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Quality of Life

 

Quality of Life

What does quality of life really mean? There have been attempts to make a qualitative statement into a quantitative statement by assigning a scale to measure this for our pets. Really, though, it means freedom from physical and psychological distress. For our animal friends it would mean access to food and shelter, and freedom from pain.

We know how to provide food and shelter, but how do we help physical pain? There are many ways including pharmaceutical drugs and healing therapies. A medication can provide “bandaid relief” while the body heals itself. We can assist the body to heal itself with a myriad of therapies from old fashioned bed rest to acupuncture. Animals will continue to over use an injured body part when they are on pain medications, so rest must be enforced to prevent further injury. Acupuncture releases endorphins which reduce pain and bring circulation to injured areas. Dogs with spinal injury will relax and fall asleep with acupuncture, and can often avoid back surgery.

Herbal medications can help with gentle anti-inflammatory effects without side effects. Chiropractic care restores balance for pain-free movement. Homeopathics, such as Traumeel, can energetically balance conditions rapidly. Supplements, such as glucosmine, can assist the body’s enzyme pathways to healing.

Holistic veterinarians use many tools to help their patients. Rather than only prescribing a pain killing medication, they seek to discover the cause of problems to restore wellness. For example, undiagnosed hypothyroidism can lead to musculoskeletal injuries. Improvement in diet can lead to ideal weight and provide critical nutrients for healing. Holistic veterinarians will also address any psychological distress the pet and owner are experiencing. They provide counsel on behavior issues, sometimes adjusting the diet to address chemical imbalances. Elder pets benefit greatly from hospice care which addresses patient comfort and all quality of life issues.

We would agree that animals experience pain in a different way than humans do. Their survival instinct is great and their tolerance can be amazing. When chronic pain and imbalance are gone, some dogs will start to “act like a puppy again” and we all feel great when that happens!

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April 10, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment