What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the placement of very small needles at specific points on the body known as acupuncture points. Needles are inserted only into the superficial tissues of the skin and connective tissues and are rarely felt by the patient during placement. Acupuncture points are found along meridians, or channels, that run throughout the body, and work by stimulating the nervous system. In the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture promotes health and healing by restoring balance and the free flow of energy, known as Qi, within the body. From a Western perspective, by stimulating the nervous system with this needle placement, blood flow is enhanced, inflammation is reduced and pain-relieving and relaxing compounds are released throughout the body. These effects of acupuncture occur almost immediately with needle placement and duration of results is variable based on a patient’s condition. Most patients find it to be a very relaxing treatment, with many falling asleep.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is very safe, with minimal to no negative effects when performed by a trained individual. Mild bleeding or bruising at the acupuncture points is generally the only negative effect. Certain acupuncture points are avoided in pregnant or very weak or debilitated animals and direct placement of needles into tumors or masses are avoided.
How will my pet react?
Most pets do not mind placement of the needles and actually relax and enjoy their treatments. Some acupuncture points may be more sensitive than others, however, this is usually short lived and does not interfere with completion of the treatment. Pets may choose to walk around during their treatment, however most lie comfortably and rest. Needles remain in place for about 15-20 minutes and owners are always with their pet during the treatment.
What conditions does acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture may be used for a variety of conditions, both as a primary tool as well as another tool in the toolbox to support overall health and minimize disease. Some of the common conditions Dr. Pope has treated with acupuncture include;
- Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease
- Hip or elbow dysplasia
- Mobility issues or lameness
- Neurologic conditions or nerve disorders
- Intervertebral disc disease
- Wobbler’s disease or cervical issues
- Neck or back pain
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Chronic pain
- Wound healing or speeding post surgical healing
- Kidney disease
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Gastric reflux, vomiting or diarrhea
- Endocrine disorders such as dysfunctional thyroid or adrenal gland
- Breeding/Fertility issues
- Immune system support
- Conventional cancer treatment (chemotherapy or radiation) support
- Overall health, well-being and balance
How many treatments will my pet need?
Special acupuncture techniques, such as eletro-acupuncture or aqua-puncture may be utilized in your pet’s treatment plan for maximal benefit and effectiveness. Most patients require 3 treatments, 1-2 weeks apart initially to have the best response. The frequency of treatments thereafter is based on your pet’s condition and response, ranging from once every 4-6 weeks to a few times a year. A specific treatment plan will always be tailored to your pet and family’s specific needs.
Herbs And Dietary Supplements
What is Herbal Medicine?
Plants have long been used to treat symptoms, illnesses and disease. Herbal medicine, or botanical medicine, refers to the use of a plant’s seeds, berries, roots, leaves, bark, or flowers for their medicinal purposes. Depending on the medicinal compounds we are interested in using from the plant, different formulations may be recommended or prescribed. Some of the forms in which we use herbs include; Fresh, Dried, Teas, Powder, Capsule, Tablet, Tincture, Cream or Salve.
How do you use herbs to help my pet?
Most herbs are prescribed as herbal formulations, or as a group of multiple herbs. Research has found that when herbs are used in formulations, the herbs have a synergistic, or additive effect on each other, meaning they become more effective than when used alone. Doses of individual herbs can be reduced significantly as well as any toxicity from herbs generally avoided completely. Herbal formulations are always tailored and individualized for your pet for the most effective, most appropriate and safest treatment plan. Almost all of our patients go home at their initial consultation with a specialized herbal plan that was made just for them, with love, in our office!
Where do the herbs come from?
Dr. Pope uses only the highest quality medical grade and organic botanicals from licensed and reputable suppliers she trusts. As a trained and certified veterinary herbalist, she has access to physician only brands and companies, assuring the safest and most potent products. Based on the origin of the plants, and the traditional culture who first identified and starting using the botanical compounds and plants, herbs may derive from Eastern or Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western herbal therapy, Ayurveda or traditional Indian medicine, essential oils, flower essences and more. Dr. Pope has an extensive apothecary to use in the creation of the herbal prescription just for your pet.
