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A Healing Touch

A Healing TouchA Tufts graduate is among a growing number of veterinarians turning to chiropractic care and other non-western therapies as new ways to treat animals. Concord, Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [01.09.02] Though her training in chiropractic care may seem a bit unusual for a veterinarian, Dr. Mary Kahan's skills are in high demand. Part of a growing national trend, the Tufts-trained veterinarian is expanding her traditional roster of treatments to include Eastern techniques to treat animals in pain.

"It's incredibly popular," Kahan told The Boston Globe, explaining the demand for veterinarians who can perform chiropractic care on animals. "People love it and the horses love it and they respond wonderfully."

Doc, a 13-year-old draft horse, is one such patient.

After turning up lame, his owner brought the ailing horse to see Kahan -- hoping the graduate of Tufts' School of Veterinary Medicine could bring him some relief.

"I would like him to have a quality of life where he's not dead lame all the time," owner Ron Levesque told the Globe. "There are some days he can't move."

The results from Kahan's session with Doc seem to indicate why more and more veterinarians and pet owners are turning to alternative treatments for animals.

"Kahan got to work stretching his neck and legs, feeling for abnormalities along his neck and spine and, finding the right spots, finally pushing with the heels of her hands to make chiropractic adjustments," reported the Globe. "Not an easy feat in Doc's case. He weighs between 1,600 and 1,700 pounds."

According to the newspaper, the horse was visibly more relaxed and mobile after Kahan's session with him.

A "veteran" in alternative medicine for animals, Kahan has been performing acupuncture on pets for 13 years. She added chiropractic training to her resume three years ago.

Across the country, many veterinarians have followed suit.

The Globe reported that Kahan is among 13 veterinarians in Massachusetts and nearly 600 around the world with post-graduate training and certification in chiropractic treatments for animals.

"I think in part there is a consumer demand for alternative therapies and there are many veterinarians who find value in having a range of treatment options," Susan Weinstein, the executive director of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association, told the Globe. "There is a growing roster of veterinarians practicing alternative therapies in addition to their Western training."

For Kahan, it's just one more available treatment option to improve an animal's quality of life.

"You have miracles, for sure," she told the Globe. "Most of the time, you get what you'd expect: you help the body gradually get better."

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