Many pet owners have heard of Holistic Veterinary Care and file it away as new age woo woo or a replacement for traditional veterinary medicine. If you’ve got images of rottweilers doing rain dances, or terriers with tarot cards, listen up. This couldn’t be further from the truth!
“Holistic Therapy” encompasses a variety of treatments and preventative methods that are often used in conjunction with more traditional treatments. Some of these include acupuncture, Reiki, use of Chinese and Western herbs, chiropractic, essential oils, homeopathy, and nutritional planning. These therapies seek to cure the underlying disease, not just treat its symptoms. Many have clinical research, and happy, healthy, wagging tails behind them.
So what type of diseases and illnesses can be treated with the use of holistic therapies? How about chronic issues such as diabetes, asthma, thyroid disease, epilepsy, ear infections, inflammatory bowel disease, and acute problems like poisonings, injuries, or infections, just to name a few. What are some of the differences in treatment between conventional veterinary medicine (allopathy) and holistic therapies?
Let’s say that your pooch is suffering from skin allergies. Maybe Fido has hot spots that wont heal, dry, flaky skin that he won’t stop scratching, or redness and irritation. When you take your dog to a traditional veterinarian for this condition, your pet may be given a steroid injection and several different prescription medications. While these treatments may help, there are other options with less potential side effects. A holistic vet may suggest that you wipe your dog down with a wet cloth after they go outside, wash your bedding (or any other fabric they come in contact with) more frequently to reduce allergens, or change their diet. They may also suggest beginning a regimen of supplements such as Grape Seed Extract to block histamines over time, reducing the allergic symptoms. You may be given medications to treat the immediate discomfort; however the focus will be on prevention and control.
Years ago, my beagle/lab mix was getting these scabs that would last for a few weeks and then flake off, leaving a bald patch. Her traditional vet had been prescribing pill after pill with no relief in sight. Then we met a holistic vet. He took one look, diagnosed the bald spots as yeast infections and prescribed a high quality kibble. Eight years later, she’s never lost another patch of fur.
The best part is that just like a human doctor that utilizes holistic medicine, a veterinarian wont just treat the individual symptoms that your pet is exhibiting, he or she will take your fur baby’s entire health into consideration. They will discuss proper nutrition with you (and you will likely be surprised and horrified by what’s in “supermarket pet food”), whether or not your pup is getting enough exercise (no, begging for treats is not cardio), and if they are suffering from stress or anxiety (yes, even though they don’t have to pay bills, your pooch might need to relax and recharge). Together, you will devise a plan for your pet that keeps that happy and healthy for a long time. Think of it as the preventative medicine you wish your HMO doc provided.
To learn more about Holistic Veterinary Care or to find a practitioner in your area, please visit the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. Having the best possible veterinary care… its what every dog deserves.