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Alternative Medicine For Dogs: Types Of Medicine Therapies For Canines

Aug 11, 2008
Alternative medicine for dogs is quickly gaining in popularity as more pet owners seek natural ways to treat their pets without depending on pharmaceutical therapies. Instead of relying on drugs, pet lovers are focusing on the whole animal.

To learn more about different types of natural medicine and treatments for canines, read on.

Osteopathy and Chiropractic Care

Studies show that manipulations of the body and bone structure based upon a firm understanding of anatomy are effective for limiting human back pain, joint pain and spinal column discomfort. In 1996, the American Veterinary Medical Association reported "sufficient clinical and anecdotal evidence exists to indicate that veterinary chiropractic can be beneficial."

While virtually no research has been carried out on the value of osteopathy for dogs, anecdotal evidence suggests the treatments are effective and especially helpful during recovery after an injury or accident.

Acupuncture Needles

Acupuncture serves as an alternative "medicine" for dogs and is typically used as an effective painkiller. Painkilling drugs work by mimicking the brain's pain-killing chemicals like endorphins. Acupuncture, instead, stimulates the release of natural endorphins.

Remember that acupuncture for dogs should only be performed by a veterinary acupuncturist and should not be done by an acupuncturist who only works on people. It is a medical procedure and should be treated as such. Instead, ask your veterinarian for a recommendation in your area.

Herbal Therapies

Most pharmaceutical drugs come from herbs and plants, but they isolate a particular chemical or component of the plant. In herbal medicine, the whole plant is used rather than only a single part. Also, many herbal remedies are seen as a complimentary program with each herb prescribed to a variety of ailments.

While many veterinarians understand herbal remedies and will accept that various treatments have a medicinal value, they are also hesitant to prescribe or recommend herbal therapies. This is because toxic doses of herbs are largely unknown for dogs. So, before you undertake an herbal medicine program with your dog, do your research carefully.

Relaxation and Massage

Relaxation is a critical part of good health - improving our breathing, anxiety, muscle pain and stress. The same holds true for dogs, and many veterinarians will actually prescribe massage and relaxation as treatment for pain, anxiety, stress or sleeping problems.

Homeopathy

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association - "clinical and anecdotal evidence exists to indicate that veterinary homeopathy may be beneficial." And though no high-caliber studies of homeopathic medicines have been carried out on dogs, it's a treatment course that's increasing in popularity.

More and more veterinarians are beginning to prescribe alternative medicine for dogs, from touch therapy treatments to herbal remedies. So, ask your vet about natural therapies during your next visit as a health option for your pet.

During your research, though, be aware that there is still a lot of general medical community skepticism - both for people and pets - concerning alternative medications. Consequently, you will need to be vigilant in your fact-gathering investigation to ensure you are neither duped by a scam nor dissuaded from persuing legitimate health options for your pet.
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