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Veterinary Medicine International
Volume 2015, Article ID 983621, 11 pages
Research Article

A Retrospective Analysis of 5,195 Patient Treatment Sessions in an Integrative Veterinary Medicine Service: Patient Characteristics, Presenting Complaints, and Therapeutic Interventions

1Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA
2Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164, USA

Received 30 September 2015; Accepted 16 November 2015

Academic Editor: Pedro J. Ginel

Copyright © 2015 Justin Shmalberg and Mushtaq A. Memon. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Integrative veterinary medicine, the combination of complementary and alternative therapies with conventional care, is increasingly prevalent in veterinary practice and a focus of clinical instruction in many academic teaching institutions. However, the presenting complaints, therapeutic modalities, and patient population in an integrative medicine service have not been described. A retrospective analysis of 5,195 integrative patient treatment sessions in a veterinary academic teaching hospital demonstrated that patients most commonly received a combination of therapeutic modalities (39% of all treatment sessions). The 274 patients receiving multiple modalities were most frequently treated for neurologic and orthopedic disease (50.7% versus 49.6% of all presenting complaints, resp.). Older neutered or spayed dogs (mean age = 9.0 years) and Dachshunds were treated more often than expected based on general population statistics. Acupuncture, laser therapy, electroacupuncture, and hydrotherapy were frequently administered (>50% patients). Neurologic patients were more likely to receive acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and therapeutic exercises but less likely than orthopedic patients to receive laser, hydrotherapy, or therapeutic ultrasound treatments (). The results suggest that the application of these specific modalities to orthopedic and neurologic diseases should be subjected to increased evidence-based investigations. A review of current knowledge in core areas is presented.