I am a certified rehabilitation (CCRT) and acupuncture (CVA) veterinarian offering these services exclusively in the comfort of your pup’s home. Your treatment plan will be thoughtfully planned and individualized and can include laser therapy, massage therapy, stretching, therapeutic exercise, acupressure, and acupuncture. I will recommend any lifestyle modifications, assistive devices, or activity limitations that are helpful as well as nutritional and herbal supplements — possibly combined with conventional medications that may benefit your pup.
Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. Acupuncture for animals can help treat a variety of diseases, and works well when combined with traditional veterinary medicine. Animals that are "needle-shy" can still benefit from laser acupuncture, which is also effective and needle-free!
Laser therapy (also called photobiomodulation) utilizes specific wavelengths of light to produce therapeutic effects including improved healing time and improved circulation, as well as reduced pain and swelling. This technology has been utilized in Europe for over 40 years and has achieved approval by the FDA for use in the US.
Manual Therapy includes stretching, passive range of motion, dural/vertebral/soft tissue mobilizations, massage, and other techniques. Therapeutic exercise programs are customized for your pet and taught to you. Beneficial exercises performed on a regular basis can help alleviate pain from muscle strains and injuries, orthopedic conditions including arthritis, as well as improve deficits due to neurological diseases.
Homeopathy is a type of medicine which involves treating the individual with very diluted natural substances—given in oral, topical, or injectable form—with the aim of triggering the body’s own healing. I use homotoxicologic remedies including Arnica and Gelsemium. These can help treat acute and chronic musculoskeletal and neurological problems, and gastrointestinal problems. I integrate homotoxicology with conventional treatment modalities.
Herbals are plants used for oral medicinal purposes. In India and China, these traditions date back thousands of years. Once thought of as “traditional medicine” by ancient cultures, herbal medicine has emerged as a popular alternative or supplement to modern medicine. Herbals are available in a variety of formulations to make them easy to dose.
Take your pets wellness to the next level with dietary supplements for joint health, anti-inflammatory effects, and immune system support. Although not regulated by the FDA, all recommended supplements are 3rd party, independently tested and approved for safety and efficacy.
If your pet is experiencing stiffness, weakness, incoordination, decreased energy, reluctance to engage in normal activities, or any sign of pain (including panting, restlessness, or decreased appetite), your pet may be a candidate for Dr. Heather’s services.
Dr. Heather services West Hollywood, Hollywood Hills West, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Century City, Mar Vista, Culver City, Brentwood, Santa Monica, and Venice. Anything outside of that area will be dependent on her availability and may incur a travel fee.
Most pets are very relaxed during acupuncture and laser therapy and any aversion to needles usually subsides after the first 1-2 needles are placed. For pets that will not tolerate needles, laser acupuncture can be performed to stimulate the acupoints.
On the day of treatment, patients can still participate in their normal routine but tend to be a bit sleepier and rest more comfortably after their treatment. On the day after treatment—depending on the condition being treated—many patients will have more energy, walk with more strength and/or coordination, and have normalization of gastrointestinal functions.
A typical rehabilitation and acupuncture session takes 1 hour. If only acupuncture is requested, the treatment can take 20-30 minutes.
The effects of laser and acupuncture treatments are determined by the techniques applied and benefits can last for 3-10 days.
Treatment frequency is based on the individual patient’s needs. In general, acute injuries and neurological conditions can require 2-3 visits per week, whereas chronic orthopedic conditions can require 1-2 visits per week until the pet shows initial improvements.
Clients generally notice a difference in their pets after the first treatment and improvements are typically cumulative over the first 4-8 weeks, depending on the condition(s) being treated. Once optimal results are obtained, the frequency of treatment can be decreased to a significantly lower maintenance level. If no improvements are observed within 3 treatments, the pet may require a different treatment.
Treats can be very helpful in obtaining patients’ cooperation, and this is always the first approach when working with a new patient. Restraints are not typically required when pets are placed on their bed or in a favorite spot in the home. While some pets may prefer their owner to be present for treatment, others are more receptive when the owner is out of the room. Occasionally, a pet may have anxiety and will require a harness or collar and leash to keep the pet in one location for treatment. Very rarely, a muzzle is used for fearful or aggressive pets.
No general or emergency veterinary services are offered. Dr. Heather’s practice is exclusively limited to acupuncture and rehabilitation. Dr. Heather can communicate with your regular vet about your pet’s progress and provide them with her dietary, supplemental, or medication recommendations. Please continue to see and contact your regular vet for all general medical issues or concerns—including vaccinations, bloodwork, other diagnostics, prescription medications, and emergency services.
Heather primarily treats dogs and sometimes cats. She also volunteers monthly to treat animals at the LA Zoo.
Withholding food or medications prior to treatment is not necessary. However, treats can be very helpful in obtaining patients’ cooperation during treatment, so withholding food before treatment may be beneficial. Additionally, if it can be safely tolerated, withholding pain medications—due around the time of the appointment—will allow Dr. Heather to ascertain your pet’s pain level baseline more accurately.
Cash, checks, and credit cards are accepted.
Pets respond best when they are calm during the assessment and treatment. Therefore, if you think that your pet will be calmed by your presence, please plan accordingly.
If you will not be present for the initial evaluation, please inform Dr. Heather prior to your appointment so that you can complete a history questionnaire in preparation for the evaluation. After the initial evaluation, pet owners will receive a summary of treatment details, physical findings, and recommendations.
A class IIIB “cold” laser or a class IV diode laser may be used for treatment. Both are therapeutic grade lasers and capable of photobiomodulation.
Laser therapy promotes healing by recruiting growth factors that rebuild tissues (including collagen), increasing serotonin levels to help reduce pain, modulating reactive proteins and enzymes in the blood to decrease inflammation, and stimulating the mitochondria of each cell to produce more energy. Laser therapy has even been shown to create cumulative effects in improved blood circulation, making it an excellent tool to treat wounds, arthritic joints, spinal pain, and muscle strain.
Acupuncture provides pain relief by diminishing perception of pain and by causing the release of serotonin and endorphins in the bloodstream. Acupuncture also regulates the immune system by stimulating the circulation of white blood cells, helps to relieve stress, and produces effects that include fever-reduction, GI regulation, anti-inflammation, and blood pressure and hormone regulation. Acupuncture has even demonstrated performance enhancement effects in animal athletes.
Dr. Heather’s services are covered by most insurance plans. Double-check that your coverage option includes rehabilitation, laser therapy, and/or acupuncture/electroacupuncture. Dr. Heather emails a medical report and payment receipt to the pet owner after each treatment. For reimbursement, insurance companies typically require the pet owner to forward a copy of these documents. (For specific instructions or questions regarding insurance coverage, claims, and reimbursement, please contact your insurance company.)
X-rays are not usually necessary prior to your pet’s first visit. If X-rays are available, Dr. Heather will review them and other pertinent medical notes from the referring or regular vet. In many cases, the initial evaluation process will indicate body parts that may require diagnostic X-rays to help determine the course of treatment.
Pets are more comfortable at home than in a clinical setting. This enables a home rehab program to be less stressful and more beneficial for your pet. Dr. Heather monitors the comfort level of your pet throughout assessment and treatment and will only do what the pet can tolerate without becoming stressed. Stretching and physical therapy exercises are individualized for your pet’s needs and never performed in an aggressive way.