What is Holistic Veterinary Medicine, and Why are Vets Shifting Towards a more Holistic Approach?
More and more veterinarians are starting to shift towards a more holistic approach when treating pets, using a combination of traditional medicine and complimentary medicine to promote healing. While vets are scientifically, medically trained, with growing interest and good results in patients, they are increasingly recommending alternative complimentary therapies to both prevent illness and promote healing naturally.
Holistic veterinary medicine is a relatively new concept that incorporates natural preventative and complimentary medicine and medical techniques, such a physiotherapy, chiropractic therapy, acupuncture, hydrotherapy, wholesome nutrition and dietary supplements (for example omega 3 & 6 oils and herbs such as turmeric) that help to both prevent illness and boost pet health.
The methods employed in holistic medicine tend to be minimally invasive, gentle and focus on reducing stress while ensuring the overall well-being of the patient. A holistic veterinarian will often use a combination of conventional medicine and alternative therapies on a case-by-case basis according to each patient’s individual medical needs.
Holistic medicine implies looking at the broader picture rather than simply focusing on the symptom. This means taking additional factors, such as the patient’s environment, diet and pet-owner relationship, into account and developing a treatment strategy that incorporates a wider range of treatment therapies to promote healing. A holistic veterinarian will not only look at the patient’s medical history but will also consider factors such as genetics, family relationships, environment, stress levels and diet.
When assessing a patient, a holistic veterinarian will look more deeply into what might be causing the symptoms. According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, “a simple-appearing symptom may have several layers of causation. When one area of the body is ill, it can manifest in many different ways. Only when the true cause of the ailment has been found is there the possibility for a lasting recovery.”
A holistic vet will conduct a full analysis using standard veterinary observations and conventional medical tests to determine the root cause of the symptoms. Once this has been identified, the vet will select the most effective, least invasive and least harmful treatment that may result in a successful cure. Very often this may involve a combination of conventional drug therapy, together with alternative complementary medicine, which when used in combination can be very effective at treating certain diseases.
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Because holistic medicine looks at the bigger picture rather than just focusing on the symptoms, treatment is not complete until the underlying causes have been addressed. This helps the patient achieve optimal health by nurturing all aspects of the animal’s well-being, and ultimately results in long-lasting physical, mental, and emotional good health.