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More Owners Turning To Holistic Medicine For Their Pets

CALABASAS (CBS) — Many people hail acupuncture as an effective alternative to medication for dealing with physical ailments. Now, there are veterinarians who say it can also help heal pets.

Southern California resident Cathy Davis said acupuncture and other alternative therapies helped her three dogs when traditional treatments weren't.

Dr. Dody Tyneway runs a holistic veterinary center in Calabasas and said she's been using acupuncture on her patients for more than 10 years.

"When they have pain they can't tolerate Western medicine a lot," Tyneway said.

"It's not drugs in their system. It works with the body's own healing capacity…and it makes the dogs feel better," said Tyneway, as she treated  Davis' dogs.

The doctor said the use of acupuncture with pets is the same as with humans: tiny needles are inserted into various points of the body, improving circulation, and releasing endorphins – the body's natural painkillers.

Tyneway explains that acupuncture has been used on animals for thousands of years. It was first practiced on large animals like horses in China.

Training and showing horses has run in Renee Baker's family for generations – as does the belief in alternative medicine.

"My father 30 years ago plus used acupuncture…if I ever needed to use it I would use it," Baker said.

Other alternative treatments are also helping pets heal faster and improve mobility: Swim therapy eases stress on joints in a weightless environment, cold laser reduces pain and inflammation, and chiropractic care and homeopathic remedies can improve their overall well-being.

"It really improves their quality of life and that's what we hear over and over again – is that their dogs are feeling better," Tyneway said.

The veterinarian said alternative medicine is not taking the place of standard veterinary care but serves as more tools to help pets recover and improve their quality of life.

Tyneway recommends animal owners consult their pet insurance to see if it covers alternative therapies like acupuncture.

For more information about Dr. Tyneway's holistic practice visit:

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