Multimodal Pet Care Breathes Fresh Air into Bellingham’s Veterinary Community

Have you ever held your breath while waiting in the lobby of a veterinary clinic with your trembling pet? Consider this. Your breathing pattern is noticed by your pet who is looking to you for comfort. Try this. Breathe in… “I’m here to seek help.” Breathe in… “I’m meeting the needs of my beloved companion the best I know how.” Breathe in… “Pet wellness involves a cohesive team consisting of me, my veterinarian, and my pet”. Breathe in… “I get to be in charge of choosing my vet.” Breathe all of this in, hold it for a few seconds and then exhale, visualizing your healing intentions entering the consciousness of your vulnerable friend.

One way to generate a peaceful breathing pattern throughout the medical history of your pet is to choose a path of integrative pet care. The first step is finding a vet that best fits the needs of both you and your pet. The good news is that Bellingham is home to a diverse array of practicing veterinarians, each with a unique style based in the foundation of western veterinary medicine. Some of these veterinarians have also ventured into the realm of integrative care, including a few that practice exclusively holistic medicine.

If your chosen veterinarian doesn’t have all of the services you are seeking for your pet, then consider putting together a team of healthcare providers. Depending on your needs and your budget, your team could include a combination of any of the following certified providers: a general veterinary clinician, a holistic vet, various veterinary specialists that your veterinarian might refer you to, a veterinary chiropractor, a certified pet massage therapist, a veterinary physical rehabilitationist and/or hydrotherapist, and/or a veterinary acupuncturist. In Bellingham the veterinary community has proven to have a collaborative spirit that is open to integrative pet care strategies.

Holistic veterinary care includes acupuncture/TCVM (traditional Chinese veterinary medicine), chiropractic, massage, NAET, homeopathy, herbal medicine (western, eastern, and Ayurvedic), food therapy, etc. The words holistic, alternative, and complementary are often used interchangeably when referring to these therapeutic modalities as a whole. Western medicine is often referred to as conventional or allopathic medicine. Integrative medicine encompasses all of these modalities.

A nice twist to add to your pet’s healthcare is acupuncture. Perhaps you’ve already dabbled with its powerful healing properties for yourself, as Bellingham is no stranger to this modality for humans. The first to introduce this skill to our veterinary community was Dr. Michelle Schraeder of Mountain Veterinary Hospital in the late 1990’s. Now, in step with the rest of the country, acupuncture is fast making footprints in the veterinary community of Bellingham.  There are presently at least half a dozen certified, local veterinary acupuncturists to choose from.

Once you find your way to the office of a veterinary acupuncturist and the treatment has begun, tune in to your own breathing, the breathing of the doctor, and then most importantly to the breathing of your pet. Know that with the placement of every needle, that vital element that we all know and love, oxygen, is riding your pet’s Qi express train to meet the healing needs at a cellular level. This effect is driven by complex neurohumoral mechanisms that ultimately result in increased blood flow and pain relief. You may initially recognize an increase in respiratory rate soon followed by a deeper, more relaxed breathing pattern. This is good, and it correlates with a pleasant feeling for your pet. Acupuncture helps the body to reset to its balanced state.

Acupuncture is a useful adjunctive treatment for many medical conditions including pain management, organ dysfunction, injuries involving muscle, tendon, nerve/spinal cord, or bone, degenerative disorders, geriatric care, cancer, allergies, epilepsy, endocrine disease, immunemediated disease, ocular disease, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

No matter which combination of pet care modalities you wish to try, you can breathe a deep sigh of relief knowing that you can probably find what you are looking for right here in Bellingham.

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