Alternative medicine usually refers to medication or treatment outside the regular western medicine stream. Alternative medicine goes back thousands of years and, in most cases, has been passed down through word of mouth. Most ancient cultures have their own particular healing system. Like humans, animals could also be treated with these systems.
Guidelines for alternative treatments like acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, and holistic medicines have been laid down by the American Veterinary Medical Association. All alternative medicine should be resorted to after consultation with your vet. Remember, natural does not necessarily mean harmless. There are laws in each state as to who can treat an animal legally. Check with the state veterinary medical association to find out what is legal.
There are various treatments available in the United States for pets, including acupuncture. This 3,500-year-old system awakens the body’s own healing processes by stimulating certain points of energy in the body with fine needles. It has been said to have been effective in epilepsy, hip dysphasia, or in the alleviation of pain.
Chiropractic is a system that manipulates and adjusts the spine to restore regular motion to affected joints. There is usually immediate relief, but the pain could come back and more trips could be necessary. With most pets that are not comfortable with hands-on treatments, a gadget called the Activator, introduced a few years ago, allows treatment to be easier on all concerned.
Herbs have been used to cure for centuries. Most animals in the wild use herbs instinctively. Today, a lot of drugs are actually derived from plants, but herbalists believe it is better to take the real thing. Herbs are available in their dried, bottled form in most cities.
Yet another form of treatment that’s quickly gaining popularity is homeopathy. Homeopathic medicines are dilutions of animal products, plants, and chemicals. The more diluted the preparation, the more potent it is said to be. You have to be careful with the diet during treatment. In most cases, processed food should be avoided.
Massage is also useful to improve the immune system. Most pets, however, do not like the feel of strangers’ hands on them.
Whichever system you would like to try for your pet, make sure to inform your vet. Certain medicines could interfere with each other, and systems could be harmful if your pet has certain health conditions. Prevention, here too, is better than cure.