Sponsored content: Vet’s Corner, August 2014

My pet has a diagnosis of a serious medical condition. How can Holistic Medicine help?

By Lori Blankenship, Ph.D., DVM, CVA


Often when difficult news is delivered to you about your pet, you have more questions than answers. Serious medical conditions can be helped with holistic medicine, allowing for increased comfort and longevity for the majority of our patients. There are many holistic alternatives to treating cases and keeping these animals going comfortably including acupuncture, homeopathy, essential oils, and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

During the consultation we will review past medical history and present problems. All bloodwork, x-rays, pictures, and the doctors’ notes are greatly helpful in our quest to understand and explain the disease process to you.  We are here to help you understand a medical diagnosis, as well as provide treatment options that will allow your pet to remain comfortable while also allowing them to live past their initial projected survival times.


Many conditions, which are traditionally corrected with surgery, can be treated successfully with holistic medicine. The most common surgical problems we treat successfully without surgery are disc disease and cruciate ligament tear. Last month’s article focused on cruciate ligament tear. We are able to maintain and support these patients for less cost than a surgical treatment. One of our most fun cases was that of a Shih Tzu named Merilee who presented after falling off of the couch. The next evening when she went for a walk with her owners she held her body rigid and arched.  By the next day she could not bend her head down to eat and she could not use her hind limbs. X-rays were taken showing no fractures, leaving a diagnosis of disc disease as the most obvious. In these cases, the disc between the vertebrae becomes inflamed and protrudes upwards and presses on the spinal cord. This is a common issue for little dogs with longer backs and can present quickly, like in the case of Merilee, or gradually over time. We began treatment with acupuncture and laser (light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) therapy. She was treated twice per week for a month and she began to walk again. Merilee also takes a Chinese Herbal Formula that is specifically for spinal issues. Merilee was the happiest of patients; even though she could not walk she had a great attitude!  This no doubt helped her along the way. Merilee now runs and plays like she used to, and her owners call for a treatment if she shows any signs of slowing down. She takes her herbal formula daily as maintenance.  

Fortunately, we are able to help those near and far with this form of supportive care. Molly, an 8-year-old pit bull mix, was diagnosed with a partially torn cruciate ligament in Texas. Her owners were offered surgery and joint supplements, but being holistically minded themselves, began looking for further care.  They were given our name from a family member, and we began our journey together to get Molly back on four feet again. They remained in contact with both their local vet and us throughout her journey. We prescribed a homeopathic remedy to start as well as a new diet and a few supplements to nourish her body and ligaments. This treatment helped to support her healing ligament and the uninjured ligament to prevent further tearing. After a few phone consults and some minor additions and substitutions to her diet she was back to chasing squirrels in the back yard in less than four months!

Our goal is always to treat our patients, as we would like to be treated, to find all alternatives available to allow our patients to heal quickly and safely. With the excellent supportive care from their families, Molly and Merilee healed just as we want all of our patients to heal. By working together to support them from every angle holistic and western medication can offer, they were able to avoid the stress of surgery and continue today with their new healthy living.

How are holistic veterinary consultations different from conventional medicine?

Dr. Blankenship has the unique ability to understand a case from both the Western, scientific perspective and from a holistic perspective. Dr. Blankenship’s experience in molecular biology allows her to have a deeper understanding of the molecular mechanisms of disease processes. Years of studying of holistic modalities, including homeopathy, Chinese Medicine, and Chinese Food Therapy, further solidifies her knowledge of the physical body and opens up a whole new perspective on treatments available.

Vet’s Corner is sponsored by Animals First Veterinary Service. For a house-call appointment, call 540.937.6683 or email appointments@animalsfirstvet.com

All services are offered on a house call basis Monday-Friday in Fauquier, Rappahannock, and Culpeper Counties and Northern Virginia.

Phone Consultations also available outside of travel areas!