What Is Electro-Acupuncture?
Learn how electrodes and needles can help heal pets.
Electro-acupuncture, also called electro-stimulation or E-stim for short, is a form of alternative therapy in which electrodes are attached to acupuncture needles in desired acupuncture points. The wires connect to a machine through which the veterinarian can manually adjust the voltage and frequency.
E-stim is the mechanical form of hand-manipulation of acupuncture needles, such as spinning the needles in place to cause more of a nerve or immune response. The pulsating current excites the nerve endings just like regular acupuncture but with added energy.
How does it work?
Exchanging hand manipulation for a machine has many added benefits, including constant and controlled energy flow at a reduced session time as well as avoidance of tissue damage that could be caused by inappropriate needle twirling.
Electrodes are typically paired with alternating currents to sustain the transmission of impulses. It is normal to see slight muscle twitching with E-stim, similar to occasional occurrences of this phenomenon with regular acupuncture.
During the session, the pet's body usually becomes accustomed to the initial sensation, and so the veterinarian gradually adjusts the intensity of the settings to maintain effectiveness and the desired response.
What can it treat?
While many pets can benefit from E-stim, the treatment is most often used with neurolgical cases. Examples of ailments E-stim might be used to treat include:
Is my pet a good candidate?
Despite the many positive qualities of E-stim, not all pets are a good candidate. For one thing, just like laser therapy, the pet needs to sit still in order for the electrodes to remain attached to the needles.
The added excitation of nerves caused by an E-stim treatment can also cause a patient to be more tired than a typical acupuncture session. Sometimes, simply cutting back on the electric current's frequency reduces exhaustion, but other times the animal just is not a good fit for electro-acupuncture.
Patients with cardiac complications also require additional care in needle placement with E-stim treatments, specifically avoiding acupoints around the heart. Any potential E-stim candidate should experience a regular acupuncture session to see how they handle and respond to the needling treatment prior to beginning E-stim.
What Is Laser Therapy?
Learn how photon light energy can simulate acupuncture to promote healing.
"Laser" stands for "light-amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." The laser used in veterinary healing is a photon resonator with low emission, unlike the surgical lasers used for excising. Photons are essentially bundles of light energy. In fact, the way laser therapy works in the human body is very similar to how photosynthesis works in plants.
Laser treatment is sometimes referred to as cold laser therapy (CLT) or low level laser therapy (LLLT). The light emitted from one laser is all the same wavelength traveling in the same direction allowing for ideal, localized target at the affected area.
How does it work?
Laser therapy works much the same way acupuncture does--stimulating nerve endings and blood flow to promote healing at acupressure points. At the root level, it initiates mitochondrial action (known as cell "powerhouses") within individual cells. However, instead of needle insertion, light is employed for energy stimulation when using a laser.
Different classes of lasers run on different frequencies. Lower watt lasers require prolonged stimulation because they take longer to treat a point, thereby not requiring safety glasses.
Holistic vs Traditional Laser Therapy
Allopathic laser therapy tends to focus specifically on the affected area. For example, if treating a cruciate tear, the technician might hold the laser only over the injured area.
With holistic laser treatment, we remember to treat the entire body. In addition to sending photon energy directly to the injury, we would also focus on acupuncture points that correlate with healing tendons and ligaments, as well as treating other areas of the body getting strained by overcompensation.
What can it treat?
Laser therapy can treat a myriad of ailments from superficial surface wounds to deep tissue injuries and joint pain. Some of the treatable conditions include:
Is my pet a good candidate?
Some of our animal patients just don't tolerate needles (much like some human patients!). Laser therapy is a non-invasive alternative. The only sensation a pet will feel is a slight warmth as the laser travels over the body. This makes laser treatment a great option for many reactive animals or those with needle phobia--but they do have to sit still!
Perhaps the best part about therapeutic laser treatment is that there are no known side effects, making it an extremely safe practice when properly performed by a veterinary professional.
Frequency of treatment is individualized but mirrors an individualized acupuncture regimen. Ask us about laser therapy as an option for your pet!
Learn how to tell if your pet is in pain, and if so, how to effectively manage it.
Animals are experts at masking their pain, an evolutionary adaptation that protects them from appearing weak and vulnerable in the wild. This trait can make it difficult for pet guardians to pick up on their pet's comfort level. Since pets cannot or won't tell us when they are in pain, as their animal caretakers, it is our duty to work together as a team--a joint effort between guardians and veterinary staff--to recognize, evaluate, and properly manage pet discomfort.
