Integrated therapies–the preferred term for complementary or alternative therapies–were one of the most popular topics at the Tufts Expo. Allen Schoen, DVM, MS, who led the three-day seminar, discussed therapies for all animals, including horses. They often were featured in his lectures and those of speakers Susan Wynn, DVM, and equine physical therapist Lin McGonagle.

One day was designed specifically for veterinary technicians working in practices that are incorporating integrated therapies into their care offerings. McGonagle taught technicians what was involved in progressive rehabilitation therapies for musculoskeletal injuries and presented her perspective on the educational background needed to satisfy professional qualifications. An afternoon’s course on equine massage therapy was available.

Also discussed were animals with chemical sensitivities, evaluation of caregiving capabilities of owners, and the importance of supporting animal nutrition in determining the outcome of any therapy.

The program ended with a large turnout for Meetings of the Minds. Schoen posed the question: “Where do complementary and alternative therapies fit into animal health care?”

Panelists included industry experts that have firsthand experience with integrative therapies. Lively comments came from New England-area veterinarians and technicians in the audience. Many of them struggle not so much with whether or not to offer integrated therapies, but how to manage the demand for them, make referrals to outside professionals, and insure that responsible medical histories and diagnostic protocols are followed.