I'm a Believer... in Alternative Veterinary Medicine

Posted: Jan 28, 2013
Views: 3671 - Comments: 3

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I have taken my pets to a Woo Woo doctor. There. I said it. I realize that in this day and age people are much more open to Eastern ways (acupuncture, herbs, etc) but those of us trained in Western medicine can be “challenged” when it comes to accepting the ways of the Woo Woo…

I’ll admit it. I was an eye roller when that client brought in the little green bottle and asked us to count out 20 pellets and let them dissolve under the tongue (HA!) of their cat. Or when the college aged daughter came in and did reiki for an hour on her parent’s dog. Acupuncture? Okay, I’d heard good things. But for diarrhea? Shouldn’t you start metronidazole or something? And then my perfect princess of a dog gave herself a lick granuloma. I joke (but am kind of serious) that my pets need to be pretty because there isn’t much else going on there. A lick granuloma doesn’t fit into my “looking pretty” plan. I tried an e-collar, bandaging, socks, sprays, ointments... NOTHING WAS WORKING. The next step was steroids. I’m not a fan of steroids and as this was in the days before I had a dog door and I was NOT going to deal with a PU/PD dog if I could at all help it. So I made an appointment with a holistic vet and practiced not rolling my eyes. After some chiropractic adjustments, sound therapy, and some herbs and spices (on my terms) darn it if that lick granuloma didn’t just heal right up and go away!

More recently, my treasured old man dog started scuffing his back feet and developed severe hind end and back pain. History told me he couldn’t have NSAIDs (that was a rough weekend in the hospital) and he was already on pain meds and nutraceuticals for general arthritis. I upped all of his meds, started a muscle relaxer and talked to every doctor who would listen (which around here is a lot). No improvement. Two sessions with a human chiropractor (I have some connections) seemed to help and by then I was on the hunt for a veterinary acupuncturist in the neighborhood. She served me tea and we talked about different herbs and she poked my old man full of needles. I was mixing a blue scoop of brown herbs and spices with canned food twice a day. And darn it if he didn’t feel better! I have video of him actually trotting around after his acupuncture. Well placed needles were doing what a handful of drugs couldn’t do.

Am I walking away from western medicine? Certainly not. I have seen some miracles worked with antibiotics, talented surgeons and an amazing staff of doctors and technicians. Do I have more patience for that owner who wants to give their pet that weird smelling capsule? You bet. I have learned that there is WAY more out there than I understand, have experience with, or am aware of. It’s a continual project for me, but I am learning to stop rolling my eyes and open my mind to combining some of these therapies with the magic of ICU medicine. I eventually had to make the decision to end my old man dog’s pain, but not before I was sure I had explored every option for him. I now know that trying reiki isn’t going to hurt, but it just might help that dog dying from cancer. Those people are making sure they’ve explored every option. And I applaud them for it. Thanks Woo Woo, you made my princess dog pretty again and gave my old man a few more weeks with me. I’m a believer.



Kelly Miller's picture

Megan, thank you for sharing your experiences with alternatives to western medicine. I was lucky to work at a rehab center for animals for a short time and am a believer in physical therapy for dogs. Acupuncture was offered to clients to compliment physical therapy modalities. Keep the informative words coming. *goes off to look up reiki*

Morgan VanFleet's picture

I love acupuncture, both as a person and professional. Some of my other favorite flavors of Eastern medicine: using the jen chung acupuncture point (GV-26) to revive a blue c-section pup, or pre-medicating rhinoscopy patients with yunnan bai yao to reduce bleeding.

Ashley Franklin's picture

Just came across this post. I feel as though many vets in this field do the eye roll at the 'natural approach' and I feel as though they don't give it a chance. Sure some things are wonky and obviously don't work.. like the clients who give garlic for fleas, ticks, mosquitos, upset stomaches, lumps and bumps... but some of the natural stuff does work. Heck I'd rather go natural than deal with medications such as steroids.