IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE: Dr Nichola Spooner and one of her happy clients, Paddo the labrador.
IMPROVING QUALITY OF LIFE: Dr Nichola Spooner and one of her happy clients, Paddo the labrador. Jann Houley

Doggy acupuncture: vet care with a difference

ALMA St Veterinary Clinic holistic veterinarian Dr Nichola Spooner is changing the face of veterinary care.

Dr Spooner has worked at the Rockhampton clinic for nine years, taking some time off to raise her children.

It was when one of her twin sons experienced health issues related to leaky gut and heavy metal toxicities that she came across the benefits of alternative therapies.

"It became my mission to help him heal through addressing the root causes and supporting him with alternative therapies," she said.

"I was blown away by the results and the role that integrative medicine could play in the management of chronic disease.

"I was inspired to provide this same care for my veterinary patients. I could see the benefits of using it in patients with chronic disease and maintaining quality of life."

After growing up on a cattle property in Central Queensland and spending time around animals, Dr Spooner began her veterinary career on a small-animal rotating internship in medicine, surgery, emergency medicine and critical care.

After the success of alternative therapy on her child, she decided to combine it with conventional treatments in order to provide the best of both worlds.

With a special interest in holistic nutrition and gut health, Dr Spooner completed two graduate diplomas: one in veterinary Western herbal medicine and the other in veterinary acupuncture.

She has offered integrative medicine consultations and holistic wellness plans at Alma St for the past 18 months.

Dr Spooner combines conventional medicine with natural nutrition, supplementation, exercise, environmental and stress management, physical therapies and alternative therapies, including Western herbs and acupuncture.

"It was an emerging field of research, which exploded in the last 10 years," she said.

Acupuncture, a traditional Chinese treatment, has helped patients with pain or joint disease by improving blood circulation, and helping with nausea and medication side-effects.

Dr Spooner has had success treating animals with cancer and giving them pain relief.

Animals with stress or anxiety issues are also benefiting from the treatment, which targets the usually associated gut health.

"I've had amazing results," she said. "My senior patients have had improvements in quality of life by integrating all of these additional therapies as well as traditional care, and it's helped extend and improve their lives significantly.

"I'm constantly amazed by the results."

Phone 4922 8138 to book an appointment with Dr Spooner.

Vet care with a difference

Dr Spooner spends time with each patient and considers medications and different options, which may include lifestyle factors, exercise and hands-on therapy.

Dr Spooner offers two different options. One includes meeting with patients to put together a wellness plan that addresses diet, supplements and the environment for preventative measures. The other focuses on an integrative approach that involves diagnosing and offering all the options.