Well, in general, a holistic vet is a professional who integrates both conventional and alternative methods to treat your pet. If a vet offers medications and surgery as treatments for your pet, then he/she is a conventional vet. On the other hand, if the vet offers medicinal herbs, nutritional supplements, chiropractic care, acupuncture etc, he/she is usually an alternative vet. When vets combine the practices of both holistic and conventional into their ministrations, then they are a holistic vet.
Benefits of a Holistic Veterinarian
The holistic pet care principle is guided by the notion that the body knows how to care for and heal on its own. By identifying the root cause of the illness in your pet, the holistic veterinarian can administer a treatment that addresses it so as to prevent your pet from falling ill again. The holistic vet also advises you on pertinent daily lifestyle choices for your pet so that your pet remains in good health.
Contrastingly, the conventional vet tackles the symptoms to the problem. For example, if your pet has come down with an ear infection, the vet would dole out medication to treat say, the swelling on your dog’s ear. The actual cause of the infection is then overlooked and left untreated.
Focuses on Your Pet’s Health as a Whole
You’d typically spend a lot more time at the holistic vet’s office as he/she inquires about your pet’s behavior, lifestyle, diet, social habits and any observed irregularities. Knowing more about your pet will help give the vet a more complete picture to diagnose your pet more accurately. It is only after they’ve gotten all the facts that they recommend a fitting treatment for your cat or dog.
Variety of Treatments
It may seem bizarre to most that the same treatments we use for humans (ie. acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, herbal remedies etc.) can be used on animals too. But if they’re safe, effective and there aren’t any side effects, why not right? Studies have shown that while there is no definite answer to the effectiveness of acupuncture on animals, there is “scientific research to show that it can both safely and effectively reduce physical and psychological problems related to cancer and its treatment”. Many pet owners are even leaning towards chiropractic care for their pets as a natural, non-invasive, pain relief from certain health conditions.
Moreover, because the holistic vet takes the time to understand the lifestyle of your pet, the treatments he/she recommends are unique to your pet.
A More Natural Approach
A holistic vet will prescribe your pet traditional herbal medicine sourced from natural herbs. Such medicines could actually be more effective than their chemical equivalents! Perhaps even more so with its lack of side effects. With many conventional medicines, there is usually a whole host of harmful side effects that needs to be counteracted with even more medicine. The holistic pet care approach revolves around more natural remedies and therapies which are ideal for pets with chronic illnesses.
So, Holistic Vets or Conventional Vets?
I recently spoke to Dion (one of the staff here at Nekojam!) on her (or rather, her dog’s) experience with a holistic vet from Gentle Oak Vet. Dion’s doggo, Lemon had an allergic reaction and she had (unknowingly) taken him to a holistic vet. She was pleasantly surprised when the vet prescribed Lemon herbal remedies instead of conventional medicine. Dion lamented that she didn’t want to feed her dog Western medicine; she felt that those typically only cure the symptoms of a problem instead of the root cause of the issue. The medical practitioner at Gentle Oak Vet also advised her to try changing Lemon’s diet to see how he fares and it worked! But Dion added that in certain cases such as flea and tick infections, conventional treatments are perhaps more effective.
When it comes to the treatments of our pets, it is best to carry out your own research to see which is a better fit for your pet. However, that is not to say that you should choose one over the other. Holistic pet care and conventional pet care both have their merits. It’d then be good to consider incorporating both in your pet’s healthcare needs to get the best of both worlds. One thing to note though: Many vets today are beginning to market themselves as “holistic” simply to gain more traction in the “go green” movement. So before you pick a vet, research!
“Dog Chiropractors – What You Need To Know – Trupanion Pet Care”. 2019. Trupanion.Com. https://trupanion.com/pet-care/chiropractic.
Feldman, Jesse. 2019. “5 Health Benefits Of Acupuncture For Dogs”. Petcarerx. https://www.petcarerx.com/article/5-health-benefits-of-acupuncture-for-dogs/1570.
“Is Your Vet In Singapore Really Holistic?”. 2019. Rehabilitation And Hydrotherapy Clinic Singapore. https://rehabvet.com/2016/06/26/vet-trully-holistic/.
Khalsa, Narayan. 2014. “Top 5 Benefits Of A Holistic Veterinarian | Animal Wellness Magazine”. Animal Wellness Magazine. https://animalwellnessmagazine.com/the-top-5-benefits-of-a-holistic-veterinarian/.
*Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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