The spine is the core of the body for dogs, cats, people and all other vertebrates. A wide range of conditions, including lameness and arthritis, can manifest physiologically through spinal tension, stiffness and imbalance. The whole body adapts to accommodate spinal imbalances, potentially causing chronic conditions in joints and muscles far removed from the source of the problem. A chiropractic assessment examines the condition of the animal’s spine, identifying points of tension and weakness. Chiropractic treatment, in the form of carefully directed pressure or manipulation with the hands, adjusts the vertebral alignment and can alleviate problems local to the spine, and throughout the body.
Acupuncture is the treatment and prevention of disease by the insertion of very fine needles into key points of the patient’s body. The needles are all single use and sterile. Once inserted, they are left in place for approximately 20 minutes. They are well tolerated by most animals. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and is now also being verified scientifically. The stimulation of the needles modifies the way in which pain is perceived by the central nervous system and causes the release of hormones such as serotonin and noradrenalin. Reducing pain improves the patient’s sense of well-being and can promote correct gait patterns, breaking the self-perpetuation of chronic postural problems. In combination with these physiological effects, the hormones that are released can help to normalise body chemistry, supporting rehabilitation and improving resistance to disease.
You can find out more about the science behind acupuncture at www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk
Herbal medicine is the treatment and prevention of disease using plant extracts. The plants are prepared as teas, tablets or tinctures to be taken internally and as ointments, lotions or gels to be applied externally. Preparations of a single plant may be used but it is often more effective to formulate bespoke preparations that take into account the holistic needs of each individual animal.
While most pharmaceutical drugs are based on a single compound that targets a specific ailment, herbal medicines contain a diverse assortment of compounds that naturally occur in the plant. So herbal preparations often benefit several aspects of the patient’s health at the same time and the synergy between the many ingredients may have an overall effect greater than the sum of the individual parts.
I mix bespoke medical grade herbal tinctures and stock tablets from several suppliers including Mediherb, and Steve Marsden Kan Veterinary Essentials.