Some signs of pain are obvious while others are more subtle. If you notice any of the following changes in your pet's behavior, it could be an indication of pain:
Rating the level of pain is important to properly gauge quality of life. Remember that no two animals showcase pain in the same manner. Some pets, for example, can be quite vocal and dramatic for minor pain while other pets masterly hide major pain.
When evaluating your pet's discomfort, keep in mind that you know their personality best. A veterinarian might point out changes he or she noticed since the last appointment that indicate pain, but pet parents are the ones who will be able to see daily changes. By monitoring your pet at home, you can assess the degree of discomfort. Ask us about our quality of life assessment and pain management checklists to help you objectively determine what your pet needs.
Semi-annual exams are vital to a pet's overall well-being because sometimes it takes the trained eye and knowledge of a veterinarian to pick up on pain cues. If your pet is exhibiting any significant behavioral changes, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Timely intervention is key to successful pain management.
Together with the veterinary staff, you will develop a practical treatment plan to best manage your pet's pain. This might include acupuncture, herbs, supplements, dietary changes, grounding exercises, massage, LASER treatment, physical therapy, altered exercise routine, prescription medications, or more.
Veggies: To Feed or Not to Feed?
Learn why vegetables are an important addition to dog and cat diets.
Commercial kibble diets have long been a cause of chronic health issues in dogs and cats. In contrast to their carnivorous wolf ancestors, domestic dogs are slightly omnivorous, but only having evolved additional carbohydrate-digesting enzymes based on their human-fed diet. Felines remain obligate carnivores.
Both dogs and cats need a meat-based diet for proper health--but that doesn't mean they should avoid vegetables (or fruits!) altogether. In fact, wild dogs and cats naturally self-medicate with plants, chewing on grass, for example, to fight nausea--or sometimes because they just like the taste!
Adding vegetables to a meat-based diet can create well-balanced nutrition for your pet. Filled with vitamins, minerals, fiber, anti-oxidants, and other phytonutrients, these plants both prevent and combat disease.
What's in a label?
Branded pet food often has misleading labels, including the list of ingredients itself. Cheap and mainstream grocery store bags are actually not as meat-based as they claim. They include the scraps of the meat--like fat--instead of the vital organ meats, and their percent content can be mostly water-based, not the crude weight of a particular ingredient.
Commercial diets are also largely corn, grain, and potato-based, which may be filling for a dog but this interferes with an animal's ability to efficiently process vitamins and minerals. Cats often develop kidney disease from being on nutritionally-deficient commercial dry food.
Veggies: What are they good for?
Here is a list of some commonly recommended mostly raw vegetable (and, technically, fruit) offerings and their benefits:
More reasons to feed veggies
The majority of vegetables, fruits, and herbs are alkaline-forming whereas meat is acid-forming in the body. Acidity overload can result in inflammation as well as decreased organ function. Creating a more alkaline environment through non-meat nutritional supplementation can improve your pet's overall well-being.
Many pets are in a constant state of dehydration which can result in kidney and urinary problems. Vegetables and fruit are filled with water.
WEIGHT LOSS & TRAINING
In addition to being great snacks for hydration purposes, veggies are ideal rewards when training pets. Overfeeding and obesity are not quite so easy with these as snacks!
How much is too much?
It is important to remember that with dogs and cats, while vegetables are excellent additives, they cannot and should not be the sole or even primary component of the animal's diet. In other words, canines and felines cannot be vegan or vegetarian simply due to their evolutionary and biological structure.
All animals differ in their nutritional needs. Humans have different requirements from goats and guinea pigs as do dogs and cats.
Additionally, remember that while most veggies are good and safe for pets, some should be avoided. Onions and raw potatoes (as well as avocados and grapes) are toxic. Garlic has many benefits but can only be given in limited amounts.
Pet Insurance 101
Would your animal benefit from pet insurance?
Choosing pet insurance doesn't have to be as tricky as picking out a human health care plan. For one thing, significantly less pet insurance carriers exist. Additionally, the majority of the providers offer only one or two plans to choose from.
What does it cover?
Unfortunately, the Affordable Care Act doesn't apply to animals. While animal rights activists continue to change the way pets are perceived, federal law still dictates that pets are property, thereby falling under property insurance coverage for legal purposes.
While most if not all of our clients would agree that pets are valid and meaningful family members, some aspects of a pet's health won't be covered by any policy. Most notably, this means pre-existing conditions. However, this does not necessarily mean hereditary disorders. Not all providers cover exam fees, prevention, or general wellness work-ups, and some cover only accidents, not illnesses.
Many policies will cover holistic treatments like acupuncture, LASER therapy, physical therapy, and chiropractic, but it's important to check before deciding on a plan. Few policies will cover supplements, but a rider can often be included to make this happen.
An added bonus: unlike human health care, all pet insurance companies let you go to any vet. Veterinary practices don't accept or decline providers; they simply file the claim (or help you file the claim) to be processed.
Is it worth it?
Pet guardians often make the mistake of purchasing pet insurance to save money. Like any insurance, it's best instead to think of pet insurance as an investment. You can put away $25 every month for three years, but if your pet is diagnosed with cancer or needs emergency surgery, expenses will far outweigh out-of-pocket savings.
In numerous instances, pet insurance can save you from the difficult decision of going into debt or having to euthanize.
After all, veterinary medicine uses the same equipment and requires comparable amount of schooling but across multiple species. In other words, there's no way to beat around these costs--unless you have pet insurance.
Pet insurance is also significantly more affordable than human health insurance (averaging $10-$80/month), and many policies have a per lifetime deductible, some with no maximum payout. Better yet, some plans cover 90% of treatment costs, which could mean 90% of acupuncture sessions are covered for life.
But keep in mind that instead of waiting for a bill from insurance to arrive, you pay the vet bill up front and then are reimbursed. The only current exception is one option with Trupanion.
Who should I choose?
While we can't decide the plan that is best for you, we can offer you some resources.
Our clients have plans through:
CBD for Pets
Natural pain relief for pets comes in the form of CBD.
The use of CBD as a pain-relieving agent in pet care is becoming a hot commodity--with good reason. Studies and testimonials support the use of cannabidiol (CBD) for a myriad of ailments, from arthritis to cancer.
At Ancient Arts, we carry CBD products in various forms: treats, liquid drops, paste, soft gels, capsules, and even balm or salve.
Hemp vs. Marijuana
Marijuana and hemp both come from the same species of plant in the Cannabis family. Cannabis plants carry cannabinoids, such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
THC is the psychoactive component of recreational and medical marijuana that gives a high, but it is absent in industrial hemp from which CBD products are derived.
What is CBD?
All mammals have cannabinoid receptors, but some process THC in a way that negatively affects them. This is why giving pets recreational or medical marijuana can have catastrophic consequences. Dogs treated for marijuana toxicity often experience extreme lethargy over the span of a few days, sound sensitivity, wobbliness, and dribbling urine or saliva.
When we talk about CBD products, we're not talking about pot for pets. Marijuana has different percentages of CBD and THC than do hemp veterinary products. Recreational marijuana has increased levels of THC (resulting in a "high") and lower levels of CBD. In contrast, medical marijuana has increased levels of CBD and trace amounts of THC, yet still enough to give a high and cause toxicity in pets.
With industrial hemp, there is only CBD, no THC, and the most notable side effect is simply sleepiness.
What does CBD help treat?
CBD is used to alleviate inflammation, pain, and suffering from many ailments including:
Ask us about CBD products for your pet. Please note that all CBD products through Ancient Arts are prescription only, requiring a current doctor-patient relationship. Schedule an annual Holistic Exam if your pet hasn't been seen by us in the past year, or a Brief Exam if it has been greater than 6 months since your last visit.
Pet Grief & Loss
How do you say goodbye to your best friend?
Animals have a way of loving us unconditionally. They effortlessly earn their place in the family as a loyal and trusted member. That's why it is so difficult to make the decision to say goodbye.
At Ancient Arts, we understand the special bond a human can have with an animal--any animal. So we wanted to let you know that there is no timeline to heal your hurting heart, and when you need to cry, you should.
When is the right time?
Euthanasia is the hardest decision you will make as a pet guardian. But oftentimes pet parents have a hard time letting go, and so they hang on to their animals too long. Pets have a way of holding on, too, to try to prevent their human's suffering. It is up to us to tell them they can let go. And sometimes they need a helping hand to cross the Rainbow Bridge.
When we begin to think of euthanasia as a gift, a peaceful ending to prolonged or unnecessary suffering, it can help us find our own inner peace to say goodbye.
Coping with Loss
Expect to feel deep sadness both before and after the loss of a pet. It is common to mourn their passing even before they are gone as we begin to sense that the end is near. The grieving process in all its five stages is a normal process to go through.