What are dietary supplements?
Dietary supplements are meant to fill gaps in nutrition as well as provide nutrients extracted from food or manufactured synthetically. Vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, fiber and amino acids fall into this category and some typical dietary supplements prescribed by Dr. Pope include Vitamin D, probiotics, melatonin and fish oils. Dr. Pope has access to and prescribes top quality, physician only brands to ensure her patients are receiving the best products without concern for quality assurance, contamination or adulteration. Since the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the labeling of dietary supplements, over the counter products often contain fillers, heavy metals, hormones and other contaminants instead of the actual ingredient you are hoping to use to try and help heal your pet. A full evaluation by Dr. Pope to determine which dietary supplements are best for your companion, as well as help navigating the abundance of brands and products, will help to determine exactly what is needed and best for your pet.
‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’
– Hippocrates, father of medicine, 431 B.C.
Nutrition has long been used to treat and prevent disease. A healthy body condition as well as ideal weight is paramount to overall heath and longevity of life, not just for ourselves, but for our animals. Through collaboration with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, Dr. Pope is able to help each client navigate the abundance of choices available to owners when choosing what is best to feed their pet. She combines her western training in cancer and chronic disease, as well as experience and education in food therapy to choose the best ingredients to balance and support the body systems. When creating complete and balanced diets or dealing with certain disease that requires specific nutritional requirements (young animals, kidney disease, liver disease, cancer), a veterinary nutritionist is consulted for the safest and most appropriate diet recommendations created specifically for your pet. Through your consult with Dr. Pope, we will be able to help create a complete and balanced homemade plan created just for your pet with a veterinary nutritionist as well as Dr. Pope. Homemade, commercially available and various other diet options will be discussed to determine the best option for your pet and family.
INTRAVENOUS (IV) NUTRIENT THERAPY
What is IV Nutrient Therapy?
Intravenous Nutrient Therapy is when vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients are administered directly into the bloodstream through an IV drip. It is an innovative therapy that supports the resolution of numerous health problems and has been used to treat numerous conditions. For healthy animals, IV Nutrient Therapy can be considered for boosting health and preventing illness. The most commonly used IV Nutrient is Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid.
Why is Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) important to our cells?
Ascorbic acid is a nutrient that is synthesized within the bodies of dogs and cats and plays a critical role in the function of many different cellular activities. When administered intravenously, ascorbic acid becomes much more bioavailable, or accessible, to be utilized by the cells within the body. Intravenous ascorbic acid is well tolerated at doses over 100 times what can be administered orally, as these high doses would cause vomiting or diarrhea if administered by mouth.
Ascorbic acid has been studied for various roles in different cellular processes and activities. Some of these reported roles include;
- Selectively damaging cancer cells while leaving healthy cells intact
- Improved collagen synthesis, wound healing, periodontal disease and bone repair
- Antioxidant activity deep within the mitochondria (energy powerhouses) of cells
- Interactions with many other vitamins and minerals within the cells to distribute iron, Vitamin D, B vitamins and carnitine
- Inhibitor and detoxifier of nitrosamines; known potent carcinogens
- Inhibitor of glucocorticoid (steroid) synthesis from the adrenal gland
- Improved reproductive function through collagen synthesis and role in hormone production
- Protects from free radicals
- Counteracts oxidative stress in skin cells (keratinocytes)
- Stimulates the immune systems through the phagocytic (destroying) activity of white blood cells
What conditions cans Vitamin C be helpful in treating?
