Alternative medicines may help pets recover from injuries and health conditions

FRESNO, Calif.

The Reeves family and their dogs love spending time outdoors.

"Julie likes to roughhouse with my other dog and they like to race around the property and run around like mad banshee," pet owner Valorie Reeves said.

Just six months ago their 12-year-old dog Julie was not very active. She refused to play outside and avoided using one of her back legs. Valorie Reeves was worried Julie was developing arthritis so she took her to the vet.

"He felt that she was starting to have a sciatic nerve, and he said he really couldn't do anything for that and that I should see my chiropractor," Reeves said.

Dr. Roman Hysell, specializes in chiropractic care for animals. He was able to get to Julie feeling better after just a few visits.

"So I had Roman come out and adjust her, and immediately she started using it on the ground, and within two adjustments she was walking pretty regular," Dr. Hysell said.

Dr. Hysell oversees the entire family's chiropractic care. The Reeves' 25-year-old horse Copper was also due for an adjustment. Hysell says pet owners turn to chiropractic treatment to manage different forms of pain or stiffness. He also claims that it can help with allergies and infections.

"Whenever something is moving better it takes pressure directly off of the spinal cord and because of that the immune system can move a little bit better and allow things to heal faster," Dr. Hysell said.

Another alternative therapy gaining popularity among pet owners is acupuncture.

Therapist say acupuncture can be used to heal pain, improve some chronic conditions like seizures, and even help pets suffering from the side effects of cancer treatment. Pet ER Medical Director Dr. Kelly Weaver uses it in addition to traditional medicine.

"I saw some things where the response was just amazing," Dr. Weaver said.

However, Dr. Weaver warns alternative therapies shouldn't take the place of traditional treatments.

"A lot of people will call up and want eastern medicine because they don't want the expensive surgery so they think it's going to be cheaper to just do acupuncture," Dr. Weaver said.

With each chiropractic or acupuncture treatment averaging $45 a visit, your bill can quickly add up. In Julie's case it only took a few visits to see results.

For the Reeves family, seeing Julie run with the rest of the pack again, gives them confidence that turning to alternative therapy was the right choice for Julie.

Certain pet insurance providers cover the cost of some alternative therapy treatments, but in most cases you must provide them with a referral from your pet's veterinarian.

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