COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE DEPARTMENT
Welcome to VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital’s Complementary Medicine Department! We offer a variety of treatment options that fall outside of conventional veterinary medicine. Complementary pet therapies are not meant to replace conventional therapies, but to work in concert with your pet's current medical treatment. Our offerings include veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy and herbal therapy as well as Sports Medicine.
VETERINARY ACUPUNCTURE SERVICES
Our department offers Veterinary Acupuncture Services for your pet. Research studies on veterinary acupuncture are limited, but numerous human studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is an effective treatment option for certain disorders. Veterinary acupuncture is most commonly used for the treatment of pain, arthritis, and neurologic disorders. However, acupuncture may also be used in conjunction with traditional Western medicine to help pets with chronic kidney disease, chronic digestive disturbances (i.e. inflammatory bowel disease), dry eye, epilepsy, and more.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, life force (ch'i) flows through the body via 14 invisible channels known as meridians, regulating all physical and mental processes. Opposing forces within the body (yin and yang), must be balanced to keep ch'i flowing properly. The meridians run deep within the body's tissues and organs, surfacing at some 360 places identified as acupuncture points. Research has shown that these meridians also strongly correlate to neurologic pathways. Therefore, stimulating these points is said to balance and restore the flow of ch'i as well as stimulating local nerve channels. Acupuncture point stimulation has been shown to modulate signals within the nervous system and even cause endorphin release.
Stimulation of the points is performed by inserting thin, smooth, sterile needles. The depth of insertion, type of stimulation, and duration of treatment vary according to the disease or the condition being treated. Veterinary acupuncturists may use needles alone, needles with electrical stimulation, or stimulation using a specific type of laser.
Chiropractics is the practice of manipulating the spine to treat disease. When the bones of the spine are not aligned correctly, the joint, muscle, nerve, connective tissue, blood flow, and function of an area can be affected. Chiropractics is a system of manipulation and adjustments of the bones of the spine to deal with subluxations and the problems associated with them. The word "adjustment" is normally used in describing the specific and controlled thrust on the specific joint that is being manipulated. It restores the normal range of motion to the affected joint and releases the pressure on the surrounding tissues.
Chiropractic therapy is typically thought of as a method of pain relief for conditions such as degenerative joint disease and disk disease. However, all organs and body systems are controlled by nerves and any disruption of proper nerve flow may also affect function. Correction of vertebral subluxations may improve the health of some internal organs.
Chiropractic adjustment may result in immediate total relief of the pet's symptoms. Partial or temporary relief is also possible, which may necessitate multiple trips to the veterinary chiropractor for ongoing care. Ask us if veterinary chiropractic care may be right for your pet.
Homeopathy is a 200-year old holistic discipline that follows that the principles of “like cures like” to treat a variety of chronic and acute ailments. Therefore, the homeopathic therapy that is chosen is one that would produce the same symptoms as the ailment in a normal healthy patient. The therapeutic ingredient is diluted so that it does not aggravate the current condition, but rather, speeds up the healing process. Although veterinary homeopathy is often considered to be a gentle and safe treatment option, it should only be performed under the guidance of a trained veterinarian. Certain drugs may be safe for human consumption, but could be toxic to your pet or interfere with a concurrent medication. Once a pet has been evaluated, homeopathic remedies may be prescribed along with certain dietary changes. At this time, there is conflicting research on the medical benefits of homeopathy, but anecdotal experience has shown success in treating a variety of diseases such as allergies, asthma, and even behavioral disorders.
HERBAL VETERINARY MEDICINE
VCA West Los Angeles Animal Hospital offers Herbal Medicine as a complementary pet therapy. Many plants synthesize biologically active substances and the practice of Herbal Medicine is based on the use of plants and plant extracts to maintain the health of animals. Herbs are typically classified as Western or Chinese. Herb combinations have been developed for certain disease syndromes, but they should only be used under the guidance of a trained veterinarian. It is important to tell your veterinarian what medications, herbs, and supplements your pet may be taking as certain herbal pet therapies may interfere with the absorption or action of another. Herbs, although natural, can cause adverse or toxic effects if used inappropriately. Please contact us for further information about how Herbal Medicine may be helpful in treating your pet.
Sports Medicine focuses on preventing, diagnosing and treating injuries of the canine athlete and working dog. Working and sporting dogs have special orthopedic considerations and exercise requirements for their demanding physical lifestyle. This therapy encompasses orthopedic evaluation, gait analysis, and rehabilitation techniques that will optimize your dog’s performance at work or in competitive events. The sports medicine evaluation takes into consideration the physiological and structural needs of the elite canine. We can create customized programs to address minor imbalances, build strength, and increase flexibility.
Please feel free to contact our Complementary Medicine Department at 310-473-2951 for more information about our many services and how we may be helpful to your pet.