Healthy dogs…Do you need a vet who practices alternative medicine?

Chloe at 17Healthy dogs and their caregivers want them to stay that way…healthy!

From personal experience I can say that, especially as your dog ages, alternative or integrative care is a wonderful option to consider. As dogs age, conditions like arthritis and organ issues can trigger a traditional vet to prescribe drugs that may be avoided or at least postponed with an integrative veterinarian. Integrative medicine will include herbs, chiropractic, and acupuncture incorporated with traditional vet care. If the term “integrative veterinarian” is new to you, I can assure you, it is new to many people. An integrative veterinarian is one who combines conventional veterinary medicine and holistic medicine.

I fell into a long relationship for my dog with an integrative veterinarian quite by accident. Many years ago, I had a wonderful dog who, at 8 years old, suddenly started having severe neck pain. He was put on Rimadyl by a traditional vet for two weeks. It was a miraculous turn around…until they took him off the drug. Then we were right back to him trembling with pain.

I found a veterinary chiropractor who travelled between 3 different clinics treating dogs. Two chiropractic visits later and some prescribed “puppy range of motion exercises” as I called them, and my dog was fine! No drugs at all!!

About 10 years later, with another unbelievably wonderful dog, I ended up in an emergency vet clinic at 5:30 am one Saturday morning. My 14 year old dog, Chloe, who had been fine the night before could barely stand; if she shook, she would flop over. $1,300 later we had no answers, and worse that the huge bill, Chloe was still in excruciating pain! We were sent home with pain pills and no answers.

The following Monday, I found my chiropractor who had since opened his own Integrative veterinary practice. I took Chloe in, and after two visits to adjust a pelvis that was out, she was fine!!!!!  Hello!!!  No drugs; just the cost of a total of two chiropractic visits!

I strongly endorse integrative veterinary medicine. Conventional and alternative medicine can complement each other. This approach is the most open minded as this type of vet can look at a variety of options to choose what is best for your dog rather than just approaching the situation from only one perspective.

We lost our Chloe a month ago today. She was under the care of Dr. Randy Caviness at Integrative Animal Health Center in Bolton, MA ever since he adjusted her pelvis at age 14. She had a long, wonderful life; she was 17 ½ years old. Thank you, Dr. Caviness, for the wonderful, all inclusive care you gave our Chloe.

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About Cheryl Major

Cheryl Major has been a volunteer at The Buddy Dog Humane Society in Massachusetts for 14 years, and has been on their Board of Trustees since 2008. Her blog,, is a labor of love. She has also been involved in passing animal protection legislation at the city and state levels and was a regular guest on New England Cable News (NECN) for their "Adopt a Pet Segment". This blog is dedicated to the joys and challenges of dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages with whom we share our lives.

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