A Holistic Approach

Holistic CareWhat Is Holistic Veterinary Medicine?

Holistic (or integrative or complementary) veterinary medicine is the examination and diagnosis of an animal that considers all aspects of the animal's life, and employs all of the practitioner's senses. Treatment is generally a combination of conventional and alternative (and complementary) modalities.

Veterinarians who practice holistic medicine want to learn about your pet's behaviors, complete medical and dietary history, and environment; including diet, emotional stresses, and other factors. A thorough understanding of your pet's health help Dr. Learman or Dr. Ballou make recommendations and provide you with the appropriate treatment options for improving your pet's health. The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and stress reduction.


Acupuncture, the stimulation of specific points on the body, has long been one of the most common types of holistic medicine for pets and humans alike. Used for millennia, the treatment is said to alter various biochemical and physiological conditions and help the body heal itself.

AcupunctureResearch has demonstrated that acupuncture can be effective for certain medical conditions. Acupuncture points contain nerve bundles, clusters of blood vessels, and increased numbers of mast cells that release histamine and other chemicals when stimulated – including endorphins and enkephalins, the body's natural pain killers.

At MapleShade Animal Hospital, we utilize acupuncture to increase the quality of your pet's general health and immune system. We also find it invaluable in treating and easing the pain associated with arthritis.

Before treatment starts, one of our doctors will conduct a thorough examination. This examination often involves an in-depth history of environmental and emotional situations that may be affecting your pet's condition, as well as palpation of certain acupuncture points. Acupuncture does not necessarily replace the use of traditional treatments for a variety of disorders; rather, it complements them. Therefore, all pets undergoing acupuncture must have a complete western workup and be treated medically or surgically as appropriate prior to acupuncture.

Treatments themselves last anywhere from 10 seconds to 30 minutes, depending on the condition treated and the specific method used. Pets are typically treated once weekly for four to six weeks, but this can vary based on the pet's response.

Laser Therapy

Reducing pain and promoting healing is one of our medical team's top priorities. To that end, we have invested in a therapeutic laser, which we use on all our patients following routine surgeries to help promote healing.

Laser therapy is a painless procedure used for post-operative care, treatment of arthritis, skin wounds and other selected conditions. The therapeutic lasers supply energy to the body as light is transmitted through the layers of skin and stimulates and accelerates the healing of damaged cells. Laser therapy causes no adverse effects on healthy cells. Laser therapy also decreases inflammation and eliminates pain, which allows your pet to quickly return to his or her normal activities.

Laser TherapyLaser Therapeutic Effects

During each painless treatment, the energy from the laser increases circulation, drawing water, oxygen, and nutrients to the damaged area. This creates an optimal healing environment that reduces inflammation, swelling, muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain. As the injured area returns to normal, function is restored and pain is relieved.

At MapleShade Animal Hospital, we utilize this technology for acute and chronic conditions – with the exception of suspected cancer.

What You and Your Pet Can Expect

Pets typically do not need to be sedated for laser therapy treatments and the experience is usually pleasant and comforting. Most pets do not need to have their fur clipped.

Improvement is sometimes seen after the first treatment; however, most pets require several treatments to achieve maximum benefits. Generally, 4 – 8 treatments produce the best results. The length and frequency of treatments varies with your pet's condition. Your veterinarian will recommend a laser treatment plan specific to your pet's condition.

Natural Supplements

The doctors at MapleShade Animal Hospital believe that in some cases using natural supplements produces improved outcomes and fewer side effects than many pharmaceutical products. Clinical and laboratory research has shown that certain natural supplements can support normal function of the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system; reduce inflammation and improve blood flow through damaged tissues; promote the differentiation, aging, and death of tumor cells; and reduces pain. In many cases, herbal or natural medicine can eliminate the need for chronic conventional medications.

The success of herbal and natural treatments varies according to the age of the pet, prior treatment history, and diagnosis.