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Cat kidney transplants? A look at some of the health services available to pets

05/27/2015 07:00 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - Acupuncture is not the only human-type health care available to pets. Some other medical services include:

Physiotherapy: Can achieve similar benefits seen in human physical rehabilitation to restore function after surgery or injuries, reduce pain and inflammation or improve general well-being in old age. It can include hydrotherapy (exercises or treadmills in water), gentle stretching and manipulation of limbs (yoga), massage and simple exercises such as stair-stepping to increase strength and balance.

Dental care: Dog and cat owners are urged to brush Fido and Fluffy's teeth regularly. That's not always easy, so veterinarians specializing in animal dentistry can provide dental cleanings, extractions, root canals, crowns and cavity repairs.

Diagnostic imaging: Includes X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) to diagnose or confirm everything from fractures to tumours.

Radiation therapy: Uses complex equipment to shrink or destroy cancerous cells. Usually administered over a number of weeks, depending on the size and nature of the tumour.

Radioiodine therapy: An option instead of medication or surgery to treat hyperthyroidism. Involves injection of radioactive iodine. It can only be performed at specialized veterinary centres as it involves handling of radioactive material. Pets need to be isolated for a time.

Diabetes treatment: Insulin injections administered by owners are considered the benchmark therapy. The treatment involves careful monitoring of insulin levels, diet and exercise. In-clinic procedures can include ongoing laboratory tests to measure blood glucose levels and liver enzymes. Complications require immediate veterinary care.

Major surgeries: Some of the same operations performed on people can be performed on animals, including pacemaker implants, gastrointestinal surgeries and kidney transplants.

Reiki: Channels healing energy through the hands to the animal to relieve pain and provide calming influence. Some practitioners make house calls. Cats seem to be especially receptive.

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