Because of Vitamin C’s role in so many protective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions within the body, this treatment can be used as a part of many multimodal treatment plans for a number of conditions. Dr. Pope most routinely uses Vitamin C in her cancer patients for the potential antitumor activity, however, many conditions could incorporate high dose Vitamin C as part of the treatment plan, including;
- Cancer patients to support chemotherapy side effects
- Cancer patients to improve fatigue, appetite, pain, lethargy and overall quality of life improvement
- Patients with chronic kidney disease to slow the progression of renal disease, which is believed to be an oxidative process
- Animals with a predisposition to form dysplasias of bones and joints (hips, elbows, etc)
- Skin disease with significant inflammation and oxidative stress
- Cushing’s disease due to adrenal overproduction of cortisol
- Autoimmune disease or immune compromised patients
- Healthy patients with exposure to environmental toxins and possible carcinogens
What are the side effects of Vitamin C treatment?
When performed by an experienced, and appropriately trained practitioner, risks are minimal and treatments are well tolerated and enjoyable by our patients. Because IV Nutrient Therapy is still considered investigational in companion animals, Dr. Pope ensures complete blood work and medical record review is performed and the treatment is considered safe and appropriate before prescribing. Patients are monitored closely during infusions, as gradual dose increases are recommended to ensure all patients tolerate the treatment well. Pets with a history of calcium oxalate bladder stones, or decreased kidney function may require dose changes or additional testing prior to infusions.
Stem Cell Therapy
What are stem cells?
Stem cells are the internal building blocks of all organs, tissues, blood and the immune system within the body. As early, or undifferentiated cells, stem cells are able to mature and grow into an internal repair system by regenerating tissue in any part of the body where disease and damage has occurred. Unlike other cells, stem cells can replicate and multiply for many months, dividing without limit to replenish other cells.
How are stem cells collected?
Stem cells can be extracted from various sources including bone marrow, fat or peripheral blood. The development of newer technology has allowed for the extraction of stem cells following a simple blood draw, eliminating the need for invasive procedures that were previously required (anesthesia, surgery to remove fat, or bone marrow biopsy to remove cells). Dr. Pope works with the latest technology and most advanced techniques to provide a collection method that is simple, minimally invasive and effective. Peripheral blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of human diseases since July 2014, followed by animals in January 2016.
How are stem cells administered?
Following a blood draw, which is performed in the comfort of our practice whiel your pet is awake, blood is submitted to our company’s lab in Texas. Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) as well as platelet rich plasma (PRP) are extracted from your pet’s blood and returned to our practice. The stem cells and plasma are then injected via intravenous and subcutaneous routes. These cells move to the inflamed or damaged tissues, decreasing inflammation, supporting repair and encouraging new tissue growth. Adverse effects of the stem cells have not been reported and risks are low when administered by trained individuals. Occasionally, certain conditions require injection into specific locations, such as close to the spinal cord, around the kidneys, or within the joints. If this technique is recommended, Dr. Pope collaborates with the best veterinarians, to perform this technique for your pet.
What conditions do you treat with stem cells?
Various conditions have been treated with stem cells, given their unique regenerative abilities, with additional conditions being investigated daily. Currently, some of the most commonly treated conditions include;
- Hip Dysplasia
- Tendon, ligament and cartilage damage
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Wobbler’s Disease
- Degenerative Myelopathy
- Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Auto-immune disorders
Dr. Pope is currently participating in clinical trials investigating the use of stem cells for the treatment of;
- Feline Asthma
- Canine Bronchitis
- Chemotherapy resuscitation (improving blood cell numbers during chemotherapy)
Please contact our office for more information about this, and any other treatment option or clinical trial offered at our practice.
Animal massage is deliberate and focused touching with each stroke being specific in pressure, direction and intention. The manipulation of muscles and skin promotes various physiological, neurological, and psychological effects in the animal’s body supporting both physical and emotional wellness. An animal massage practitioner uses their hands, arms and elbows to assess and facilitate optimum performance, comfort, and injury prevention depending on the needs of the animal. The practitioner may employ range of motion techniques. Massage supports homeostasis, the body’s natural desire for balance. Animal massage is never a substitute for veterinary medicine.
What is Reiki?
