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Acupuncture, Physical Therapy Part Of Treatment Plan For Horses, Pets At UC Davis

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DAVIS (CBS13) — UC Davis has expanded its integrative medicine program and hopes to make physical therapy and chiropractic care mainstays for animals.

Ever wondered how a horse gets a chiropractic adjustment?

“You’re not adjusting the whole horse at once,” said Dr. Sarah Le Jeune, the chief of the equine integrative sports medicine at UC Davis. “It’s possible for someone like me to adjust a horse because I’m doing one joint at a time.”

She says when owners want to stay away from drugs or go beyond conventional methods of treating pain in horses, they come here for chiropractic and acupuncture treatment.

Yep, acupuncture in horses. She says she’s even done it on bulls.

“We know it’s working, because it changes the way the horse moves,” she said. “We can see that based on the rider, how they feel that a horse is moving.”

But Le Jeune says more research is needed to get solid evidence these therapies of how these therapies work on large animals.

The same can be said for UC Davis’ small-animal therapies, like acupuncture and physical therapy, many of which have been heavily studied in human medicine.

Dr. Jamie Peyton says they have studies ready to go, but are looking for funding to get them off the ground.

“One of the studies we’re looking at is actually showing, wanting to show, that if we add in physical therapy that they could have a quicker recovery,” Peyton said.

Boston terrier Ginger Peach comes to UC Davis as part of a recovery from a stroke that left her unable to use most of her left side.

“This exercise also makes her have to be aware of her body. it works all the muscles as well, strengthening that back end,” Peyton said.

Now, three months later, Ginger Peach’s owner Kelli Danielsen says her little dog is almost back to being 100 percent.

“She’s just ripping around and tearing around like she likes to do, and be the boss,” she said.

Kimberly Bawden says there was no question she’d go the extra mile after her Labrador  Zoe had both knees replaced.

“When you love dogs the way that we do, and this one is very special, you just would do anything for them,” she said. “There’s not a question.”

Zoe gets laser, ultrasound and underwater treadmill therapy once a week.

With Peyton being a new addition here, the service is ready to take on more patients like Judge, a lab who lost the use of his back legs after a stroke.

“What we’re doing is trying to give him time to heal, but also just get him moving and build muscle in his legs,” he said.

It took about a minute to get the gloomy dog back to his bouncy self after putting him in a two-wheeled cart.

It’s therapy these vets can help animals heal in more ways than one.

“A lot of the dogs that are anxious or have a lot of anxiety coming to the vet, they come here and they’re happy. They like to work. it’s really a good experience,” Peyton said.

The vets want to stress that everything in this story is part of an integrative approach to treating injuries, so much of it comes on top of traditional treatment.

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