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Acupuncture and Herbs Treatment for Pets with Cancer and Chronic Diseases

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Acupuncture, herbal medicine and other non-traditional options are growing in popularity for treating pets with cancer, chronic renal failure, severe pain associated with chronic arthritis and other ailments, even extending life for geriatric patients and improving quality of life.

Acupuncture for geriatric patients, cancer treatments that start with herbs and nutrition, and alternative treatments for common neurologic conditions are among the topics veterinarians from around the world will learn about from veterinary experts during the “Level Up: Integrative Medicine” virtual summit, presented by the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC), on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 19 and 21.

“As many people are open to integrative medicine to treat illness in humans, the same approaches are now being applied to help our pets live longer and enjoy a better quality of life,” said Dana Varble, DVM, CAE, NAVC’s Chief Veterinary Officer. “The Level Up virtual summits are another example of how the NAVC is opening the door for veterinary professionals everywhere to learn about advances in animal healthcare that can be used immediately in their practices.”

Acupuncture offers an alternative treatment option for geriatric patients where conventional treatments may be difficult. During the session “Integrative Approach to Geriatric Patients,” Huisheng Xie, BSvm, MS, PhD, professor of the Chi University, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Florida and the China Agricultural University, will discuss how acupuncture can relieve pain, alleviate other illness and extend an animal’s life with a better quality of life.

“Quality of life in geriatric animals is one of the top concerns for pet owners and their veterinarians. Acupuncture works on the whole body by stimulating multiple internal systems that help the body respond to help with pain and even repair damaged tissue,” said Dr. Xie. “What we achieve with acupuncture is that the animal maintains the highest quality of life as long as possible before the end of life which we can often extend another three to five years.”

“Level Up: Integrative Medicine” summit attendees will also learn about integrative treatments for common neurologic conditions observed in general veterinary practice. Deanne Zenoni, DVM, CVSMT, CVMRT, CVA, an associate veterinarian at Tops Veterinary Rehabilitation and Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital as well as an instructor at the Healing Oasis, will lead an in-depth discussion about how exercise and hydrotherapy can be used to treat patients with degenerative myelopathy, a disease affecting the spinal cord which can lead to lameness, difficulty with stairs or reluctance to do certain activities.

“Just like in people, we target weak areas and work to help the dog maintain or regain independent mobility. Hydrotherapy is a whole body strengthening due to the resistance of the water but the buoyancy and warmth helps with improved weight bearing and range of motion of the pet,” said Dr. Zenoni. “Exercises are something that can be done at home as part of the daily routine as well.”

Additionally, summit attendees will learn how herbal medicine and diet can help a pet with a cancer diagnosis. Nicole Sheehan, DVM, CVA, CVCH, CVFT, MATP, owner of Whole Pet Animal Hospitals, will present a two-part lecture that addresses how herbs and nutrition are used, in addition to conventional treatments, to improve quality of life, maximize survival times, and provide practical strategies for pet owners to contribute to the healing process at home.

“Level Up” is a new series of virtual events developed by the NAVC and hosted on their virtual education platform, VetFolio, to help veterinary professionals take their careers to the next level. Registrants can receive up to four hours of continuing education.

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