Integrative Medicine: A Personal Approach to Pet Care

Your dog is scratching and licking relentlessly to the point of inflammation and infection. Your cat is lethargic, not eating and urinating often. Treatment using conventional medicine like antibiotics, corticosteroids, antihistamines or shots of insulin is the type of pet care we expect.

Sometimes that’s not enough.

Any therapy that does not fit the definition of conventional veterinary medicine is usually referred to as “alternative or holistic veterinary medicine.” This type of medicine includes therapies such as herbal remedies, homeopathic treatments, acupuncture, food therapy, laser treatments and massage. Often alternative medicine can complement conventional medicine—using herbs to enhance natural insulin production or reduce nausea, performing acupuncture to relieve pain, or applying laser therapy for better healing. Together, conventional medicine and complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) can offer effective, scientifically-proven treatment of diseases and symptoms.

However, there’s an even more personal approach to healthcare for your pet: integrative medicine. 

Pet care that considers all therapeutic options is integrative medicine.

Oakley is relaxed and ready for acupuncture with Dr. Ashlea Erk.

Integrative medicine is not an “either-or” solution to combining conventional and alternative medicine for treatment of an illness. Integrative medicine is a comprehensive approach to wellness and healing that takes the patient as a whole—in this case, your dog or cat—into consideration when looking for the best in pet care and treatment outcome.

“One size fits all” in conventional medical care is not always effective—genetics and lifestyles can differ dramatically. When the principles of integrative medicine are applied to pet care, then healthcare is about selecting and blending the appropriate use of therapeutic options in order for the body to effectively respond and heal. Additionally, promoting optimal wellness by keeping pets vibrantly healthy and preventing illnesses are core principles of integrative medicine.

Dr. Ashlea Erk has been successfully treating clients with mobility issues and pain management using veterinary acupuncture. With the recent addition of Dr. David MacDonald, who is certified in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), including acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, Doylestown Veterinary Hospital (DVH) expands the range of therapeutic options available to patients and area pet owners.

“Integrative medicine allows the medical team to provide highly individualized pet care. We can consciously choose from a wide variety of therapies to accomplish the proper balance for a healthy life or a unique solution to more effective treatment of a chronic illness,” explained Dr. MacDonald.

Discounted Wellness Plans at DVH are another piece of the integrative approach that make healthcare convenient and cost-effective year-round. When your pet’s care includes regular wellness visits and preventive care, it’s an opportunity to build a relationship with your pet and a partnership with you, the pet parent.

Your pet means the world to you! When it comes to the health and longevity of your dog or cat, you are willing to go the distance with your best friend. Integrative veterinary medicine is the type of pet care you’d expect: wellness care from the first year through the senior years and a full range of conventional and CAVM therapies. At Doylestown Veterinary Hospital, integrative medicine is Modern Medicine with Old-Fashioned Care!