By Roseanne Tellez

(CBS) — More pet owners are turning to alternative medicine, and they say it works.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez looks at how to judge if it will help your pet.

Resistance workouts on an underwater treadmill and acupuncture treatments gave Peter Wood’s dog, who suffered from hip problems, a new lease on life€.

“Every day you could see her getting stronger. And she’d run a little bit farther, and she’d play a little bit harder,” he says.

Peter says he tried conventional medications for Sundance, but they didn’t work or caused side effects. So, he sought alternatives.

So, what exactly is alternative and holistic veterinary medicine?

“Holistic veterinary medicine, for me, is really looking at the whole animal and trying to find a treatment that will be effective and non-invasive,”  says Chicago veterinarian Barbara Royal of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Examples include using cold laser light therapy to treat arthritis and soft-tissue injuries, chiropractic techniques to treat pain and therapeutic ultrasound to decrease inflammation. Other methods may involve using herbs, supplements and vitamins to help health problems instead of, or in conjunction with, traditional medicine.

“I believe that holistic medicine can work just as well as some surgeries and medications,” Royal says.

She says many vets who offer alternative treatments still use conventional medicine such as X-rays and blood work, but once they reach a diagnosis they may suggest a holistic or alternative approach.

Up to 6 percent of vets now use some sort of holistic therapy, and research is taking off.

But veterinarian Ruthanne Chun cautions if your pet has a health problem you should review all the treatment options available.

Wood is sure he made the right choice.

“It works,” he says.

For more information about holistic vets, click here.

More veterinarian schools are including alternative medicine in their curriculum, and at least 90 veterinarians a year are learning acupuncture techniques.

Roseanne Tellez