Using Integrative Veterinary Practice to Treat Pet Illness

October 15, 2010 by admin  
Filed under Dog Health

Guest post by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD CVA

My integrative veterinary practice stems from personal experience in managing my own chronic health issues through a combination of Western (conventional) and non-conventional medical perspectives. I have achieved success in improving my well being through an integrative medical approach, I intend for my animal patients to experience similar positive benefits.

In my final year of veterinary school at The University of Pennsylvania (, I began partaking in regular, vigorous yoga sessions to challenge my physical fitness and maintain emotional balance. Yoga opened my eyes and senses to better understand the true benefits of a clear connection between mind and body.

Unfortunately, leading an athletic lifestyle since childhood caused me to suffer a series of traumatic musculoskeletal injuries. The need to manage chronic pain motivated me to reduce my reliance on medications potentially having adverse side effects. Restorative yoga, chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, healthy diet, supplements, Chinese herbs, and activity/lifestyle modification have resolved nearly all my discomfort.

After graduating veterinary school and completing a clinical internship I had a solid foundation in Western medicine and surgery. Subsequently, I attained IVAS ( certification in veterinary acupuncture, trained in Chinese herbs, and started my own Los Angeles based business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW), Inc ( Now, every veterinary physical exam I perform and determine a treatment plan. The treatment I recommend integrates both Western and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM).

Some of my patients’ conditions respond better to a treatment plan more heavily weighted in Western medicine (medications, surgery, etc). Others patients do better with the TCVM approach (food, energy therapy, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, lifestyle modification, etc).

Acupuncture treatment aims to align the body’s energy, which is imbalanced by illness, injury, surgery, and age. Most of my patients are older, arthritic dogs afflicted by chronic pain who typically deeply relax due to the release of pain relieving hormones. Patients then appear more bright, alert, and exhibit better mobility post treatment.

I also treat adult and geriatric cancer patients, who are in need of pain relief from both musculoskeletal injury and growth of cancer cells damaging healthy tissue. Most cancer patients exhibit anorexia (decreased appetite) caused by their illness or chemotherapy, so acupuncture often improves their appetite and general state of well being.

I feel grateful to have found the integrative approach (for myself and my animal patients), as it has plays a vital role in my veterinary practice.

If you would like to correspond with me about improving your pet’s wellness, please visit

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