Holistic pet care clinic opens in Chattanooga - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Holistic pet care clinic opens in Chattanooga

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- When you think of pet care, acupuncture and laser treatments probably don't come to mind. But there's a clinic in The Scenic City which now offers these alternative treatments.

At the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute, started by Dr. Colleen Smith, the approach focuses on an animal's body as a whole.

"If you can find the root cause of a disease or condition then you can treat it better, rather than [using a] band-aid," explains Dr. Smith.

Surgery and medicine often have side effects. It's not much different than maintaining your body or even your car. What you feed your pet also matters.

"One way or another they have to eat," says Smith. "So that's one thing we can start modifying is the diet. And you can see a huge improvement just changing the diet."

Switch to food that is better quality with ingredients closer to nature. For a few dollars more, Smith says, your cat or dog will more likely live a longer, disease-free life.

But if your pet is older and already has chronic problems, the clinic offers treatments that aren't mainstream and may even seem exotic.

Bobbie Kwasnik had a yellow lab with hip dysplasia. After traditional treatments failed, acupuncture became the miracle therapy.

"It was amazing. And I feel like it totally extended her life for at least a couple of years and kept her pain free," says Kwasnik. Precious time which may have been lost.

Jo Mills' dog, Jessie, also suffers from dysplasia and was unable to walk on one of her hind legs. Pet acupuncture changed all that.

"We started with the four treatments to start with, once a week, and by the time those treatments were up she was already walking on that back leg," recalls Mills.

Those four sessions cost $600 in total compared to a $3,500 invasive surgery Mills had been quoted. Smith, by the way, says the animals barely feel the acupuncture needles.

And Mandy Shearer's dog, Peggy, receives laser therapy to treat joint problems. Sherarer believes there's no price tag on treating family.

"I view a pet as a part of the family. So to me spending any kind of money on her--I want her to have a happy life," says Shearer.

That's why in a still sluggish economy some people willing to spend any spare money on their pets well-being or survival, even by using unusual techniques.

The clinic also offers chiropractic, herbal and nutritional therapy, and general medicine. It opened just a month ago at 918 East Main Street. Smith is the only veterinarian there but she plans to add more staff.

She also hopes to add a second office, a boarding operation, and a rehabilitation center.

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