Acupuncture has been used for over three thousand years to balance the body, affecting hormones, blood flow and nerve conduction. It is employed to treat a variety of conditions and can often reduce dosages or decrease side effects of conventional medications. Treatments are performed by our licensed veterinarian and acupuncturist, Dr. Amy Birdwell.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of hair thin needles, which create a tiny pinch when they go through the skin. After a short time, your companion usually feels relaxed and may possibly fall asleep. Following treatment, many pets will feel the effects of an endorphin release, and will have a similar relaxed feeling that one experiences after a rigorous session of exercise.
Chiropractic care is an approach to healthcare which supports the health of the neurologic and musculoskeletal systems. An “adjustment” (also known as spinal manipulation) is a gentle manipulation of the spine and the extremities which restores motion to a joint that is not moving through its normal range of motion. This can help restore the body’s balance, or homeostasis. A subluxation is an area of the joint which is not moving through its normal range of motion. When an adjustment is performed, it relieves this subluxation, restoring the normal function of the nervous system. This can relieve pain and help resolve lameness. Most animals enjoy their adjustments, and our repeat visitors often lay down and relax shortly after their treatment.
Chiropractic care can often reduce dosages or decrease side effects of conventional medications. After their chiropractic adjustment, many pets will feel the relaxing effects of an endorphin release similar to what one might experience after vigorous exercise. Some may experience temporary soreness, but should feel better in 1-2 days.
Dr. Amy completed her chiropractic certification in 2019 and maintains her certification with continuing education.
Like acupuncture, herbs are used to help the body return to its natural homeostasis, or balance. Herbal medicine can be used to treat a variety of conditions, but is most useful in chronic conditions. Herbs are used to maintain the body between acupuncture treatments, and can lengthen the time between visits.
It is best to consult someone trained in herbal medicine before giving your pet herbs. Dr. Birdwell has completed over 150 hours of continuing education for Chinese herbal medicine and written papers to become certified in veterinary Chinese herbal medicine. She has been using herbs in her practice since 2013.
The foods that our companions eat can also affect their body’s homeostasis, or balance. Processed foods, such as dry pet food, can cause issues over time. We will often recommend adding foods on top of conventional pet foods (especially vegetables) to help reduce signs of illness.
Sometimes switching to canned food instead of dry is the only change needed. A home cooked, balanced diet can be very helpful in some cases, and if you would like to try this option, we can discuss the benefits in your pet’s case.
Internal medicine conditions
We are pleased to offer a variety of diets, compounded medications, pet supplies and herbs through our online pharmacy. These items will be shipped directly to your home once approved.
Prescription items must be approved by Dr. Amy. Please allow 7 days for approval and shipping for refills.
After Dr. Amy talks with you about your companion’s history and does a thorough physical exam, we will form a treatment plan. This may include both conventional veterinary care recommendations and more holistic options. She believes that both options have benefits. Conventional veterinary care can often give a quicker result, but sometimes there are side effects with these medications. Herbal medicine, food therapy and acupuncture are more gentle and address the underlying cause. However, they often start off slowly balancing the body, taking 1-4 weeks to work. If your pet needs diagnostic tests such as blood work or imaging, this will be coordinated with a veterinarian that you are familiar with or one that is close by.
Hospice care for our furry companions is focused on their needs and the needs of you (their family) near their end of life. This includes pain relief for them, emotional and spiritual support for you and some preparation for their death, though it seems we are never fully prepared for this loss. Our companions share their hearts with us when they are here, and we want our last bit of time with them to be as peaceful and joyful as possible. At Pawsitively Healing, we are here to support all of you and to help with decisions about euthanasia or a peaceful passing at home. Additional support can also be found at The Pet Loss Center, where there are support groups both in person and online for families going through this difficult time.
WHEN TO SAY GOODBYE
We share such a close bond with our family companions, and this time, though difficult, can be a beautiful and peaceful experience for your family. Many struggle with the timing of euthanasia, and as long as the decision is made out of love, you will make the decision at the right time for your pet. You are the one who knows them best, but it is a decision that we make together, giving you options for treatment and pain management if available for a particular illness.
EUTHANASIA IS DEFINED AS A GOOD DEATH
Euthanasia usually involves the injection of a sedative first. Your pet will feel a slight pinch as the drug is injected under the skin. Then we have some time for you to be with your companion as they get sleepy—usually 5-20 minutes.
Next we inject an overdose of anesthetic in the vein. Since your pet is sedated, they do not feel this injection. After this injection, pets pass away quickly and peacefully—usually in 2-10 minutes.
CARE OF REMAINS AND MEMORIALIZATION
We have partnered with The Pet Loss Center in Austin who can help with your pet’s final arrangements. After your pet passes away, you can spend as much time with your companion as you wish. We can transport your companion to The Pet Loss Center for you after they have passed. If you would like more private time to say goodbye, you may bring your companion to The Pet Loss Center, where they have a private visitation room.
There are several options for body care, which can be discussed at the time your pet’s euthanasia is scheduled. The Pet Loss Center offers several options for memorializing your pet, including paw prints, photo frames and locks of fur. This can be a way of helping your family heal from this loss.
The following links provide information and resources for coping with the loss of your pet.