Holistic Services

Holistic Medicine

What Is Holistic Veterinary Medicine?

As a holistic practitioner, Dr. Foley offers an alternative approach to veterinary care when best suited for your pet's health. Holistic (or integrative or complementary) veterinary medicine is the examination and diagnosis of an animal that considers all aspects of the animal's life and employs all of the practitioner's senses. Treatment is generally a combination of conventional and alternative (and complementary) modalities.

Holistic veterinarians, besides providing comprehensive physical examinations, want to learn about your pet's behaviors, complete medical and dietary history, and environment; including current diet, emotional stresses, and other factors. A thorough understanding of your pet's health helps Dr. Foley make recommendations and provide you with the appropriate treatment options for improving your pet's health. The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally-invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and stress reduction.

Dr. Foley has been formally trained in both veterinary acupuncture and herbology through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. Her unique skills allow her to offer treatment for a wide variety of medical conditions including arthritis, orthopedic injuries, neurologic problems (seizures, disc injuries), kidney disease, gastrointestinal problems, inflammatory conditions, and pain management.


Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body that has the ability to alter various biochemical and physiologic conditions and help the body heal itself. Used successfully for nearly 4,000 years on animals and human beings, it is one of a variety of therapies that Dr. Foley offers to support your pet's wellness. At Sonoma County Mobile Veterinary Hospital, acupuncture treatments can be offered in the mobile hospital or in the convenience of your home upon request.


Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available and side effects, if any, are usually minimal. At Sonoma County Mobile Veterinary Hospital and under the supervision of Dr. Foley, treatments may last from 10 seconds to 30 minutes depending on the condition treated and the method used. Owners can stay with their pets during the acupuncture treatments. Pets may be treated as frequently as one to three times a week but, typically, are treated once weekly for four to six weeks. After the initial treatment period, the intervals between acupuncture visits are then extended based upon your pet's response. Most pets are seen once every two to six months for maintenance therapy. Some pets no longer need acupuncture therapy once their condition has resolved.

Conditions that can be treated with acupuncture include:

  • Arthritis (hips, shoulders, elbows, back)
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Seizure disorders
  • Injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, and neck pain
  • Disk Disease
  • Lick granulomas
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Pain and nausea related to cancer
  • Chronic digestive disorders (IBD, diarrhea, constipation)
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Other medical conditions such as immune-mediated diseases and chronic liver or kidney diseases

A comprehensive physical, medical, and acupuncture examination is completed prior to initiating acupuncture treatment. It is also important for you to let us know about any physical changes that occur in your pet's health during and after all acupuncture treatments.

Herbal Medicine

Herbs are plants that contain ingredients with active therapeutic properties. 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.

At Sonoma County Mobile Veterinary Hospital, we believe that in some cases using herbal remedies produces improved outcomes and fewer side effects than many pharmaceutical products. Clinical and laboratory research has shown that certain herbs can support normal function of the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system; reduce inflammation and improve blood flow through damaged tissues; promote the differentiation, aging, and death of tumor cells; and eliminate pain. In many cases, herbal medicine can eliminate the need for chronic conventional medications.

The success of herbal treatment varies according to the age of the pet, prior treatment history, and diagnosis.

Holistic Remedies

Therapeutic Nutrition

At Sonoma County Mobile Veterinary Hospital, we use diet along with vitamin and mineral supplementation as a form of therapy not only to maintain health, but to treat disease as well. Although therapeutic nutrition may take longer than traditional medications to achieve a desired outcome, ultimately it provides the body with a better support system to fight disease by supporting the immune system and enhancing the healing process.

The benefits of therapeutic nutrition for your pet include:

  • Enhances cellular regeneration
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Improves enzymatic activity
  • Promotes natural self-healing

Therapeutic nutrition is a key aspect of your pet's treatment from musculoskeletal conditions to chronic or terminal illnesses, such as cancer.