Pets in pain: Caring for your ailing dog or cat can be this easy

Physical therapy for your pet offers similar benefits as human treatments

Seeing your dog or cat in pain is not something any pet owner wants, as it often leads to giving multiple medications to ease discomfort or saying goodbye sooner than hoped.

Often when pets slow down, owners feel it is simply due to aging. In fact, there may be an underlying condition causing the discomfort. As pets age, they become weaker and like us, their muscles shrink from disuse. Physical therapy can strengthen those muscles, improving their everyday lives, says Dr. Jennifer Mead, owner-operator of Integrated Veterinary A.R.T.S.

“If we recognize some of these subtle signs sooner, like not wanting to climb stairs, go on walks, or moving around a lot at night to get comfortable, there are more things we can do than simply write a prescription,” she says.

You have local options for your pet

Alternative/complementary treatment is available right here in Kitsap County. Dr. Mead is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and rehabilitation therapist who has witnessed dogs and cats, especially older/arthritic animals – respond well to these types of treatment.

“Some of the saddest things I saw on emergency were animals in discomfort, not on any sort of pain medications and owners requesting euthanasia as they did not know what other options were available,” she says. “I chose to pursue additional training in acupuncture and rehabilitation therapy to help reduce that discomfort and improve their quality of life.”

Post-surgery pain can be manageable

If your animal undergoes surgery, or sustains a traumatic injury, you have an opportunity to help them recover more quickly, she says. “Just like in us, rehabilitation (physical) therapy increases the odds of that surgery being successful, the recovery time being shorter and the pet returning to normal activities sooner and with less discomfort.”

Cats less likely to show pain than dogs

Usually, Dr. Mead says, felines show very subtle signs of discomfort, such as hiding more, not sleeping in the window or on the bed as before, missing the litter box or decreased grooming. Discomfort could come from a variety of sources, ranging from injuries to arthritis, but treatments like acupuncture or laser therapy can help make them more comfortable and energetic.

No need to drive to the big city

Your time is valuable and you may not want to subject your dog or cat to a long vehicle ride. With services available in Poulsbo and Gig Harbour, there’s no need to drive all the way to Seattle or Tacoma for your pet’s rehab services.

Dr. Mead is constantly learning about new therapeutic techniques, always striving to improve a pet’s quality of life and is working towards incorporating musculoskeletal ultrasound, herbal and food therapy and massage therapy to her list of services. She also hopes to offer hydrotherapy in the near future.


For more information about Integrated Veterinary A.R.T.S. services, visit integratedvetarts.com, contact Dr. Mead at 360-710-9526 or email her at info@integratedvetarts.com. You can also follow her on Facebook.

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