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Dog Integrative Medicine - How Dog Integrative Medicine Relieves Pain

What is integrative medicine, and how can it be helpful to my dog?

Integrative medicine is the combination of multiple treatment modalities that, when you combine those modalities of treatment; you get a better effect than using an individual therapy alone.


Dr. Mitch McKee
Berry Farms Animal Hospital - Cupola Animal Hospitals

What are the different types of integrative medicine?

There are quite a few. Acupuncture, there's herbal medication. There's tui na, which is therapeutic massage. There's food therapy, which uses different foods to get an effect that we're trying to accomplish. There's spinal manipulation, which is similar to chiropractic in people. There is shockwave therapy, rehab therapy, loop therapy. There are also some homeopathy-type treatments and ozone therapy.

How does integrative medicine impact the health and wellbeing of my dog?

Integrative medicine is very beneficial in helping to control illness, injury, or pain. It allows you to reduce the amount of pain medication you may need. And it also gives you a different approach if you have that pet that's reacting to some of the standard medications we might use.

How old does my dog need to be to start integrative medicine?

Integrative medicine can be started at any age. There are no age restrictions as far as that goes.

What are some medical conditions that would benefit the addition of integrative medicine?

There are quite a few, but most commonly, we're using integrative medicine for bone and joint disease, specifically arthritis. It's perfect for dogs with chronic back or hip pain and dogs that have a slipped disc and are partially or completely paralyzed in their back limbs. Other things would include muscle strains and sprains and any ongoing chronic illness, specifically cancer patients.

What is the benefit of a joint supplement for my dog?

Joint supplements are good for your dogs because, depending on which one you're on, they can do quite a bit in terms of slowing down the progression of arthritis. Especially if you have those really athletic dogs, our joint supplements can help protect cartilages and help keep those cartilages nourished and lubricated. Another benefit is that they can sometimes help you decrease the amount of actual pain medication you may need.

When would a veterinarian recommend NSAIDs for my dog?

NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been a mainstay for pain control for a long time. And if we detect that your pet is in a good bit of pain, especially if it's affecting their daily life, then we're likely to recommend doing an anti-inflammatory. But a lot of that depends on other conditions. Does your pet have any underlying issues, such as kidney issues or liver problems? Some things would prevent us from using those, and we might have to pick a better approach. And again, that's where integrative medicine is convenient. It gives us more tools to use in terms of pain management.

Why is it important to avoid treating my dog with medications and supplements before consulting my veterinarian?

Many of us make mistakes out of good intentions. We think we're doing the right thing. But when it comes to the biology of our dog patients, it's different than humans. You could easily get the wrong dose or give the wrong medication. You could easily give too much and cause them some issues that are perhaps difficult for us to treat. It’s always crucial to consult your vet or your vet clinic before giving your dog any type of pain medication you have at home.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 283-9040, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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