Alternative Treatments and Supplements to Help Your Pet’s Body Pain and Joint Discomfort
Acupuncture Treatment Outcomes
by Crystal Barton-Smith
Acupuncture is a means of helping the body heal itself. It is the stimulation of specific points on the body that have the ability to alter various biochemical and physiologic conditions to achieve the desired effect. Acupuncture, in some areas, is still known as the “voodoism” of veterinary medicine. However, it has been used successfully for nearly 4,000 years on animals as well as human beings. Julie Wickel, DVM uses acupuncture alongside Western medicine for a variety of disease conditions and to decrease pain. She has had amazing results and our owners have been ecstatic about such positive outcomes. For some veterinary practices, it was standard for a “down” dog to come in, have the doctor examine the patient, decide whether or not it’s a surgical candidate, and then perform the surgery. Typically, acupuncture just “wasn’t the way to go.”
Dr. Wickel has been performing acupuncture for the last eight years. She is certified to perform Acupuncture Treatments. When asked if she typically sees a good outcome on her patients, she says yes. Dr. Wickel’s patients that have undergone acupuncture treatments have improved tremendously.
This is “Axl” Ramsay. His first acupuncture treatment was on May 17, 2007. On his second acupuncture treatment, we were able to reduce the amount of Deramax given (which is a pain medication.) “Axl” received a total of four acupuncture treatments. It worked so well for relieving his pain, that he did not need any further treatments after June 6, 2007.
Acupuncture does more than just relieve pain, it also increases circulation, causes a release of many neurotransmitters and neurohormones (some of which are endorphins, the “natural pain-killing hormones), relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves and the body’s defense system, among many other beneficial effects. The acupuncture needles cause little areas of microtrauma, causing an influx of fresh oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the treated area, therapeutically flushing away harmful toxins. Is it painful? Occasionally pets will experience a brief moment of sensitivity as the needles penetrate the skin in more delicate areas. Once the needles are in place, most pets relax and often fall asleep during treatment. Is it safe? Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available if practiced by a competent acupuncturist, and side effects are rare. After the recommended treatments, most pets are back to themselves, walking, running, and playing. It is amazing to see how the patients improve with each visit. So, acupuncture definitely has great outcomes. Acupuncture can also be used in conjunction with other supplements such as Glycoflex, Adequan injections, and a variety of Standard Process formulas. For more information on acupuncture, please see our acupuncture handout available on our website.
Joint and Connective Tissue Support
Vetri-science laboratories produces Glycoflex. Glycoflex provides joint health maintenance for puppies and dogs throughout their lives. There are three stage formulas: basic, intermediate, and advanced. It is also available for cats. The basic stage I is recommended by veterinarians for puppies and dogs with early need for joint support. Intermediate stage II is recommended for adult and maturing dogs, for sporting and working breeds, and helps support normal joint function as part of follow-up to orthopedic surgery. The advanced stage III glycoflex is recommended for dogs in need of maximum support for structure and function of joints, advanced support for joint and connective tissue health, for geriatric, retired, working and sporting breeds, and contains antioxidants which protect against free radical damage. The feline Glycoflex provides a joint health maintenance program for cats throughout their lives and is a comprehensive support for joint and connective tissue health.
There are numerous benefits to the ingredients found in Glycoflex. GlyComega from New Zealand is produced under strict government regulated standards to ensure quality and purity. The GlyComega is an edible species of shellfish that can be freeze-dried into a concentrated powder. It is rich in amino acids (building blocks that make up connective tissue), polypeptides, chelated minerals, fatty acids (essential for producing and rebuilding new cells), glycosaminoglycans (which make up the core of connective tissue), and vitamins and the nucleic acids RNA and DNA. For a more detailed list of the ingredients please click here.
All of the Glycoflex products we carry are available in chewable tablets and soft chews. Each stage is a customized formulation. Glycoflex can be used in conjuction with rimadyl, which is an anti-inflammatory medication often prescribed for limping/pain in joints. Some patients are able to reduce or even stop the rimadyl medication and just continue with Glycoflex. Whether your pet is experiencing joint pain, is a working/breeding pet, or just had an orthopedic procedure, glycoflex is a wonderful supplement.
