Although holistic veterinary medicine has been around for many years, it has become increasingly popular over the past two decades, with more and more vets embracing the practice. There are a couple of reasons for this.
One of the reasons for its popularity is the fact that many pet owners have experience with Alternative Medicine themselves and are looking for less invasive ways to treat their pets. Although medications can heal, they also come with a number of secondary effects. While some health issues require the use of traditional medication, this is not always true for every health condition. In fact, many milder problems can be treated through less invasive therapies such as herbal medicine, acupuncture and homeopathy. Even nutritional therapy can work wonders for certain health issues that don’t seem to respond to other forms of treatment.
If your pet is already undergoing traditional treatment for a health problem, holistic medicine can be used as an add-on, either to help relieve secondary effects or symptoms or to strengthen the immune system so the healing occurs faster.
What is Holistic Veterinary Medicine?
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) defines holistic medicine as “treatment that’s minimally invasive.” This means the techniques and products used to treat the animal don’t cause stress to the body and don’t produce symptoms or side effects like traditional drugs do. This makes holistic medicine a smart choice for elderly pets or for those with a weak immune system.
In addition, holistic pet medicine is a more comprehensive form of natural pet care. Rather than addressing a particular symptom or problem, the aim of holistic medicine is to treat the whole patient. Many forms of alternative therapy focus on stress reduction and overall well-being, mainly because a pet that feels better will be stronger and better able to fight any underling health issues.
What Can You Treat with Holistic Veterinary Medicine
Holistic medicine is not a cure-all, and the only way to determine if it can benefit your pets is to bring them in for a consultation. We have had high levels of success using holistic medicine to treat skin problems (anything from dermatitis to allergies), eye and ear problems, arthritis, autoimmune problems and IBD (inflammatory bowel disease). We also use holistic medicine to help pets deal with major issues such as cancer. This could be done as additional support (to help alleviate the effects of chemo or pain, for example) or as end-of-life care in cases where no other treatment is helping.
Holistic medicine can also be used to treat conditions that have been labeled as “untreatable” by conventional medicine. For example, pets with high levels of anxiety or suffering from complex issues might not take well to endless diagnostic tests. In those cases, a simpler, softer approach to care could still help with healing and improve overall health and well-being.
Deciding if Holistic Medicine is Right For Your Pet
Holistic medicine is not always an exact science. This means we might have to try a few different things until we find what works for your pet, for instance holistic pet food. In addition, it’s sometimes useful to combine a few different things to obtain the best results.
For example, a pet with hip dysplasia might benefit from nutritional therapy (changes in diet to address extra weight or poor nutrition), as well as laser therapy, acupuncture and supplements. Because holistic medicine is gentle on the body, combining a few therapies will not cause problems like the kind you might see when combining strong drugs or other more invasive forms of treatment.
At our clinic, Dr. Eve Boggs has extensive knowledge of both traditional and holistic pet medicine. This provides an excellent environment for healing, as she is able to understand when to combine therapies and when a more natural approach can work on its own to help your pet.