As advances in human medicine converge with the veterinary field, new non-surgical holistic treatments for dogs to treat and help prevent canine illness are offering fresh hope to dogs – and their owners. Here are three of the most promising holistic treatments for dogs:
Prolotherapy, also known as ligament reconstructive therapy, is a non-surgical orthopedic procedure used on both humans and animals. Prolotherapy consists of injecting a “proliferating” agent (such as dextrose or vitamin B12) combined with lidocaine, into the affected tendons or ligaments where they attach to the bone. The solution acts as an irritant, stimulating the body’s immune system to “proliferate” – or rebuild – new tendons or ligaments at the injection site. This new connective tissue strengthens and stabilizes the afflicted joint, relieving pain.
Prolotherapy is an excellent alternative to surgery for many dogs with chronic joint pain.. It can restore joint stability without the pain, risks, and extended recovery time of surgery.
Below are some conditions Prolotherapy can treat, including:
- Hip Dysplasia and hip laxity and pain (DJD)
- Chronic tendonitis – Elbow Dysplasia
- Anterior Cruciate injury (ACL) – ligament injury
- Intervertibular disc disease
- Neck and back pain
- Spinal stenosis
- Sprained ankles and wrists
- Partially torn tendons-anywhere in the body
- Ligaments and cartilage
Prolotherapy is generally administered as a series of injections spaced between one and four weeks apart. Dogs can show positive results in one-to-three treatments. Make sure you choose an experienced veterinarian who can determine your dog’s needs.
Although prolotherapy must be repeated approximately every year, the cost is far less than surgery, and the side effects are minimal. The most common side effect is lidocaine sensitivity, which can cause vomiting.
Advances in genetic research have led to the field of nutrigenomics, the science of studying how our genes respond to the foods we eat. Nutrigenomics is based on the concept that optimal nutrition can be designed based on an individual’s unique genetic makeup.
Feeding our pets according to their specific genetic needs can help to cure, lessen, and even prevent disease.
Some pet food companies currently incorporate nutrients into their foods that target specific conditions, including:
- Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, and mussel to improve joint health
- Vitamin E, ß-carotene, and selenium to protect the body from free radical damage
- Omega-3 fatty acids to improve skin; and
- Oligosaccharides and probiotics to promote gut health
As the field of nutrigenomics advances, more targeted formulations can be expected.
Osteopathy is a form of drug-free, non-invasive medicine based on the principle that the musculoskeletal system (the structural system including the bones, muscles, and nerves) is the foundation of the body’s overall health. Osteopaths believe that by returning the musculoskeletal system to its proper state of functioning through the use of gentle, hands-on manipulation, every other system in the body is also brought into balance, creating wellness.
Osteopathy was founded in 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still, an American physician who taught that disease was the result of anatomical abnormalities. European osteopaths began adapting Still’s hands-on manipulation techniques for use on horses about 20 years ago, and osteopathy is now growing in popularity for other companion animals.
Many people confuse osteopathy with chiropractic, although the two approaches differ.
Osteopathy treats every illness and condition that conventional medicine does and in the care of an experienced, certified animal osteopath, does not contain specific risks or side effects.
Just as with human medicine, advances are being made every day in veterinary care, and thus in the development of new holistic treatments for dogs. Do your research and you may find a safe, natural treatment that could save your dog’s life.