Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why Integrative Veterinary Medicine?

Guest post by Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD

We decided to turn to alternative veterinary medicine after running out of options when trying to solve Jasmine's mysterious symptoms. I believe that alternatives, such as Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), can offer valid and safe treatment options for our dogs.

I asked Dr. Patrick to share with us what influenced his decision to integrate alternative treatments in his practice.

After practicing conventional (Western) veterinary medicine for many years, I realized that there are more options to treat my animal patients than which I learned from my conventional training and experience.

As an avid yoga practitioner and general health nut, I have always tried to minimize my need to take medications by choosing nutritive food options and activities that benefited my overall health. Not that I never eat dessert, drink wine, or have a rich meal, because I do (in moderation, of course).

I found relief from chronic pain caused by intervertebral disc disease (IVDD) and arthritis (which isn’t just a geriatric disease) by taking a multimodal approach to my pain management.

I exchanged my physically rigorous Ashtanga yoga practice for a kinder, more restorative approach. I went to physical therapy to learn how to strengthen my core and better maintain alignment of my vertebral column. I had acupuncture treatments to balance my body’s energy and induce a lower stress healing state. I started taking fish oil (rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids) and high quality joint supplements to build the health of all my joints.

After sticking to a consistent regimen of treatments prescribed by human health professionals and really learning to understand my body, I am relatively pain free and minimally require any prescription or non-prescription medications for pain management.

In going through an extensive personal journey to heal myself, I felt the need to apply similar philosophy of multimodal pain management to my veterinary patients.

I got certified as a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA) by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS). My IVAS training was the springboard to creating my own integrative veterinary business.
In 2008, I started California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW), Inc. to provide house call based western and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM), to clients and patients in the greater Los Angeles metro area.

My patients’ illnesses are treated from both a western and eastern perspective, which allows me to create a treatment plan using medications, supplements, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and nutritional and lifestyle modification.

The primary treatment I offer through CPAW is multimodal pain management.

Each treatment protocol is tailored to the patient’s individual needs.

Veterinary services provided in my client’s homes create a less stressful circumstance for pets (as compared to traveling to a veterinary facility), reduce exposure to infectious organisms (pets can potentially encounter disease in the veterinary hospital environment), and allow me to focus solely on my patient.

My house call based practice of style well suits my professional interests. Additionally, owning and operating my own business has created a platform from which I can educate pet owners on a large-scale basis (via various media formats) on veterinary medical issues. I write my own pet care blog on my website (  I document the struggles and triumphs of my dog’s battle with chronic, usually terminal illness (Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia, AKA IMHA) on Cardiff’s blog (  I also provide expert perspective for media inquiries on-line, in print, and on television.

Although this process has not been easy, it has certainly been rewarding and satisfying.  I offer personal and specific veterinary services in a format that is beneficial to both client and pet.  I also enjoy directing creative energy into educational media projects that reach pet owners regardless of their physical location. By concentrating most of my time on these activities I have been able to modify my professional responsibilities into a format that permits sustainability in my ability to practice for many years to come.

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