Companion animals of all sizes can benefit from a mix of traditional veterinary medicine and alternative therapies at the Animal Wellness Center of Buffalo Valley.
Dr. Margaret Meier Jones established the center in 2001 in Mondovi’s industrial park. At the state-of-the-art veterinary facility, large animals and household pets can receive acupuncture and chiropractic adjustments along with conventional veterinary practices.
A Gilmanton High School graduate, Meier Jones earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from UW-River Falls in 1992. She then enrolled in the UW-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine, graduating from the program in 1996.
Complementing her education in conventional veterinary science, she studied animal chiropractic therapy and became certified in the practice by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association in December 2007. In 2011, she was certified by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. She is also pending certification in acupuncture by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society.
She returned to Buffalo County in the fall of 1999 when she accepted a position with the Buffalo Valley Veterinary Center as a small-animal veterinarian. Meier Jones currently resides in her family’s century family farmhouse with her husband and daughter.
Animal chiropractic therapy or veterinary spinal manipulation has been found to ease pain, assist with acute injuries and help keep animals’ bodies tuned. Used in conjunction with traditional remedies, the alternative therapies have been shown to improve the overall effectiveness of the treatment plan.
The chiropractic adjustments improve nerve function in the animal by correcting misalignments. Symptoms of misalignment can be limping, behavior issues, reduced performance, pain or other changes and problems.
Meier Jones advises animal patients can benefit from spinal manipulation as one of the tools for reaching peak performance and can maintain an excellent quality of life along with a physical examination. The therapy can lessen pain in older pets, may achieve reduction and increase their mobility, reducing the amount of prescriptions to treat the conditions.
Generally, pets do not experience pain during a spinal manipulation treatment. If the animal is already in pain, the adjustment might have to focus on the area of the animal’s body where there might be some tenderness. Usually, the discomfort is brief and patient should feel better after treatment.
Depending on the animal’s situation, an adjustment can take between 40 to 60 minutes; follow-ups tend to take less time.
Acupuncture is another treatment Meier Jones offers her clients’ household pets and horses. The ancient Chinese medical treatment has been refined through at least 3000 years of continuous use. In today’s practices, acupuncture requires extensive training for proper application. Because of the rigorous training, the therapy is recognized worldwide as a safe and effective form of therapy.
Before beginning an acupuncture treatment, Meier Jones uses Chinese diagnostic methods. Those methods evaluate a patient by observing, touching, listening and inquiring. The evaluation serves as the basis for planning or prescribing therapy.
“The health of an animal is considered a landscape, with good health being a beautiful and harmonious landscape and poor health being an ugly and disrupted landscape,” Meier Jones said. “Traditional medicine views each animal as a unique and energetic being — not a catalog of symptoms and signs.”
Acupuncture points can be stimulated using a variety of methods and instruments, the most commonly used instruments are fine sterile Chinese needles. Although patients will feel a prick of the skin when the needle is first inserted, they soon feel a sensation of energy or heat flowing.
The typical responses during treatment for a majority of veterinary patients are apprehension initially that’s followed by a deep, almost sedative relaxation. As the treatment draws to an end and the needles are removed, the animal might become slightly uncomfortable.
“Most dogs, cats and horses tolerate it well and even enjoy it,” Meier Jones said. “Depending on the treatment intensity, the patient may be fatigued for a day or two. Excessive exercise following a treatment is not recommended.”
The placement of the needles stimulates a set of responses in the body unique to acupuncture. The responses include the production of neurochemicals such as endorphins and cortisol, hormones that can counteract pain and inflammation.
Acupuncture points, associated with certain types of nerve endings, are located by measuring the electrical potential of the body’s acupuncture points. Oriental medicine views acupuncture as a means to adjust energy flow referred to as Qi (pronounced “chee”).
The vital energy flows along pathways known as meridians. Disease is considered a disruption of the movement of the energy on pathways along nerves and blood vessels. The stimulation from acupuncture has been found to restore balance and resolve the disorder.
More information about the alternative treatments offered at AWCBV can be found on the practice’s website, www.youranimal wellnesscenter.com.