Natural Healing Services


At Brandon Animal Clinic, we offer various natural medical services, in order to provide a  more holistic approach to your pet’s health. Acupuncture, Spinal Manipulative Therapy (SMT) or animal chiropractic, and Chinese herbal therapy are gentle, minimally invasive techniques that are used in an attempt to achieve optimal physical and mental health in our patients.

Dr. Radcliffe has taken extensive training to become certified in these treatment modalities, in order to provide the safest, most beneficial and humane care for your pets. Almost any medical condition can benefit from one or all of these treatment options: musculoskeletal or neurological problems, skin issues, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory disease, and anxiety disorders.

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine 

Combining Alternative and Conventional Veterinary Therapies 



Acupuncture, in its simplest sense, is the treatment of conditions or symptoms by the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body in order to produce a response. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either alone or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal. Significant clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Although acupuncture has its roots in ancient times before modern scientific methods were available with which to study it, many important studies have been done to indicate how acupuncture works and what physiologic mechanisms are involved in its actions. Using functional MRI (fMRI), to examine 15 different points, the basic tenets of acupuncture have been proven. Those are that acupuncture is based upon the point selected, the method of stimulation, and the duration of stimulation. Stimulation of these points result in specific changes in the central nervous system. It was shown that acupuncture points that have pain relieving properties associated with them tend to activate specific pain-association brainstem regions. The National Institute of Health developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.

In western medical terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture’s physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be conducted to discover all of acupuncture’s effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.

For Which Conditions is Acupuncture Indicated?

Acupuncture is indicated for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. At Brandon Animal Clinic, acupuncture is used most often for musculoskeletal issues, such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease (causing back pain and/or paralysis) and traumatic nerve injuries. However, we have also had success treating anxiety issues, gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea or poor appetite, respiratory disease (asthma and chronic bronchitis) and skin disease. These issues often require additional treatment with SMT and or Chinese herbal therapy in order to achieve maximum results.

In addition, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as flyball, agility, disc dog, etc., acupuncture can help them keep in top physical condition.

For more in depth information about veterinary acupuncture, please try the following links:

International Veterinary Acupuncture Society 

Veterinary Acupuncture

Acupuncture and Acupressure for Dogs




What is Animal Chiropractic or Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy(VSMT)?

The term chiropractic comes from the Greek words “cheir” which means ‘hand’ and “praxis” which means ‘practice’ or ‘done by’, and refers to the practice of manipulating the spine to treat disease. Animal chiropractors and veterinarians certified in VSMT understand the intimate relationship between the spine and nervous system and its importance in proper mechanical function and in the overall health of small and large animals. The application of this art has many avenues and often utilizes  ‘adjustments’, which are specific, small amplitude, high velocity maneuvers to areas of vertebral subluxation complexes, in order to resptore movement and facilitate proper function of the nervous system resulting in enhanced performance and quality of life.

Who practices Animal Chiropractic or veterinary spinal manipulation?

Certified doctors of chiropractic that practice animal chiropractic and can legally use the title animal chiropractor(CAC), wheras doctors of veterinary medicine that are certified use the terminology ‘veterinary spinal manipulative therapy’ or CVSMT, in accordance with the standards set forth by their respective provincial or state licensing boards. Others may claim to practice animal chiropractic or veterinary spinal manipulation, but, do check qualifications to ensure that they have successfully completed a CoAC or AVCA approved program.

What conditions are most often treated with chiropractic?

Conditions with a neurologic or biomechanical origin are amenable to chiropractic manipulation. These conditions include degenerative joint diseases such as hip dysplasia and spondylosis; cervical instability; acute neck pain; intervertebral disk disease; autonomic nervous system problems such as urinary and fecal incontinence; musculoskeletal weakness or pain that resists conventional diagnosis and treatment; and chronic back and neck pain.  

How can my pet benefit from chiropractic?

Chiropractic is one of the few modalities in veterinary medicine where results are often immediate, and are often seen within minutes of treatment. In general, improvements are defined as an improved gait and an apparent reduction in pain. In orthopedic conditions such as fractures or ligament tears, chiropractic care may not replace the need for surgery, but will be useful in correcting secondary problems caused by compensation or overcompensation to the injury.  

Animals used for athletic performance or other working purposes are ideal candidates for chiropractic treatment. By regularly assessing and maintaining maximum flexibility in these animals, injuries may be avoided. Animal athletes include horses used for racing, dressage or pleasure riding, and dogs used in racing, agility training or field trials.

Veterinary Chiropractic Care

Veterinary Chiropractic Learning Centre




Herbs are plants that contain ingredients with active therapeutic properties.  These active ingredients may be present in the whole plant or only in a specific part.  Other parts of the same plant, or other plants in the same genus, may have no activity or may in fact be toxic. 

An herb may be used in various forms, including teas, granular extracts (Chinese medicine), fresh herbs, dried herbs, oils or tinctures.  It may be commercially available as a loose herb, capsule, tablet, liquid extract, lotion or cream. Herbal therapy is the use of herbs, either as single products or in combination with other herbs, for medicinal purposes. 

What is the history of herbal therapy in veterinary medicine?

Herbal therapy has been used for thousands of years in many human cultures.  Over centuries and even millennia, a tremendous amount of clinical experience has been obtained by these cultures regarding which herbs work well for which conditions, and how they are best administered.  It has been estimated that even today 75 percent of the world’s population relies upon herbal medicine for basic health care. Early civilizations placed a great deal of emphasis on the health of the horses and cattle that were so integral to their lives.  As a result, the history of veterinary herbal treatment parallels its history in human therapy. 

In the late eighteenth century, advances in science enabled chemists to isolate and purify active ingredients in herbs.  Further advances led to the ability to manufacture synthetic pharmaceuticals.  At this point, herbal therapy diverged from mainstream medicine, since conventional medical researchers believed that it was safer and more effective to administer specific doses of the pure active chemical, whether it was synthetic or derived from plants. 

Advocates of herbal therapy maintain that whole herbs or their extracts were more efficacious and that the natural product contains other ingredients that act synergistically with the active principle, increasing the efficacy of the medicine.

What conditions are most often treated with herbal therapy?

Herbal approaches have been developed for the management of almost all conditions that currently challenge conventional veterinary medicine, including epilepsy, chronic kidney failure, chronic lameness, hormonal disorders, behavioral disorders, allergic skin disease, liver failure, and inflammatory bowel disease. Other herbs may simply support the normal function of healthy organs by acting as “tonics”.

How can my pet benefit from herbal therapy?

Herbalists hold the view that their treatments, using whole plants or their extracts, produce improved outcomes and fewer side effects than many pharmaceutical products. 

Just a few general actions of plants confirmed by clinical and laboratory research include the support of normal function of the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system; reduced inflammation and improved blood flow through damaged tissues; normalization of smooth muscle contraction; promotion of the differentiation, aging and death of tumor cells, and elimination of pain.  In many cases, herbal medicine can eliminate the need for chronic medications.  The components of herbal formulas may act synergistically to give greater positive effects than would be possible when used individually. Such synergistic interactions between herb constituents have been repeatedly demonstrated in laboratory research on both single herbs and herbal formulas.

Veterinary Herbal Therapy

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine