There are many different means to the same end when it comes to veterinary medicine. While we primarily use traditional Western medicine to treat our patients, we also welcome the practices of other schools of thought, such as Eastern or traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM). When these modalities are used in conjunction, it is called integrative medicine.

At The Drake Center, we don't throw Western medicine out. In fact, we think it's an incredibly important part of treating many diseases, so we use Eastern and Western medicine together. They dovetail quite nicely together, so it's a very exciting way to practice medicine. An integrative appointment at the Drake Center basically consists of looking at a pet both from the perspective of conventional medicine, Western medicine, and from the perspective of Eastern medicine.

What Is The Difference Between Eastern And Western Medicine?

We are all very familiar with Western medicine. We have that for our own health, and it's pretty standard. Eastern medicine is basically looking at the whole patient: not just the perspective of what we are seeing on a physical exam but also the perspective of what their emotional life is like, what their environment is like, what they do for stress relief, and what we can do with nutrition. It's basically a holistic approach encompassing many aspects of the pet's life.

What Is An Integrative Approach?

An integrative approach looks at the patterns of disease that the pet's had in the past, so we will, of course, do our physical exam based on what we're seeing now, but every pet that comes in has a whole history of things that they've been exposed to and had as issues before they come in. It's basically putting all of those pieces together.

As an integrative practitioner, I do not just do "holistic medicine." That's actually a very general term that encompasses many different types of treatment modalities and alternative treatments. As an integrative practitioner, I have learned how to do several of those, including food therapy. I'm very much into nutrition and food. I do Eastern Chinese herbs, and at the Drake Center, Dr. Drake and Dr. Shotwell also do acupuncture and laser therapy, so we have some of the treatment modalities that are considered alternative, but there are many.

How Does Integrative Medicine Combine Alternative Therapies With Western Medicine?

As an integrative practitioner, I don't throw Western medicine out. In fact, I think it's an incredibly important part of treating many diseases, so we use Eastern and Western medicine together. They dovetail quite nicely together, so it's a very exciting way to practice medicine. I think it's really the direction that medicine needs to go in, and my hope and prayer is that it continues to do so. We will continue to learn different modalities that can help our patients.

Our ultimate goal is always to help cure our patients or at least help improve their quality of life, both from the standpoint of comfort and pleasure. Integrative medicine embraces the incorporation of alternative therapies into mainstream Western medical practice. This type of medicine combines Chinese and holistic therapies, such as acupuncture, herbs, and food therapy, with Western medical treatment, including dentistry, surgery, and the use of advanced diagnostic tools.

At The Drake Center, we believe integrative medicine is an excellent option for wellness-oriented care. Though each therapy is different, Western, Eastern, and holistic medicine are not mutually exclusive. Drawing from several veterinary disciplines, our integrative services combine conventional treatments with additional therapies that have a proven scientific basis and evidence of effectiveness.

How Can Integrative Medicine Help My Pet?

Integrative medicine can improve your pet's quality of life and aid in the treatment of a wide variety of conditions. In addition, it can provide numerous wellness benefits for healthy pets, such as disease prevention, stress reduction, and balanced nutrition.

Common Illnesses That May Be Treated With Integrative Medicine:

  • Cancers, like lymphoma or recurrent mast cell tumors
  • Endocrine diseases, like diabetes or hypothyroidism
  • Gastrointestinal and liver disorders, like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Musculoskeletal pain, like arthritis or hip dysplasia
  • Neurologic diseases, like seizures or doggie dementia
  • Organ disorders, like chronic liver or kidney disease

Integrative medicine addresses all aspects of a pet's well-being. In addition to treating a wide range of physical conditions, integrative medicine may be used to improve:

  • Diet and nutrition
  • Stress
  • Behavior
  • Exercise
  • Energy level
  • Sleep

How Can I Prepare My Pet For An Integrative Appointment?

Integrative appointments are available with Dr. Kathy Boehme. At The Drake Center, each integrative exam is scheduled as two separate hour-long appointments — an initial consultation and follow-up visit — to allow for a thorough review of your pet's history and discussion of all concerns, in addition to completing Western and TCVM assessments. The cost for these appointments does not include any additional diagnostic testing or treatment. All integrative exams and follow-up appointments after these visits are charged at our standard exam or recheck rates.

BEFORE your pet's consultation, Dr. Boehme will thoroughly review his/her history, including behavior, diet, exercise, sleep, and physical symptoms.

DURING the appointment, she will perform complete Western and TCVM diagnostic exams, observe your pet in the exam room and discuss any potential stressors.

AFTER your pet's consultation, Dr. Boehme will write an individual treatment plan based on the primary concerns discussed and observed in the exam.

Approximately two weeks after your pet's initial exam, a follow-up visit will be scheduled. During this appointment, Dr. Boehme will review the treatment plan from the first visit, evaluate your pet's progress and address any additional concerns. A customized exercise and nutrition plan will also be developed for your pet at this time.

What Can I Expect From My Pet’s Integrative Appointment?

  • During the appointment, Dr. Boehme will carefully observe your pet and discuss his/her personality characteristics and potential stressors with you.
  • Issues will be prioritized and treated according to what you believe is most adversely affecting your pet's quality of life. As a pet owner, you know your pet best!
  • Dr. Boehme will help you develop an effective exercise and nutrition plan for your pet. These plans are tailored to each individual pet's needs.
  • Disease prevention will be discussed. An individualized plan will be developed based on the pet's breed, age, genetics, and disease tendencies.
  • Complete Western and TCVM exams will be performed. Diagnostic testing, including blood tests, X-rays, and ultrasound imaging, may also be performed as needed.
  • Finally, a treatment plan will be formulated for your pet. Following the initial consultation, Dr. Boehme will review all observations and symptoms discussed and determine the best course of action. You will receive a written treatment plan within 72 hours of your appointment.

Scheduling Your Pet's Appointment

Before any integrative appointment, it is important that Dr. Boehme has reviewed the pet's medical history information as well as our TCVM history form. In order to ensure this information is properly reviewed, we must receive all records ahead of time.

If you are interested in an integrative appointment but are not an existing client at The Drake Center, your pet's medical records will still need to be sent to our hospital. You may request a TCVM history form by contacting our hospital at (760) 456-9556. or [email protected].