The Vet Nurse's Blog
Holly Elcock is our Vet Nurse Technical Claims Advisor. In her blog she offers advice and shares her experiences gained when dealing with all areas of veterinary practice and claims handling.
January 2012 - Complementary Medicine
Sometimes our pets suffer with conditions that can benefit from alternative types of treatment such as physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and homeopathic or herbal medicines.
Like people these can work wonders for many of our pets but may not be as affective in others, it depends on the circumstances of each individual animal.
Hydrotherapy can be used to aid the treatment of orthopaedic conditions, arthritis, muscle and ligament injuries and soft tissue injuries. The warm water increases the circulation of blood to the muscles, which helps the muscles relax and reduces pain. Improved blood circulation reduces any swelling present with an injury and enhances healing. Also where swimming tones the muscles it reverses muscle wastage that would have occurred as result of the condition the pet is suffering from.
Physiotherapy covers a range of treatments including orthopaedic conditions, neurological problems and muscular, joint and spinal pain. Physiotherapists use a variety of hands on techniques like massage, manipulation of the muscles and specific stretches. They may also use electrotherapy in conjunction with the manual techniques; these include laser, ultrasound and electromagnetic treatments.
Acupuncture has been proved beneficial for cats and dogs suffering a number of conditions including musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis and hip dysplasia, skin diseases, neurological problems and some gastrointestinal diseases. It is the application of small needles to various parts of the body to alleviate pain and the increase recovery rate.
Most insurance companies will contribute towards the costs towards complementary medicines if a vet recommends it and it is carried out by a qualified practitioner to aid the treatment of a condition. Always check your wording before going ahead with the therapy to make sure they do cover it and check to see if there are any limitations.
For more information about complementary medicine or if you think your pet will benefit from any of the above therapies then contact your vet to discuss them.