Utah vet uses acupuncture to help pets heal

Posted on: 12:04 am, November 6, 2013, by , updated on: 12:01pm, November 6, 2013

Thousands of Utah pet owners are now seeking alternative medicine treatments for their pets.

Zin, a 6-year-old greyhound, used to be a racer. Although Zin’s racing career is over, the dog still loves to run like a champion, which can lead to injuries.

Zin’s owner Kathy takes the dog to Dr. Kim Henneman at Animal Health Options in Park City.

Although traditional surgeries are needed to treat injuries like fractures, Henneman says alternative therapies can be used to assist in and often speed up the recovery.

Because she found a problem with Zin’s flexor muscles, Zin will get laser and ice, plus a brace to help heal the tendon. The laser is used to stimulate the healing function of the cells and reduce inflammation.

Henneman built Animal Health Options to be a place where western and eastern medicine could be practiced. Many holistic therapies are integrated with traditional medical care at the facility.

Dr. Henneman is one of 15 people in the nation with advanced training in acupuncture, and she’s one of the first veterinarians certified in chiropractic medicine for animals. Henneman is the only specialist in Utah in sports and medicine and rehabilitation for animals.

Henneman said holistic medicine on animals has been used in the United States for the past 50 years, but, for many, it’s a new discovery.

Earlier this year, the American Veterinarian Medical Association voted to allow the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture to be a member of its policy delegation.

“Any treatments should be performed by a licensed veterinarian with additional training and certification in acupuncture,” a statement from the AVMA said.

Now, a whole generation of vets are going to school specifically because they want to perform integrative therapies on animals.

Those vets are learning acupuncture for animals at schools like Tufts, U.C. Davis, Colorado State, University of Florida and Auburn University.

In Utah, the state’s Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing licenses veterinarians and acupuncturists under separate categories. Caregivers’ credentials can be looked up on DOPL’s website.

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