Many struggle with how to tell their children, or how to go into work the next day. Some people are hard on themselves, trying to hide their emotions. It is important to take care of yourself during this transition period, which typically takes longer than we expect. People who have never had a pet of their own tend not to understand the pain you are experiencing, especially if it is for an animal other than a dog or a cat.
Be compassionate with yourself. Nurture your feelings.
Memorializing Your Pet
There are many ways to pay tribute after you say goodbye. Decide whether a private or group burial is right for you and your pet, or if you want the ashes returned. Some people find closure by holding a funeral or sending out a postcard with memorable photos. Others make scrapbooks or send out a mass email to all those who knew the pet.
Planting new life can also help you cope with death and remember your pet. Think about adding a tree or flower bed to your pet's favorite spot in the yard or even the neighborhood. If you want to give back in honor of your pet, donate to an animal welfare group in memoriam.
While you grieve, it is important to focus on celebrating your pet's life instead of his or her death. Even years down the road, you might find yourself experiencing moments of sadness, but the fond memories you shared can help to warm your heart.
How to Treat and Prevent Fleas
Follow these steps to keep fleas off your pet and out of your home.
With the warmer weather comes insect season. Here in Washington, ticks are not nearly as common as fleas, and we tend to see fleas year-round.
It only takes one flea to causes obsessive itching and subsequent restlessness. At Ancient Arts, we carry supplements for preventing and treating flea infestations.
Flea Life Cycle
Four stages complete the flea life cycle: egg, larva, pupa and adult. After a blood meal, an adult lays up to eight eggs, totaling up to 50 in a day. Unlike most other insect eggs, these aren't sticky and can very quickly fall off of the host onto carpet and furniture. The eggs hatch within 12 days.
Larvae appear almost transparent. It takes up to 18 days before they become the pupa stage. This pre-adult phase can last up to a year. Carbon dioxide--the air we exhale--can trigger emergence from the cocoon, as can warm temperatures (like summer sun or winter heating ducts) and vibrations.
All flea stages are difficult to see with the naked eye, but adults can be spotted jumping off pets. Sometimes you'll never even see an adult flea but instead will notice flea dirt, tiny black specks in in the fur and skin.
Flea dirt can be found by combing a pet's fur backward. What will appear to be dirt is actually dried up blood meal--or flea poop. It appears black or dark brown in color.
To test if the speckles are actually flea dirt, transfer a few spots to a paper towel. Drop water or saline on them and squish the specks. If they appear orange or reddish-brown, you're looking at flea dirt. Regular dirt won't really change color.
Flea infestations can be extremely difficult--and costly--to treat if they're allowed to get out of hand. Even if you never see a flea in any of its life stages but do note flea dirt, you should treat your pet for fleas as a precautionary measure.
We carry oral tablets called Capstar to kill adult fleas. This prescription medicine should be coupled with Revolution, a scripted topical liquid product, to kill the remaining stages in the life cycle. If all stages are not addressed, the infestation is likely to recur.
It is important to note that flea prevention and treatment products not purchased directly from a veterinarian do not undergo quality control. Many pets continue to have flea issues from Revolution purchased online as the manufacturing is different.
Additionally, infestations can continue to occur if the entire home, yard and vehicle is not treated. Boric acid found most commonly in Borax laundry detergent crystals can be sprinkled around these areas for 24 hours. Frequent vacuuming and washing of sheets and clothing can also help in flea clean-up.
Diatomaceous Earth is one of the leading holistic products for preventing small infestations. We carry Parasite Dust which also contains Yarrow and Neem. This can be sprinkled on the pet and in the yard as well as around the house.
We also carry numerous all-natural shampoos and repel sprays to combat these insects. Microscopic nematodes purchased at hardware stores or pet stores can be sprinkled around the yard to consume fleas.
Please note, sometimes flea treatment requires turning to prescription medicine like Capstar and Revolution because the critters are so hardy and evasive.
Many pet parents are in denial that their beloved, clean animal could be playing host to a parasite. But pets are natural feeding stations for fleas. Animals are also curious wayfarers that are low to the ground and frequent the outdoors. It's relatively easy for them to pick up a flea on one of their adventures. Indoor pets can get fleas when the insects attach to clothes in any life stage.
Fleas are very tricky little buggers, so don't be hard on yourself if the vet notices fleas or flea dirt on your animal. Just do your best to treat and prevent!
Flower Essences for Your Pet
Have you heard of flower essences?
We carry dozens of these vibrational remedies that help express hidden energies of companion animals. Pets pick up on electrical patterns in the universe which can negatively affect how they express their energy, leading to feelings such as anxiety, fear, shyness, or anger.
