Alternative Care Services
Many of our patients are complicated and complex cases that baffle fellow Veterinarians and pet parents. Often our clients are overwhelmed and exhausted trying to figure out how to help their sick pet. This is where Chinese Medicine shines! Dr. Rimar and staff take a different approach to understanding your pet’s health which often reveals underlying conditions contributing to your pet’s health challenge. Rather than addressing an isolated pain or disease manifestation, Dr. Rimar and staff work to address the long-term health composition of your pet, improve your pet’s “terrain”,
and address any deficiencies that may be keeping your pet from bouncing back.
We also have a large group of patients who see us to maintain good health and use a more wholistic approach to health. We can provide standard Veterinary care for things like vaccinations, annual check ups, Heartworm prevention, Flea and Tick prevention, and annual lab work if you do not have a local Veterinarian. We frequently work in concert with your Western medicine Veterinarian and are happy to share our medical records for your pet with them and vice-versa. You can ask your Veterinarian to email us your pet’s medical record or you can bring a copy with you to your first appointment. Our goal is to work together with you, your other pet care specialists, and our team to create the best treatment outcomes for your pet.
At Veterinary Healing Arts, we provide a variety of complementary alternative care services including: Acupuncture, Tui-Na, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy, Cold Laser, and Massage. After your first visit a treatment program will be tailored-made for your pet. Our goal is to work with you to provide the best course of treatment for your pet’s health and quality of life. At subsequent visits, Dr. Rimar will examine your pet and determine what adjustments need to be made.
Acupuncture for Animals
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been used for over 2,000 years on people and animals. At a time when x-rays and laboratory testing didn’t exist, Chinese doctors developed highly refined examination techniques to diagnose and treat their patients. Today, Western science is now validating that these skills are in fact viable diagnostic techniques. Chinese doctors learned to examine the tongue and delicately sense pulses and energetic points in the body which are also now being validated by Western medicine.
A unique quality of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is that it offers a non-invasive means of diagnosis rooted in a more wholistic picture of a medical condition which often provides additional information about the health of a patient and broader options for addressing the patient’s health. By using Acupuncture, patients who cannot tolerate medications or surgery or for whom conventional medicine is out of options, we are able to provide new avenues of treatment even for chronic diseases.
Acupuncture is performed by inserting very fine metal needles (about the diameter of a human hair) into acupoints about three centimeters below the surface of the skin. These needles stimulate specific areas ranging in size from 1 millimeter to 25 millimeters. These very specific points are different than the tissues that surround them and demonstrate different electrical conductivity. Today, using an electron microscope, researchers are able to see that these points actually have a greater numbers of nerve endings and immune stem cells.
For both humans and animals, Acupuncture points form an intricate electrical communication system – a divine intelligence of the body. Acupuncture points communicate to the internal organs, sense organs, muscles, bones, and neurotransmitters on a superhighway of meridians; the points also convey information back to skilled physician with a highly refined sense of touch. 2,000 years ago, Chinese doctors used different terms to explain their findings; they often described the communication from the body and their diagnosis of the meridian system in terms of environmental states such as dampness, wind, dryness, or heat. Dr. Rimar also uses these terms and will share her diagnosis of your pet’s condition with you from a Chinese Medicine perspective.
The vitality of your pet’s system is called Qi (pronounced chee). Qi if often referred to as life force or essence. There are many types of Qi in Chinese Medicine depending on where it is located in the body. Dr. Rimar checks the life force of each of your pet’s major pulse systems during her exams. The body’s system of meridians is the superhighway Qi travels on. If Qi is disrupted or an imbalance is created, dis-ease can result.
Using Acupuncture needles, Dr. Rimar can revitalize the fluid movement Qi, rebalance blocked channels of energy, tonify erratic pulses, and quell overactive channels. The needles cause chemical changes both in the local tissue and around the nerves and vessels; this electrical and chemical change can then communicate messages to the brain and spinal cord to trigger better circulation, reduced inflammation, pain relief, and improved immune system function. You can read more about how Acupuncture works here. <link to subpage>
Sometimes added mild electrical stimulation of points is needed (Electroacupuncture), or the needles are warmed by burning an herbal stick near them (moxibustion.) If a patient cannot sit through an Acupuncture treatment, Aqua Acupuncture can be used. Aqua Acupuncture is the injection of liquid B-12 into key acupoints. Dr. Rimar has also found great success using Aqua Acupuncture on a few key points after an Acupuncture session in order to continue gently stimulating those specific points after the session thereby increasing the efficacy of the treatment.
