“Why should we limit ourselves to one kind of medicine when there are so many good ones to pick from? Why not do everything we can to help our companions, regardless of which school of thought our treatment comes from, or which continent, or whether it is ancient or modern?”
-Alan Schoen, Kindred Spirits
Integrated Holistic Health Care
Holistic medicine is an approach to the prevention and treatment of disease which considers the whole animal, including its physical and social environment. The pet caregiver is an important part of the team, working with the veterinarian to choose the most appropriate path for promoting health, well-being and treatment of illness when necessary.
Integrated holistic care allows your veterinary team to move between conventional treatment and diagnosis and complementary, alternative modalities such as acupuncture, massage, animal chiropractic, rehabilitation and herbal medicine.
Acupuncture involves the application of needles at specific points of the body to cause a desired healing effect.
This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for at least 3000 years to treat and prevent many ailments. Chinese medical philosophy describes disease as the imbalance of Qi (energy) in the body, and acupuncture is believed to balance this energy.
Recent studies of this ancient practice demonstrate that stimulating acupuncture points causes specific physiological changes in the body, including increasing blood circulation, relieving muscle spasms and releasing hormones.
Dogs and cats generally find acupuncture non-painful and often experience a feeling of deep relaxation: patients even begin to look forward to their visits after experiencing its beneficial healing effects.
Acupuncture is an excellent treatment for some diseases that are difficult to treat only with Western Medicine, and it is part of the many modalities that we use in rehabilitating lame or injured animals. Some of the conditions successfully treated with acupuncture are: inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, arthritis pain, muscle pain and back and disc pain.
Chinese Herbal Therapy
Chinese herbal medicine has been practiced for thousands of years. Through time, it has been demonstrated that combinations of medicinal plants and other natural products can be used to treat disease and strengthen the basic constitution.
Many of the formulas in Chinese herbal medicine have documented health effects, which are mostly attributed to the constituents of the individual herbs that have biologic action. For instance, berberine-containing herbs have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory effects, while polysaccharides can promote cell differentiation and enhance immune system function.
Herbal medicines are very effective in treating chronic illnesses such as kidney disease, feline leukemia and liver disease. They can enhance the quality of life of cancer patients by helping to lessen the side effects of chemotherapy. Many acute diseases such as kennel cough can also be effectively treated with herbal medicine.
A unique feature of Chinese medicine is an ability to identify trends to imbalances of Qi based on tongue, pulse quality and any minor symptoms or characteristics your pet may exhibit.
Beneficial tonic formulas tailored to your animal’s needs can be provided, which may prevent or delay the development of chronic disease later in life.
At Full Circle, we stock herbs manufactured in North America, where herb supplies are from certified Good Manufacturing Practices plants. This rigorous attention to the quality and origin of our herbs ensures that our formulas are not counterfeit and are free from heavy metal and/or pharmaceutical drug contamination.
Canine rehabilitation adapts many human physical therapy techniques to increase function and mobility for dogs. The goal of all rehabilitation is to improve the pet’s mobility, decrease pain and most of all improve the quality of life for that animal.
While many animals enter a rehabilitation program after an injury or surgery, there are many more who would benefit from seeing a certified canine rehabilitation practitioner. Pets suffering from degenerative diseases, age related changes and obese animals are all animals that can achieve significant improvement with a rehabilitation plan.
Each rehabilitation protocol is individually designed for the patient and involves the pet owner as an active participant in the process. Techniques commonly used include massage, thermotherapy (heat), cryotherapy (cold), muscle building exercises, coordination exercises and hydrotherapy (moving in water). While some of these techniques need to be performed by a professional, many can be done at home by the owner with minimal equipment after demonstration by the rehabilitation technician and a few supervised practice sessions.
Specialized equipment is also needed for some rehabilitation processes. Therapeutic ultrasound, electromagnetic stimulation, and LASER are used to reduce inflammation, pain and speed healing. Neuromuscular stimulation units are used to rebuild damaged nerve and muscle tissue. Treadmills, both land and underwater versions, help build muscle mass under controlled exercise conditions and can promote weight loss. Cavaletti poles, exercise balls and wobble boards are used to re-train walking, fine motor control and body awareness. Sometimes additional supports like orthotic devices or braces are used.
What about cats? Many of the same processes can be used for cats who have injuries or need post-surgical repair. Obviously, some equipment is not suitable for most cats and the therapist will need to be very creative in developing a cat friendly program!
Rehabilitation is a wonderful way to improve your best friend’s physical condition. It can be fun and is often rewarding to everyone as functional improvements begin.
The Bowen Technique
The Bowen Technique (also known as Bowtech ®, the Original Bowen Technique and Bowenwork) is a dynamic system of muscle and connective tissue therapy that was developed by the late Tom Bowen in Geelong, Australia. Sometimes called the homeopathy of bodywork, The Bowen Technique utilizes subtle inputs, or moves that stimulate the body to heal itself. The effects are often profound: the practitioner’s moves deliver signals to the autonomic nervous system (ANS) at specific locations (on muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves), and the body responds by repairing itself.
The ANS controls over 80% of bodily functions, and it is very susceptible to external stressors. In fact, healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance, or the rest, relax and repair mode. The Bowen Technique enables that shift, and it can also help treat anxiety, arthritic pain, back pain, muscle pain, reproductive problems, and incontinence.
The neurologic system influences our entire body. Restricted movement in the spine can have a direct effect on innervation to all body tissues. Chiropractic care resolves any restricted or abnormal movement in the joints of the spine and the limbs, which results in a positive effect on the nervous system and the whole body. Because of this, many clients seek routine chiropractic care for their pets even when they are not clinically symptomatic.
Conditions that chiropractic adjustments can benefit include, pain or sensitivity to touch along the back or neck or around the tail, touch avoidance, asymmetric posture, abnormal gait, limb weakness, jaw problems and more.