Flower essences are just what they sound like--except without containing actual flowers. Instead, each liquid remedy mimics a flower's evolutionary adjustment to the wild world, guiding animals to adapt in a similar manner. Each bottle contains an imprint of the vibrations of certain flowers, all shown to have unique strengths in handling Mother Nature.
Here's a list of some common behavioral ailments we see at the clinic and the flower essences we have to alter this expression in a positive fashion.
Nervous habits can be curtailed with this flower essence. It is often used in new situations (such as moving), travel, phobias, and fear of people.
We live in a busy world, especially with the hustle and bustle of city life. This remedy can help animals build a protective barrier to overstimulation. Pets that show signs of obsessive behavior, such as licking, chewing, or pacing, might benefit from this.
Run & Play
Pets that have joint, muscle, or bone woes can get back to playtime with Run & Play drops. Arthritic and post-surgical patients are particularly excellent candidates.
With new members in the household--from babies to significant others to additional pets--jealousy can become an issue. Sibling rivalry can be calmed with a couple drops daily of this tincture.
Some animals are prone to unpredictable or even predictable aggressive behavior. This flower essence not only helps with aggression but also other inappropriate behaviors.
Pets with burnout can rekindle their fire with Phoenix Rising. Additionally, it can act to calm and restore your pet after a whirlwind experience.
As pets near the crossing of the Rainbow Bridge, Transition can aid in their passing. While it will not alter the speed at which your pet goes, it will help him or her feel ready.
Grief & Loss
Both humans and animals can benefit from this remedy when a loved one dies. It is extremely helpful in coping and healing during difficult times.
Flower essences are administered two drops daily in water dishes. They are safe for everyone in the household.
Ask us about our collection of Green Hope Farm Flower Essences--for people and pets!
Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine (TCVM) assigns a constitution to each animal patient. What is your pet's constitution?
What is a constitution?
In ancient Chinese medicine, there are five types of constitutional assessments. Some people consider our constitutional assessment to be as permanent as our genetic identity, while others recognize that we are made up of all five elements to various degrees.
The five elements that make up the Chinese constitutions are water, fire, earth, metal and wood. Each element is also coupled with an organ in the body: kidney, heart, spleen, lung and liver, respectively.
Understanding individual constitution is helpful in determining how variables--like climate, food, medicine and social interaction--will affect our health.
Unless we are actively acting on balancing the five elements, there is a strong tendency toward one element over the others, which predisposes us to certain ailments. Diseases and injuries, for example, are caused by imbalances of the five constitutional elements in the body. With animals, knowing their constitution is beneficial in determining an individualized treatment plan.
Similar to its fluid-like nature, water constitutions tend to "go with the flow." However, pets in this category might also be "wishy-washy" with an anxious demeanor and tendency to hide. As water is linked to the kidneys, it makes sense, then, that fear is known to cause renal complications.
When water constitution is in abundance, acidity may result, causing brittle bones and edema. Chihuahuas are typically known to be water animals.
Fire individuals tend to be passionate and energetic. Conversely, fire deficiency can lead to sluggishness from feeling burned out whereas fire in excess is characterized by high stress. Pets struggling to balance fire within them might experience restlessness or heart distress. Labrador retrievers are often associated with this element.
As the name implies, earth constitutions tend to be more down to earth. Elemental earth individuals are usually motherly and nurturing. Golden retrievers are often categorized as such.
In Chinese medicine, the spleen is associated with digestion as food is said to nurture the body. This means that those with an imbalance of earth in their system tend to have stomach upset. Now it makes sense when you hear people tell you not to worry or you'll get an ulcer!
Metal pets are guarded, likely to shield themselves from experiencing grief or discomfort. Due to its association with protection, metal is linked to the immune system, specifically with the immune-mediating mucous membranes that line the lungs.
It is not uncommon for metal patients to be frequently treated for coughing, asthma and other signs of respiratory distress. Greyhounds, who lead routine and regimented lives, are mostly viewed as metal types.
Wood individuals are usually assertive and go after what they want, sometimes harboring anger. When this element is weakened within the body, depression and fatigue can set in. Rottweilers, who like to communicate with their mouths and be in control, typically fall under this constitution.
When the elements are out of whack, holistic medicine can help line them up again. Acupuncture, which is aimed at restoring qi throughout the body, is an incredibly powerful tool for balancing the body's constitution. Nutrition, Chinese herbs and flower essences are especially helpful forms of treatment.