This is the first of many articles to educate and assist you in achieving wellness for your four-legged family members.

With The Explorer’s help, we hope to partner with you in answering questions and providing integrative solutions for your pets.

Veterinarians work hard helping to solve problems, from pets peeing outside the litter box, to pets licking and scratching paws and skin raw, to performing vaccinations and removing reproductive organs. Often we are asked for the impossible. And for some reason, the words “integrative veterinary center” land us our share of miracle-seekers.

Don’t get me wrong; we are flattered by the challenge and grateful for the opportunity to help people and their animals. It is important, however, to understand what integrative medicine means. 

Integrative medicine is a blending of western medicine, strongly grounded in the scientific process of conventional medicine, combined with the advantages of utilizing alternative therapies. We look at the whole animal, with a goal of not just treating symptoms, but creating and maintaining health.

This means that although we have a few tricks up our sleeves, we will not be able to cure Fido’s chronic ear infections over the phone with a health store tincture, or diagnose your cat’s weight loss solely with our keen hands, ears and intellect.

Much like at your physician’s office, most medical maladies warrant lab tests or imaging studies, especially since our pets can’t talk.

In veterinary care, a comprehensive history and exam are performed; diagnostic testing is needed to help understand the underlying cause. Once a working diagnosis is achieved, treatment and preventative options are offered. In addition to conventional therapies, an integrative veterinarian can utilize hundreds of herbal and nutritional supplements, natural pet products, acupuncture, therapeutic laser and ultrasound, and even physical rehabilitative therapy.

We hope you will use this column in the future to enhance the quality of life for your dogs and cats.  Please feel free to e-mail questions, opinions or suggestions to help us achieve our goal of wellness and longevity for your pets to

Dr. Randy Aronson is an owner and practitioner @ PAWS Integrative Veterinary Center in Tucson. Send your questions to

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