mentioned above a diet made of turkey and brown rice would be preferable to one containing chicken and white rice.  Since both barley and kidney beans can be used to “Drain Damp” we may choose a diet for this dog that utilizes turkey, barley and kidney beans.  The proper diet for each patient is based on all of these factors and not just the disease alone.

Tui-na

Tui-na, which means “push/pull-lift”, 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.

The practice of Tui Na is quite comprehensive and involves a variety of modalities including acupressure, massage, physical therapy and chiropractic manipulation.  One of the best aspects of Tui Na is the fact that not only can it be performed by a veterinarian and veterinary technician, but it can also be applied by the animal’s caretaker.  This is important because at Guelph Animal Hospital, we firmly believe that the caretaker is an active and critical part of the team when it comes to the health and wellbeing of the pet.  As such, we often educate our clients on basic Tui Na techniques so that they can continue the work at home, between visits, to better facilitate the healing and ongoing good health of their companion animal.

Integrative Therapy Consult

Some clients come to Guelph Animal Hospital for the first time to seek out Alternative or Integrative Therapies for their pets who have been previously diagnosed with a particular illness and have either failed to respond to conventional therapy or their owners are looking for more options to optimize their pet’s treatment.   We also have clients of our own whom we believe may benefit from a more thorough investigation of the options available to them through the several integrative therapies available.

Currently these initial “ Integrative Therapy Consults” are set up with Dr Smolkin who have extensive backgrounds in the study of Bio-regulatory therapies and Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine.  This initial visit will start with a full 1-hour consultation and examination allowing Dr. Smolkin to become fully familiar with the pet’s history, presenting problems and general physiological, emotional and physical state.   A complete review of all current treatments, medications, supplements and diet is included.  The Doctor will then be in the best position to make recommendations and set up a treatment strategy based on each pet’s individual needs and owner’s preferences.  Treatment often includes dietary recommendations along with specific recommendations regarding any adjustment to current medications and or alternative or additional integrative therapies such as those listed on this website.