Alternative Therapy

Stem cell therapy and Platelet rich plasma (PRP)

This is a “cutting edge” alternative therapy, the ultimate option for the body to heal itself! The concept is amazing, to be able to inject a patient’s own reparative cells into an injured or diseased tissue, to help promote healing. These reparative stem cells and bioactive cells are obtained from the patient, purified and injected back into the patient they came from. There are different cells that can be used, some come from patient’s fatty tissues and some can come from the blood stream.

Stem cells are found throughout the body, they are undifferentiated cells that have the ability to change into one or more cell types that can be helpful within a damaged tissue. For example, if these stem cells are injected into a damaged and arthritic joint they can change into cartilage cells. If injected into a damaged tendon they can change into cells that help repair the tendon. Both of these tissues are notoriously slow to heal, stem cells and PRP can provide a boost to that healing process and promote a potentially better repair and recovery.

A few examples of common conditions where stem cells or PRP might be helpful: hip dysplasia, arthritis (single joint or multiple joints), small tendon injuries, organ injuries, just to name a few.


At San Juan Veterinary Clinic we strive to provide the very best care for every patient, every time. To ensure this is achieved, a primary focus for us at all times is pain management. A large majority of the diverse medical conditions we diagnose and treat at our hospital have a significant pain component that must be addressed to ensure the best possible quality of life for your companion. While some patients may only need a simple anti-inflammatory, others often require advanced pain management for relief from conditions such as spinal disc disease, degenerative joint diseases, trauma, soft tissue injuries and chronic pain caused by nerve diseases. Acupuncture is an entirely unique and very well proven pain management modality that has firmroots in science and medicine. Acupuncture is also recommended and effective for diseases that cause loss of motor function of one or multiple limbs such as sudden hind limb paralysis or weakness after a sudden back injury or nerve damage sustained after jumping out of a truck or being hit by a car. We are proud to offer the skill and expertise of 2 certified Veterinary Acupuncturists who are licensed veterinarians. Through these specially trained veterinarians we are able to offer acupuncture on horses or small animals. Examples of common conditions which may benefit from these alternative therapies include equine back pain, canine spinal arthritis, and loss of nerve function after trauma.

Spinal Manipulative Therapy, Manual Therapy, & Chiropractic

What is it?

The use of the hands to manipulate the spine and joints in order to affect the neuromuscular system and restore mobility and function, thereby relieving pain and enabling healing to occur.

An integrative animal health care therapy that is best used in conjunction with traditional veterinary care. It is not meant to assume a primary health care responsibility as a “cure all”. Rather, it is used in partnership with regular care to create a comprehensive, whole animal approach to quality of life.

How does it work?

Through palpation and examination, a trained doctor will identify areas of restriction and dysfunction in the spine and joints of the body. Once located, a specific, quick, low force thrust applied in the plane of the joint will be delivered in order to restore mobility and create a neuromuscular response. The adjustment should not be overly forceful or rough. It may result in immediate relief, or more commonly, a gradual restoration of function and comfort over a day or two. Maintaining normal joint alignment throughout time is key in preserving nerve function and communication. That is why a course of treatments or regular schedule of treatment may be recommended for your animal’s care.

Why the Spine?

The control of the neuromuscular system lies in the brain and spinal cord, which are housed in the skull and spine, respectively. The spine is supported by bones, muscles and ligaments. When the joints of the spine lose their natural flexibility, either temporarily or permanently, they become dysfunctional. This can inhibit the communication of the nerves that branch off the spinal cord in their path to organs and muscles, resulting in loss of flexibility, impaired nerve communication to the brain, muscle spasticity, pain and even reduced organ function. By restoring motion we restore proper neurologic function.

Common Uses

Manual therapy is commonly used to treat back pain, stiffness, arthritis and lameness. It can be used to increase flexibility and improve athletic performance. In some cases, it has been shown to be beneficial in patients with chronic ear infections and digestive problems as well.

Manual Therapy is an integrative method of care that provides an additional tool to restore and preserve health for animals. When used in conjunction with traditional veterinary care, it can improve quality of life.

Common Myths

  • Myth: The adjustment “puts bones back in place”
    Truth: The bones do not go “out of place”. The adjustment is administered to improve joint mobility and restore neuromuscular and biochemical function.
  • Myth: Adjusting requires strength/force/mallets.
    Truth: The adjustment is a low force, quick thrust, in a specific, targeted direction that is applied with the hands or occasionally an instrument called an activator. It should not be rough or overly forceful.
  • Myth: There must be loud “pops” or “cracks” for an adjustment to be beneficial.
    Truth: Audible releases, although occasionally heard, are not necessary for an adjustment to be effective. Success is achieved by restoring joint motion and neurologic function.

Who Can Provide Manual Therapy or Chiropractic Care?

In the State of Colorado adjustments can ONLY BE LEGALLY PROVIDED BY:

  1. A veterinarian licensed to practice in the State of Colorado
  2. A Colorado licensed human chiropractor completing 210 hours of animal specific coursework, culminating in demonstrated clinical proficiency who has been added to a registry of approved animal chiropractic providers with the Colorado State Board of Chiropractic may provide chiropractic care to animals after the animals have received a veterinary medical examination and written clearance by a veterinarian licensed in the State of Colorado. (Dogs and horses only)
  3. A Colorado licensed human chiropractor who is not listed on the registry of the Colorado State Board of Chiropractic as an animal provider may only provide chiropractic care to animals with written clearance by a licensed Colorado veterinarian who is providing direct on site supervision of the Chiropractor at the time of treatment. (Dogs and horses only)