Reiki is a Japanese word that means “Universal Life Force” and refers the energy inherent in all living beings. Animals are very sensitive to energy and often respond very well to this subtle balancing and harmonizing treatment that affects the entire body and promotes self-healing. Reiki works in conjunction with other medical or therapeutic techniques to relieve discomfort and promote recovery while strengthening the body’s natural ability to heal.
How is Reiki performed?
Reiki is a mindfulness meditation practice done with your pet. Sometimes, the practitioner’s hands will be placed close by or on your pet with a light touch, while other times, it may be more distant. Reiki sessions for pets typically last 15-30 minutes and the frequency of sessions depends entirely on each individual animal’s health status and needs. Some health issues can be resolved in two or three sessions, while others may take ongoing sessions on a recurring basis. As with all services our practice provides, the treatment plan will be tailored to your pet’s individual needs.
What conditions can Reiki support?
Reiki techniques are intended to support healing within the body, mind and the spirit and can support animals suffering from various major and minor ailments, through;
- Stress reduction and relaxation
- Relieving tension
- Alleviating fears
- Speeding recovery and healing
- Reducing pain
- Balancing emotions and improving behavioral conditions
- Support during grief
I tell my patients to think of cancer as a weed. Modern western oncology is focused on destroying the weed…integrative oncology concentrates on the soil the weed grows in…making the soil as inhospitable as possible to the growth and spread of the weed.’
– Dr. Donald Abrams, MD
Author, Integrative Oncology; Professor UCSF Center for Integrative Medicine
When waging the war on cancer, owners want to know that they have access to all of the tools in the toolbox. Whether you choose to incorporate conventional treatment options such as surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, or are interested in less aggressive or non-traditional options, we are here to help you navigate through this tough journey. Dr. Pope has extensive experience in treating cancer patients in every scenario, from supporting radiation and chemotherapy patients experience less side effects, to developing treatment plans to use alongside conventional treatment for improved outcomes and quality of life, to increasing wound healing and minimizing scars after surgery, to treating cancer from a completely holistic approach. She can speak with you about all of your options and work alongside your pet’s conventional doctors and oncologists, or work as the primary veterinarian, to help create a safe, effective, and appropriate treatment plan for your pet’s cancer.
‘The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.
‘- Thomas A. Edison
What is preventative medicine?
Preventative medicine carries a different meaning at our practice. Through collaboration with your pet’s conventional veterinarians, we work together to provide all the tools in the toolbox for your pet. Owners seeking a wholistic approach to their pet’s veterinary care, will find unlimited resources at our practice to obtain those results. Whether you are interested in discussing flea and tick prevention, the best diet for your pet, or what other options are available to treat your pet’s disease, we can help.
Which diagnostic tests can our practice perform?
We collaborate with area specialists, universities and the best laboratories to perform additional diagnostics for our patients such as;
- Radiographs (x-rays) and Ultrasound read and interpreted by a board-certified veterinary radiologist on an Outpatient basis at a local facility
- Cytology and Aspirates of any concerning masses or lumps evaluated by a board-certified veterinary pathologist
- Core Vaccine and Rabies Titers for dogs and cats through Kansas State University
- Complete and comprehensive blood work, urine and fecal testing for evaluation of overall health and wellness
- Endocrinology panels, including thyroid and adrenal function testing through Michigan State University
- Comprehensive panels for all possible tick borne disease exposure with North Carolina State University
- MDR-1 gene mutation testing through Washington State University
- Second opinions on tumor biopsies to a private laboratory with a panel of PhD tumor biologist on staff as pathologists
- Molecular diagnostics on hematologic (blood) cancers through Colorado State University
What services are not offered at our practice?
Services not offered at our practice include surgery, dentistry, emergency care, vaccines, conventional medications, x-rays, ultrasound, sedation, anesthesia, euthanasia or hospitalization. All of our patients are required to have a primary care veterinarian, so that when these services are required, we can all work together for the maximal health of your pet!