A dog with an ice pack.

There are a variety of conditions that can cause chronic pain in pets. It can be difficult to determine if your pet is in pain, however, as some are experts at hiding their discomfort. The veterinarians at The Bluffs Pet Clinic can help you determine if your pet is experiencing chronic pain and take a holistic approach to create an appropriate treatment plan to alleviate it.


You may have heard about acupuncture as an alternative therapy for humans to reduce inflammation and pain, but its minimally-invasive, healing properties can also be applied to pets. Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny, sterile needles into acupuncture points, which are points where certain nerve bundles and blood vessels meet. This procedure is typically not painful for pets. The insertion of the needles stimulates the nervous system, increases blood circulation, and causes the body’s release of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving hormones. Acupuncture activates your pet’s natural healing pathways. Initially, most pets need frequent visits for acupuncture to initiate and sustain the healing cascade, however those visits can decrease in frequency once they experience sustained pain relief and move into a maintenance phase.

Physical Rehabilitation

Physical rehabilitation, also known as physical therapy, involves the use of exercise and movement as well as manual manipulation of joints or massage to decrease musculoskeletal pain. This modality is more applicable to chronic pain caused by conditions dealing with the bones, joints, or muscles. For example, chronic hip pain could be decreased by implementing physical therapy to increase the strength and endurance of the surrounding musculature and to stretch muscles that are too tight and causing further imbalance and pain. Rehab also implements the use of helpful modalities like neuromuscular electrical stimulation, cryotherapy, therapeutic laser, ultrasound, and water, or hydrotherapy. Hydrotherapy allows for movements to be completed through the full range of motion without the full weight of gravity, which allows your pet to experience much less pain. Water temperature can be varied to constrict or dilate blood vessels depending on the goal of therapy for the day, with both hot and cold temperatures having pain reducing properties. 

Herbal Remedies

Non-pharmacologic herbal pain remedies can be utilized in conjunction with other holistic pain reduction measures to help decrease your pet’s discomfort. Many herbal therapies have been successfully shown to reduce pain, however these herbal therapies must be tailored specifically to your pet. It is important to work with your veterinarian to determine what herbal remedies may be indicated to ensure that there are no adverse interactions with health status or any other medications your pet may be on. Herbal medications can come in multiple forms, such as tablets or capsules, liquids, or granules, so there are options for the best method of delivery for your pet. 

If you would like to learn more about holistic methods for managing your pet’s chronic pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment online today.