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Healing touch: County veterinarian augments practice with acupuncture, chiropractic for pet pain

FRANKLIN LIVING— Since 1989 the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association has been credentialing animal chiropractic professionals to expand and promote knowledge and acceptance of the practice. Since 1974 the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society has been the premiere voice certifying veterinarians to offer animal acupuncture.

And since 2019, local veterinarian Dr. Emily Beason has offered these specialized forms of care for clients in north Alabama and beyond.

Beason, who founded and operates New Horizons Integrative Veterinarian Services, earned her veterinary degree from the Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine about six years ago. She soon found, however, that traditional medicine wasn’t always the best answer for the animals she treated. Adding chiropractic and acupuncture as potential alternatives to traditional treatments like surgery just made good sense.

Although most people have probably heard of chiropractic and acupuncture for humans, the idea of these practices being used to bring relief to animals might be less familiar. Despite the difference in patients, the implementation of each practice is similar no matter the recipient.

Acupuncture, Beason explained, is an art of inserting needles into specific locations on an animal’s body to elicit different responses. It helps with muscle soreness, pain, arthritis, skin problems and even eye problems. Chinese herbs can be used alongside acupuncture to aid in treatment.

Chiropractic is the art of adjusting areas in the body where there is a lack of motion, causing an impediment of communication to the rest of the body – resulting in motion restoration and a more natural balanced state for the body.

After achieving her AVCA certification following her training at Parker Chiropractic College in Dallas and earning her IVAS certification for acupuncture, Beason was ready to expand her services to animals in need.

“Surgery has its place, but not everyone can afford that,” explained Beason. “This is a natural way to find some pain relief.”

Beason provides some care from her home in East Franklin, but the majority of her practice is based at several nearby clinics. She primarily treats animals with traditional needs as a veterinarian at County Line Veterinary Services in Danville three days a week, while offering her New Horizons services on the side. She focuses on her expertise in acupuncture and chiropractic at North Alabama Animal Hospital in Muscle Shoals, one to two days a month. Beason praised NAAH for its skilled veterinarians, led by Dr. Troy Youngblood, and their commitment to allowing her to offer alternative medicine to clients there. She also recently started offering chiropractic and acupuncture at Animal Medical Clinic in Huntsville, and she crosses the state line to treat horses across west and middle Tennessee.

Horses and dogs are the primary recipients of Beason’s expertise. She said many other animals, like show sheep and show pigs, can also benefit, particularly from chiropractic, but “a lot of my work is horses,” especially show horses and those that compete in barrel racing. She has also treated cows – in fact, helping her mentor with acupuncture for bucking bulls during an externship was one experience that stoked her desire to offer acupuncture herself.

Back pain, neck pain, bladder issues, arthritis, skin issues – all can potentially be relieved by acupuncture, chiropractic or some combination of the two. Of course, not every ailment or every animal is a candidate for Beason’s services. Cats, for example, are not good acupuncture patients. “They don’t tolerate it as well,” Beason noted. “The needles aren’t as well tolerated.”

When Beason isn’t traveling far and wide to bring her healing touch to animal in need, she’s a part-time stay-at-home mother to Eliza Jane, 4, and Everett, 6 months. She is married to Caleb, who teaches agri-science at Phil Campbell and is past president of the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association, and they live on their family farm, Star B Cattle and Aussies, just east of the Newburg community on the outskirts of Russellville.

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