We often have the most amazing clients. Our clients are open-minded and looking for new, or as is often the case “old” ways to improve the quality of life for their animals.
While many trod the straight path that is veterinary medicine, increasingly pet parents and owners are looking for alternative therapies that date back thousands of years but updated for the modern era. Until recently we were lost amidst the Industrial and Pharmaceutical era not realizing that the current medications are derived from plant-based ingredients used throughout history.
Veterinary and emergency medicine has an important place in our lives. When considering your pet’s health it is important to consult your veterinarian first and foremost. However, for preventative and quality of life care holistic wellness is a wonderful road to travel.
Picture your body (or that of your horse, dog, cat, or llama) like a clock. The gears all move perfectly in sync, all doing their part efficiently. Except that isn’t always the case, is it? We aren’t machines. Our bodies internalize emotional, mental, and physical trauma, all of which have huge impact where we cannot see. One thing goes out of alignment and suddenly, the easy effortless movement begins to shudder, a gear is slightly out of alignment, grinding everything to a halt. One small change in the internal workings and there is a domino effect throughout the body.
A Case Study
For example, our client *Rocky was diagnosed with a herniated disk during the summer. He was mobile but stiff and the owner gave him rest and anti-inflammatory. Three months later he had become completely immobile. Unable to stand on hind legs much less navigate stairs or go for walks. A small, herniated disk left unchecked became debilitating.
The symptoms are not always so intense. However, it is useful to show you as an example. We deemed it necessary to combine therapies for Rocky, utilizing sports massage techniques to remove tension and loosen the muscle so that we could chiropractically realign and open the vertebrae where it had compressed and shifted, compensating for that small herniation so many months prior. The session was finalized with cold laser therapy on the lumbar area and hip areas, which showed the most sensitivity and were likely the cause of the root problem.
Imagine our happiness when we arrived for our follow up appointment and Rocky was standing as well as walking limitedly to greet us!
Rocky’s symptoms were so intense that he requires multiple therapies at least twice a month to prevent him backsliding. He has since started gaining muscle in his hamstrings, which were sorely atrophied, and has even begun taking short walks again.
As he used his muscles differently and in better skeletal alignment we are working on different areas of his body, always showing slow but steady improvement. There are no quick fixes in alternative wellness. Our goal is to help the body achieve balance and be able to support itself at optimum capacity. Since Rocky is a senior and has a significant mobility issue he will likely need our help for the rest of his life every one to two weeks.
Rocky is an extreme case but we love to talk about him because he shows just how much our combination of natural therapies can assist self-healing. We did not “treat” him or provide him medication. We manipulated his musculoskeletal system to regain its elasticity and remove blockages and with that his body did the rest of the work.
Power in Prevention
Simply put we are so proud and happy to have helped Rocky, but much prefer preventative measures to avoid injury and suffering. He is an unusual case as many of our clients come to us to prevent such issues occurring. The statement we hear most often is “I wish I’d found you sooner.”
The type of therapy and frequency largely depends on the animal we are working with so it is hard to give an average. Whereas friends like Rocky with acute pain are best seen once or twice weekly, many other clients of his breed and age without an underlying issue, seeing us for prevention only, may be best seen on a monthly basis.
It’s the Mentality of It All
Our bodies and those of our animals are easily knocked out of balance. Imagine a therapy horse or dog. These animals are certified or chosen because they are quiet, calm, and thinkers instead of reactors. Thus, they internalize. Internalizing their thoughts and feelings creates muscle tension and as a result, imbalance which results in physical symptoms when left unchecked. The physical tension starts very small and unnoticeable to those not looking for it, but can become violent and aggressive when left unchecked. The signs are there but are often realized through only a musculoskeletal examination from a sports massage therapist, acupuncturist, or chiropractor looking specifically for these areas.
How many times have you said to yourself, “Huh he (or she) doesn’t usually do that.” Then shrug and move on as many of us do. More often then not there is a physical cause behind this abnormal behavior. Through a hands-on examination we can usually pinpoint whether your animal is an introvert of extrovert based just on muscle tone alone and where they carry their tension.
History speaks for itself. For thousands of years humans treated themselves with plants and herbs, acupuncture, and acupressure. Aspirin is the result of commercialized and industrialized willow bark, which was the common prescription in tea form for a headache or minor pains. Quickly it became mass produced and willow bark was replaced with chemicals that we use so commonly today. Chemicals that our bodies immediately fight.
The truth is we can honor history while building on it with our current knowledge to improve the quality of life for ourselves and our animals but it takes a more proactive approach. Our goal as wellness therapists are to encourage your animal’s best health and quality of life in a preventative way rather than treat just the symptoms. Can we help acute injuries? Of course. Yet wouldn’t it be better to try and avoid these in the first place, or at the very least slow them down?
Each therapy we offer is different but with the same goal and intent. It’s been known that some animals prefer a specific type of therapy. For example, my dog dislikes acupuncture despite its effectiveness. He loves massage and chiro. Further, my horse prefers acupuncture to massage or chiro. Often we use a combination and work together: sports massage to loosen the muscles for a chiropractic session or acupuncture followed by cold laser therapy on significant areas of blockage and inflammation. Aromatherapy is often the icing on the cake, nature’s best alternative to commercial drugs and used topically with effectiveness.
A Little of Everything
While we focus on prevention and natural remedies, we strongly support veterinarians and their work. The best-case for any animal is for an integrated approach between traditional and natural/holistic health. Like the working gears of a clock they must be well timed and in sync with each other. We recognize that your veterinarians are busy and as a result provide you with a full assessment post-appointment to keep on file and share with your veterinarian for their files.