Complementary Medicine Modalities

The most commonly used modalities among integrative veterinarians include:

AcupunctureAromatherapyChiropracticFlower EssencesHerbsHomeopathyLow Level Laser TherapyNutritionOsteopathyOzoneReikiStem Cell Therapy


Acupuncture involves very fine needles inserted at specific points for disease prevention and/or treatment. Problems that are often successfully treated using acupuncture include musculoskeletal disorders (such as arthritis), intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), skin problems, and heart, kidney, and GI disorders.

Training in veterinary acupuncture entails 130-140 continuing education hours and takes 3-5 months. Veterinary acupuncturists learn anatomical, physiological, and historical aspects of acupuncture, needling techniques, diagnosis and treatment methods, and lab practicals. The Chi Institute offer Traditional Chinese Medical Acupuncture, whereas Colorado State offers Evidence-Based Medical Acupuncture. Prerequisites are a 4th year veterinary student or veterinary license. Certification will include a combination of written exams, case reports, performance practicals, point location practicals, and/or internship.


American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture

Chi University (Reddick, FL)

International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS – Course location varies)

Curacore (Ft. Collins, CO)



Aromatherapy is the inhalation, ingestion or topical application of plant oils, called essential oils. They are used to improve physical, mental, and emotional well-being or to treat specific diseases.


National Association For Holistic Aromatherapy


A non-invasive health care practice based on the relationship of the nervous system to the spinal cord. Correction of subluxations (dis-relationships between two bones) allows the nervous system to function at an optimal level. A chiropractic adjustment is defined as short lever, high velocity controlled thrust by hand or instrument that is directed at specific articulations to correct vertebral subluxations. It comprises the adjustment of vertebral joints, extremity joints, and cranial sutures. It includes evaluating the patient’s history, intended use/athleticism, health state and prior radiographs and tests. A chiropractic exam includes a neurological exam, stance and gait analysis, and motion and static palpation.

The American Veterinary Chiropractic Association is the largest body of practitioners (DC/DVM) in the world. Certification: 220 hour postgraduate training course and rigorous certification with continuing education.


Healing Oasis Wellness Center (Sturtevant, WI)

Options for Animals (Wellsville, KS)

Health Pioneers Institute (Naperville, IL)

Animal Chiropractic Education Source (Meridian, TX)

Parker University (Dallas, TX)

Veterinary Chiropractic Learning Center (Brantford, Ontario)

BackBone Academy for Veterinary Chiropractic and Healing Arts (Germany)

Chi University (Reddick, FL – not AVCA accredited)

Flower Essences

bach rr

Dr. Edward Bach, a British homeopath developed a collection of 38 remedies that correspond to common emotional states. Perhaps the most famous is a blend of five remedies known Rescue Remedy, which can be used for crisis stressful situations.


Nelson’s Natural World Original Bach Flower Remedies

The Bach Centre



Herbal medicine has existed as long as humans have, and in fact the word “drug” originates from the French word “drogue,” meaning “dry herb.”

Herbal medicine today is typically studied in the broad categories of Western herbal medicine, Chinese herbal medicine, and Ayurvedic medicine.

Each of these systems is quite different, and each also relies on an approach to diagnosis and treatment that goes beyond the traditional allopathic model of “symptom X = drug Y.”


Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association

American College of Veterinary Botanical Medicine

College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies

International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS)

Chi University

A Time to Heal Herbs

Purple Moon Herbs


alternative medicine with homeopathic globules on leaf

Homeopathy is based on the idea that “like cures like”: cure comes from substances that produce a similar disease in a healthy person. The use of medicine that produces opposite effects only suppresses symptoms without curing the underlying disease. For example, a painkiller may remove your headache, but it does not cure the underlying cause of the pain. Homeopathic medicine views symptoms of illness as normal responses of the body as it attempts to regain health.

Homeopathic medicines are diluted to the point of not containing the original substance. This has lead to much criticism from modern scientists; however, it is hypothesized that homeopathy works through energy and frequencies not through chemistry. The body recognizes homeopathic frequencies in water molecules and reacts to them to cure the illness.

Homeopathic remedies are made by first dissolving the preferred substance in water or alcohol and then vigorously shaking and diluting it. This process of shaking and dilution is called “potentization”  The more a remedy is potentiated the stronger the effect it has on the body. Higher potencies and more frequent dosing are used in acute situations.


The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy

National Centre for Homeopathy

Low Level Laser Therapy (aka Cold Laser)

A treatment using low level light emitting diodes that encourages healing and improved function at the cellular level by repairing the communication between the cells of organs and tissues. Just about every condition can be treated with a specific series of settings for each particular disease or ailment. Results are often seen within a short period and the treatment is painless. It requires an intense first week of treatments and then just twice weekly for two more weeks, and then single ones in the following two weeks.


THOR Laser Contact: Valerie Gause or Dr. Ronald Hirschberg

VOM Low Level Laser Therapy Certification


Focusing on high quality and well-balanced nutrition is the foundation for general well-being. Nutrition may be used as prevention or treatment. There are many differing opinions on alternative diets, including the “BARF diet” (Biologically Appropriate Raw Foods) and homemade diets. If interested in home-cooking or raw diet, please consult a board certified veterinary nutritionist.


American College of Veterinary Nutrition: residency and board certification, externships, university information, and continuing education.

Animal Diet Formulator: software for formulating balanced diets

Pet Nutrition Alliance: Hub for nutrition resources

The American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition

Veterinary Nutritional Consultations: third party consultations founded by Dr. Rebecca L. Remillard.


Osteopathy involves musculoskeletal manipulation to enable the body to self heal. It can be used to treat gait problems, stiffness, problems with head carriage, behavior changes, muscle tension, digestive problems, and more.

Osteopathy certification is exclusively available through the Vluggen Institute for Equine Osteopathy and Education in Austin, Texas and the Netherlands. For veterinarians, this is a two year course, with 4-5 modules per year. Each module last 4 days and includes lecture and practical experience. There are an interim and final exams. Certification is titled EDO (Equine Diplomate of Osteopathy) or CDO (Canine Diplomate of Osteopathy).


Animal Osteopathy Worldwide

Animal Osteopathy International

Full Spectrum Canine Therapy

The Vluggen Institute for Equine Osteopathy and Education: offers equine and canine osteopathy certification


Oxygen molecules (O2) are made into Ozone (O3) using a specialized electrical generator. The ozone is then introduced into the animal in various ways depending on the ailment or disease. This treatment has been shown to slow or stop the progression of cancer, as it has been proven that cancer cells cannot survive in hyperoxygenated environments. This has extended many cancer patients’ life spans. This also detoxifies the body, kills germs, improves functioning of all cells, and can reduce pruritus.




Traditional “laying on of hands” energy healing.


Animal Reiki Source

Stem Cell Therapy

Veterinary stem cell therapy, also known as regenerative medicine, employs the use of stem cells derived from adipose tissue to treat traumatic and degenerative diseases. Although stem cell therapy is fairly new to veterinary medicine, it has been demonstrated to be an effective treatment in numerous animal models of disease such as osteoarthritis, osteochondral defects, tendon repair, fractures, cerebral infarction, myocardial infarction, muscular dystrophy, and autoimmune disorders.


Vet-Stem Regenerative Veterinary Medicine: Free on-line credentialing course available for small animal and equine veterinarians