Alternative medicine for cats is growing in popularity among cat owners. So why is it so popular? Many pet owners claim that the benefits are many and the risks are few. Still, the best option is to use alternative modalities to complement conventional medicine.
So how do you know which is the best alternative modality for your cat? The first step is to consult your vet. He or she will help you to evaluate the different types of alternative medicine for cats. He or she can also refer you to a qualified practitioner.
Gathering information is another important step. Below you will find general information on several alternative healing practices to help you choose the right therapy for your cat. But before we go into details, let's define alternative medicine.
In the Western Hemisphere, alternative medicine refers to any type of healing practice that is not considered conventional medicine.
Alternative medicine is categorized along with complementary medicine (nonstandard medical practices). Massage therapy, the Alexander technique and dietary supplements are considered complementary treatments.
In many instances, alternative medicine is used in conjunction with standard medical treatments.
Not too many decades ago, alternative medicine was only available to humans. Luckily, many veterinary hospitals and clinics now offer alternative treatments for pets. Some of the alternative practices are:
Feline acupuncture. This form of traditional Chinese medicine has been around for over 3,000 years. Acupuncture focuses on unblocking life energy (chi) and/or balancing the body’s energy. This practice employs the insertion of needles and it can also be used in conjunction with other treatments, including acupressure and herbal supplements.
To find a qualified veterinary acupuncturist, you can ask your vet or visit the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture to access their directory.
Animal chiropractic treatment – Just like their human companions, cats and other animals can benefit from this therapy. Veterinary chiropractors use their hands to manipulate and align the patient’s joints with the goal of improving his or her health. Some of the conditions treated with animal chiropractic adjustments include: muscle pain and spasms, arthritis and joint pains.
To learn more and to find a qualified animal chiropractor, visit the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. Keep in mind that not all doctors in chiropractic are doctors of veterinary medicine. Ideally, you should work with a licensed vet who is also a certified chiropractor. Most states require that non-vet health practitioners be supervised by a licensed veterinarian in order to treat pets.
Herbs. Herbal medicine offers many advantages to pets. Here are some benefits to consider:
- Herbal treatments are gentler than traditional treatments.
- They usually have less side effects.
- Herbal remedies are easier to administer than pills and other conventional medications.
In addition, you can use herbal remedies to treat a range of afflictions, particularly chronic conditions, including allergies, arthritis, asthma, dermatitis, and urinary infections. Consult your vet before deciding whether this option is the best alternative for your cat. You must also make sure that the herbal remedy you use does not conflict with any medication your cat is taking.
For more information on herbal remedies for cats, please visit Herbal Remedies for Cats from Natural Cat Health Remedies.
Homeopathy. This type of alternative medicine was discovered by Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, chemist and translator. It is a system based on the idea that "like cures like". In other words, he concluded that the drug that causes the symptoms of the disease can also cure it. Practitioners of homeopathy indicate that homeopathic medicines are safe and have no side effects. Luckily for our cats, you will find veterinarians who also specialize in veterinary homeopathy.
Visit the The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy site for additional info.
Massage therapy– This type of modality helps pets loosen their muscles and improve their circulation. A massage will also help them relax.
To learn more about animal massage therapy and find a trained animal massage therapist, go to the International Association of Animal Massage & Bodywork. Do consult with your vet to determine if this type of treatment will benefit your cat.
The effectiveness of alternative medicine for cats
Do these therapies work? Even though alternative medicine has been around for some time, it is relatively new when it comes to pets. Therefore, there are few studies to determine its effectiveness. However, many veterinarians and other animal health practitioners have obtained positive results from these modalities of alternative medicine for cats. They also report few side effects.
I think that the best approach is to use a combination of traditional veterinary practices with alternative medicine.
There are many types of veterinary alternative medicine available. But as I said before, consult with your vet to determine which type of alternative medicine for cats is the best choice for your pet.