Wouldn’t it be nice if you could slow down time and enjoy more years with your pet? It can be heart wrenching to see your best four-legged friend grow older before your eyes. But your pet’s shorter lifespan and aging are unavoidable facts of life.

With age comes the onset of disease and the development of issues such as arthritis, loss of vision, and decreased energy. We do our best to combat these changes, but there is a limit to what can be done to fight the effects of time. By adding holistic, alternative and complementary options for treating the aging pet, we can, however, expand these limits somewhat.

Alternative Medicine for Aging Pets

Veterinary medicine is continually evolving so that new treatment options are regularly transitioning into accepted, modern pet care. Many of these are holistic and/or alternative medicine options that can be used alone or paired as complementary to veterinary medical care. We believe in providing our clients with a range of viable treatment options that allow us to customize your pet’s care.

Older pets in particular benefit from these alternative and complementary therapies. Acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, herbal medicine, and massage therapy offer “new” solutions to old problems, especially when used in conjunction with mainstream medicine. Our Animal Rehabilitation Center uses a multimodal approach to promote healing and reduce pain such as for arthritis including laser therapy, hydrotherapy, and therapeutic ultrasound.

Older pets can especially benefit from these therapies when used:

To offer an additional solution to managing pain and inflammation from conditions such as arthritisTo substitute mainstream medications that may not be well-tolerated or have undesirable side effectsAs a solution when other mainstream options have failedIn stimulating immune functionIn order to increase energyTo support appetite

Alternative and complementary techniques can offer a powerful choice for older pets in particular. While modern medicine is powerful, by pairing it with a range of complementary therapies, we can offer greater treatment flexibility and deliver a potential power boost in achieving treatment goals.

Alternative Medicine as Palliative Care

Sometimes, no matter how much we wish we could help a pet, we run out of options. Whether due to finances or to the restraints of modern medicine, eventually there is an end to what we can do to try and fix a problem. This is where palliative care comes in.

Most people are familiar with palliative care in terms of hospice care. Our goal for a pet that is under palliative care is to maintain his or her quality of life as best as we can. This means relieving pain, stimulating appetite, and reducing any side effects of disease or medication that may be unpleasant.

Therapies such as acupuncture or herbal medicine offer additional avenues to achieve these goals when traditional medicine options are exhausted.

At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, our own Dr. Erica Hawker has been trained in traditional Chinese veterinary medicine and acupuncture. Our ability to integrate these techniques with more mainstream medical techniques makes us an attractive option for those seeking the best care for their pets, particularly those who are older or have serious health issues.