An Introduction to Alternative Veterinary Medicine

Alternative veterinary medicine is becoming more widely available, offering pet owners additional options for the health and well being of their pets. Traditional veterinary clinics are beginning to offer services more commonly associated with alternative vet medicine including chiropractic, acupuncture, nutritional counseling and supplementation, herbal medicine and homeopathy.


Pet chiropractic addresses the proper function of the spinal column, particularly as it relates to the overall framework of the body. If there is a subluxation-a problem in a joint of the spine-mobility and range of motion is diminished. Limited flexibility compromises movement and its effects are felt throughout the body.

A pet chiropractor will examine your pet for symmetry and movement. Several treatments may be needed to restore mobility and comfort.

Chiropractic Benefits:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Reduced pain
  • Strengthened immune system


Acupuncture is widely used for pain relief, but the procedure has been used successfully to treat cardiovascular, respiratory, gastrointestinal and neurological disorders. Acupuncture is safe and non-invasive.


Even the most inexpensive dog foods meet minimum nutritional standards, but many pet owners are looking for better nutrition and safer choices. Recent pet food recalls have alerted pet owners to the insufficiency of an AAFCO certification-all recalled foods were AAFCO approved for nutritional content.

In addition to safety concerns, many brands of commercial pet foods contain fillers and potentially allergenic ingredients that do not promote health.

Raw food diets are gaining popularity, as are limited ingredient commercial formulations that more closely imitate your pet's wild diet and limit exposure to potential allergens and toxins.


Supplements are endorsed by traditional veterinarians as well as holistic vets and provide many proven benefits.

Some popular and well-tested supplements include:

  • Probiotics: Beneficial bacteria similar to those found in yogurt. Probiotics enhance digestion and support a healthy gastrointestinal tract. Often used to combat chronic diarrhea, gas, bloating and other digestive disruptions.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin: These supplements are used to protect and restore cartilage.
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Obtained most often from fish oil, Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy skin and coat, support the immune system and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis.

Herbal Medicine

Herbs have a long history of use as medicinal treatments. Animal herbalists can prepare organic pet medicines that stimulate the immune system, repel and reduce parasite populations, detoxify the blood and support healthy liver and kidney function.


Homeopathic remedies are diluted solutions of assorted herbs, animal products and chemicals that are intended to restore balance to an animal's energy level. Using the principle of "like cures like," homeopaths choose remedies that produce symptoms similar to the symptoms the animal is displaying. Homeopathy's goal is to cure the symptoms of disease as well as rebalance the energy of the patient.

Alternative medicine is giving pet owners a wider variety of treatment options for their pets and natural pet cures are finding their place among more traditional methods. Both pets and pet owners benefit from these additional choices.