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Holistic Healing For Pets

Holistic Healing For PetsAt the forefront in veterinary medicine, Tufts' veterinary school is the second in the country to teach acupuncture for pets.

No. Grafton, Mass. [09.04.01] An ancient Chinese tradition, acupuncture has been used by people for centuries to treat a host of medical ailments. But experts at Tufts are teaching veterinarians how to expand the use of the holistic treatments to a new set of patients -- animals.

"More and more people are turning to alternative medicine," Tufts' Mary Rose Paradis -- an associate professor at Tufts' School of Veterinary Medicine -- told the Associated Press. "They find it useful for themselves, so they want the same treatments for their pets."

Veterinary schools like Tufts are among the first to teach their students about holistic treatments for animals.

"It's sort of oozing into the curriculum," Tufts' Anthony Schwartz, the associate dean for academic and outreach programs at Tufts' Veterinary School, told the Boston Globe.

The acupuncture treatments for animals are very similar to those used on humans.

"Needles about the width of a horse's hair and less than two inches long gently prick the skin to target pressure points that can relieve chronic pain, ease stress and, some say, promote healing of internal organs," reports an article in the Toronto Star.

The use of acupuncture and other holistic approaches has slowly grown in popularity among veterinarians and pet owners. And Tufts has one of the first veterinary schools in the country to teach courses on the methods.

According to Dr. Allen Schoen, an adjunct professor at Tufts, universities play an important role in the growth of holistic treatments.

"Besides research, [Schoen said] universities need to acknowledge holistic medicine to enhance its reputation and give it more widespread acceptance," reported the New York Times.

Already, many pet owners are convinced of its effectiveness.

Barbara Callaghan -- a pet owner who took her dog to Schoen to try holistic treatments -- said she believes the unconventional approach works.

"[Schoen] did acupuncture and I saw immediate results," Callaghan told the Times.

While holistic medicine won't replace conventional treatments, Schoen said it has a valuable role in veterinary medicine.

"No form of medicine has all the answers; it's taking the best of both," he told the newspaper.

Schwartz agreed. "It's knowing the limits of what you are doing and not going beyond those limits," he told the Globe.

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