Acupuncture provides a non-invasive course of treatment for:
- Arthritis pain
- Cruciate ligament tear (ACL)
- Post-surgical pain management
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Non-healing or slowly healing wounds
- Thunderstorm phobia
- Chronic diarrhea
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Cognitive decline in geriatric pets
Pets respond very well to Acupuncture. You may notice changes during or following your first visit – we celebrate joyously with you when that happens! Typically though it takes anywhere from three to five visits to see a major change. Depending on your pet’s health and the ability of your pet’s body to respond to treatment, your treatment plan may require weekly visits at first. Depending on the severity and length of time your pet has been sick and your pet’s body’s response to initial course of treatment, we may be able to taper your visits after that based on your observations and Dr. Rimar’s assessment.
Acupuncture works to bring the body back to strength and to its innate state of health. By working with the body’s systems, Acupuncture is a system of treatment that builds upon itself and provides cumulative benefit. Often patients are able to wean off of pharmaceutical medications and come in every so often for a tune up for conditions that require long-term treatment.
Tui-Na is a form of Chinese soft tissue manipulation. It is not chiropractic although your pet’s body may naturally adjust during a Tui-Na session. For many pets their sacrums and tails are out of alignment creating a host of problems from obsessive licking, barking/meowing/whining to acute pain and a loss of interest in food. By using Tui-Na and Acupuncture together, Dr. Rimar is often able to help your pet find relaxation, comfort and healing.
Dr. Rimar uses Tui-Na to regulate the meridians, soothe joints and promote circulation. As both a preventative treatment and as a technique to address acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, Tui-Na promotes balance in the body. Tui-Na can also be used to enhance Acupuncture (Dr. Rimar likes to say “It lines up the points nicely”) and Chinese Herbal treatments. For patients that cannot tolerate the insertion of needles, Tui-Na can provide an opening step in their treatment. Although there are many specialized techniques and uses of Tui-Na, Dr. Rimar often teaches pet parents some of the basic techniques of Tui-Na to use at home to accelerate their pet’s healing process and provide comfort to them.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Dr. Rimar is a very skilled Chinese Herbalist, she has traveled to China to learn about the traditional uses of herbs and specialized formulas used classically. She is also skilled at using raw herbs to address health conditions and often creates unique formulations for her patients when needed.
Using both modern and classical formulations, Dr. Rimar prescribes various support therapies for pet parents to use at home to help improve your pet’s condition. Herbs are provided in teapills, small capsules, large capsules, loose powder, or raw. Each formulation is designed to address specific systemic imbalances. Often you may have multiple herbal formulas to use for your pet. The impact of these formulas is cumulative and it may take a week or two for them to exhibit their influence on your pet’s health. At each appointment, Dr. Rimar will review the impact of the herbs you are using on your pet’s health. It’s important to share with our team your ability to administer the herbs in the way Dr. Rimar has prescribed. If you have any difficulties, please call our office – we have quite a few tricks up our sleeves if you have a pet who is finicky.
Dr. Rimar has been an instructor and avid proponent of using food therapy for pets. Seasonally, our pets need to use the biochemical reactions from food to adapt to the changes in their environment much like we do. Additionally, food can be used to help address many health conditions. Our office is supportive of raw food for pets when it is called for and Dr. Rimar can also create a custom diet for pets that need the added help to bolster their health. Using real foods with their energetics intact can give your pet the resources to stay healthy, itch-free, and strong.
Cold Laser Therapy
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation and laser therapy is the use of specific wavelengths of light to treat painful and debilitating conditions. Light energy enters the damaged cells and stimulates inter-cellular activity. This reduces pain in the area and speeds recovery of the damaged cells. Low level laser (also known as Cold Laser) can help reduce inflammation and lower pain for pets.
Cold Laser use also improves the ability of the body’s tissues to heal. Cold Laser is especially helpful in conjunction with acupuncture for animals that are in pain from arthritis or other joint conditions. Cold Laser also works well for:
- Post-Surgical Swelling
- Inflamed Ears
- Lick Granuloma
- Hip Dysplasia
- Disc Disease
By using a Cold Laser in conjunction with Acupuncture, we are able to improve the flow of blood to the area being treated. It also helps stimulate immune cell response and trigger the release of chemicals that help reduce inflammation. We can use Cold Laser to speed the healing time of wounds, break up urinary tract crystals (especially in cats), break up scar tissue in old wounds, and improve nerve function.
Most pets experience positive results in one to three treatments of Cold Laser therapy. The average course of treatment is seven to 10 sessions. Using just Cold Laser alone, your pet should experience greatly reduced swelling and faster pain relief. The effects of Cold Laser treatments are cumulative; by following the treatment plan set out by Dr. Rimar, your pet should experience greater improvement over time. By combining Cold Laser and Acupuncture, Dr. Rimar is able to quickly address distressing problems for your pet.
Not all lasers are the same. We are pleased to say we use the Cutting Edge Multiwave Locked System (MLS). In our research, we found this to be the premier Cold Laser system because it uses a patented combination of wavelengths. We believe this system is also the safest laser treatment system and poses little or no risk to our patients when administered by our trained technicians.