Like a growing number of pet parents, I now take my cats to a holistic veterinarian, for a variety of reasons.
For one, vets who practice complementary integrative medicine – a combination of traditional Western and alternative modalities that are often based on Eastern approaches to treating pets – tend to have far more diverse tools in their arsenal.
Furthermore, vets who take a holistic and/or homeopathic approach to pet health and wellness are less likely to over-vaccinate and arbitrarily medicate pets, which has become a great concern within the veterinary profession among those who are more enlightened about pet health practices.
I learned the dangers of this the hard way, after losing my beloved 5-year-old cat, Omar, to a vaccine-associated sarcoma, the result of his being over-vaccinated by an old school vet who was convinced that pets have to receive a battery of unnecessary shots annually.
As such, I have found that vets who practice integrative medicine are generally less likely to be unduly influenced by the pharmaceutical industry, and will often explore organic approaches to treating pet ailments – as opposed to merely throwing pharmaceutical meds at the issues.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a proper time and place for traditional Western approaches to pet health and wellness. However, vets who practice complementary medicine are far more likely to additionally explore more natural options when it comes to caring for companion animals.
Services that Holistic Veterinarians May Offer
Pets can now benefit from virtually the same types of alternative treatments that are available for people including:
- Chiropractic care
- Herbs, flower essences and homeopathic remedies
- Muscle testing (a form of kinesiology)
- Ozone therapy
- Therapeutic massage … and more.
In addition, holistic vets tend to be more knowledgeable about the healthier natural pet diet and nutrition options, as opposed to merely pushing “prescription” pet foods.
How Does One Become a Holistic Vet?
Virtually all of the vets I have encountered who now practice complementary integrative medicine started out as traditional pet docs, who earned veterinary degrees from mainstream accredited universities.
They later decided to explore the natural options because they were frustrated by the limitations of traditional Western meds and pet health care approaches.
As such, they sought continuing education in natural practices and holistic modalities via attending workshops and seminars, conducting independent research, and becoming certified in specific practices, among other routes.
Vets can now receive certification for practices like acupuncture; homeopathic medicine via such institutions as the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy; pet nutrition; botanical medicine; and many other areas.
The American Holistic Veterinary Association, which was launched in 1982 to provide information for vets who wish to follow this route, is an excellent resource.
How to Find a Holistic Vet for Your Pet
The above-mentioned association website contains a comprehensive list of holistic practitioners by state – as well as the types of animals they treat and the modalities they practice – which you can access here.
Another great way to find a reputable vet is through word of mouth via other pet parents, proprietors of pet stores that specialize in natural pet products, enlightened pet groomers and general networking.
Otherwise, it’s very important to thoroughly vet and conduct research into any veterinarian to whom you are entrusting the care of your beloved critters.
I learned this the hard way, and hope that I may help others to avoid the pain and heartache I endured.