Holistic care is based on using a body’s own natural healing powers to help heal itself.
The four main therapies are:
- Acupuncture – the insertion of needles at specific body points to restore the flow of energy to the body.
- Chiropractic – the manipulation of the vertebrae to correct alignment.
- Homeopathic – a system for treating disease based on the administration of minute doses of a drug producing symptoms in healthy individuals similar to those of the disease itself.
- Herbal medicine – the use of specific herbs and plants for medicinal purposes.
Most people even those who use “holistic” medicine themselves do not considered using it to treat their pets. Although the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Board) does not currently recognize all holistic modalities as effective, this does not imply that Holistic modalities are not. Both may be best used in conjunction with each other. Your pets benefit by eating healthier foods and finding the right medical care with a regular veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian when needed. For example, acupuncture can be used to relieve pain and strengthen the body’s immune system; herbal medicines can enhance nutrition, improve body synergy, and homeopathy can treat the deepest innate causes of your pet’s diseases.
When holistic medicine is used in conjunction with Western medicine, a trained veterinarian may more fully serve the pet and owner.
Which modality is best?
No one modality is best, sometimes you need to use multiple tools to be most effective.
Why choose holistic veterinary care?
While most western medical approaches may work for infectious diseases, holistic medicine uses preventative measures by treating the whole body. Holistic veterinary care is much more effective when treating chronic illnesses like heart disease, obesity, allergies, digestive problems, joint pain, emotional imbalances, cancer support and dental health. Whereas western medicine can be more helpful for emergency situations requiring surgery or for acute diseases such as URI. In addition, holistic veterinarians also integrate Western diagnostic methods in their care regimen, such as X-rays and laboratory tests.
What to look for in a holistic practitioner?
A good holistic practitioner must have a thorough working knowledge of traditional medicine and certifications for each holistic tool they use. They must be able to work with traditional veterinarians to maximize your pet’s ability to heal. A fully trained holistic veterinarian will have acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy, nutritional supplements, chiropractic, Western or allopathic, aryvedic, massage, physical therapy, and aromatherapy tools available all in one practice. Or at least have these experts readily available for consultation.
Does holistic therapy cost more?
Medical treatments can get expensive, but some holistic approaches offer cheaper and equally effective results. Because herbs and nutritional supplements can’t be patented, the holistic veterinarian can offer a wider array of remedies such as Chinese herbs and acupuncture. This can make a significant difference, especially in cases of chronic illness.
Where do I find out more information about holistic medicine?
Pet owners can conduct a free search for holistic veterinarians by state or go to http://www.ahvma.org/.
-Adapted from NAPPS, Fall 2013
This is by no means a comprehensive list of veterinarians who practice holistic medicine in our area but just a few vets closest to our catchment area in both NH and VT. For a more detailed and comprehensive list please go to http://www.ahvma.org/ for more information.
Holistic Medicine in NH
Holistic Veterinary Service
Kimberly Keuhl Lamb
Holistic Medicine in VT
River Road Veterinary Clinic
Chelsea Animal Hospital
Betty Jo Black
Thetford Center, VT