Adequan For Arthritis
by Julie Wickel, DVM
About 20 percent of all dogs in the U.S. suffer from arthritis. This disease develops gradually over time, causing your dog pain and often preventing him from performing even the simplest of movements.
Dogs suffering from arthritis can show one or more of the following signs:
- Stiffness getting up or lying down
- Sluggishness or tiredness
- Low activity, changes in gait
- Reluctance to perform usual activities—walk, jump, run, climb stairs, or play
- Lag behind on walks
- Reluctance to extend rear legs
- Muscle atrophy (loss of muscle mass)
- Other personality or behavioral changes
Arthritis occurs in your dog’s joints. A healthy joint consists of cartilage that covers and protects the ends of the bones in a joint. The cartilage has no nerves; when it touches the cartilage of another bone, the dog feels no pain. However, arthritis causes the cartilage to wear away. This exposes the bone, which does have many nerves. So when two bones touch each other, your dog feels pain. This pain can greatly affect your dog’s quality of life.
Adequan is an injection given subcutaneously (under the skin) and can easily be done at home. It helps to block progressive cartilage deterioration and loss, relieves pain and inflammation, improves lubrication of the joint, stimulates cartilage repair process, and diminishes joint and joint fluid damage. Adequan is safe and generally well tolerated and unlikely to produce gastrointestinal upsets such as vomiting or diarrhea. Discuss with your Doctor if your dog has any liver or kidney issues.
Arthritis can be managed much more successfully when it is diagnosed and treated early in the process.
Standard Process Supplements
What is Therapeutic Nutrition and Why Should IUse Standard Process Formulas?
By Julie Wickel, DVM Therapeutic nutrition is broadly defined as the use of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, co-factors, enzymes, anti-oxidants, and phytonutrients to support the body’s immune and healing systems. It can be used as a preventative or can be used as therapy. It does not focus on food types, calories nor minimum daily requirements, but rather on metabolic and physiological effects of foods on the body’s healing and immune systems. Unlike medications, nutritional products are not designed to address symptoms or diseases, they are designed to “feed” and “fuel” the cells of the body, using or calling upon the cells’ inherent ability to heal and achieve wellness.
The goals of therapeutic nutrition fall within three broad categories which directly help to enhance wellness: 1) the supply of appropriate bio-available nutrients; 2) the reduction of inflammation; and 3) the enhancement of elimination of toxins.
Whole foods provide superior nutrition for preventing disease and giving support during illness. Their whole vitamin complexes facilitate the physiological effects of whole foods far better than synthetic isolates (such as vitamins added to pet foods). Most pets eat a diet that is highly processed. Even reputable brands made from top-of-the-line ingredients lose nutritional value on the road to becoming kibble or canned food. Synthetic vitamins and other substances are added in an effort to compensate for this nutrient loss. However, these additives create ongoing metabolic stresses that coupled with the limited ingredient selection and processing of foods leads to situations in which cellular nutritional status can be compromised, causing tissue malnutrition.
Nutritional support is best provided with products that provide whole foods and whole vitamin complexes that are derived from a variety of natural sources and appropriately match the requirements of that animal species. Whole food nutritional supplements can be utilized for preventing disease and to give support during illness.
Standard Process Veterinary Formulas are formulas that target specific systems (adrenal, heart, skin, intestines, liver, immune, musculoskeletal, kidneys, and thyroid) along with a general, multi-system Whole Body Support.
When you choose a Standard Process whole food supplement for your pet, you’re providing the pet with essential nutritional complexity and therapeutic nutrition that is essential for healing.
With the right joint supplements such as Glycoflex, Adaquan injections, and Standard Process formulas and/or alternative treatments such as Acupuncture, your pet can increase mobility and get back to the active pet you are used to seeing.