SELECTING A HOLISTIC VETERINARIAN
Holistic medicine takes the perspective of treating the whole animal. Even if there is a current problem, for example diarrhea or itching, a good holistic veterinarian will ask questions about what problems there have been in the past, what changes in the household or the environment may have triggered the current complaint and if there is anything that makes the current complaints better or worse. They will also evaluate the overall energy level of the animal. Their goal is to make the animal healthier for life, not just to get rid of the current symptom. They will educate you and explain what they see when physically examining your animal.
Some of the modalities that holistic veterinarians may use include acupuncture, herbs, flower essences, homeopathy, chiropractic, network chiropractic, nutrition, glandulars, Reiki, Tellington touch, healing touch, long distance healing modalities. Some of these have certification programs with a year or more of courses, exams and evaluation of clinical ability. Others are either self-taught or not regulated. Some individuals are wonderful with your animal -- others great at explaining to you what is happening with your animals. A few are good in both areas. Few veterinarians are perfect, and we all have bad days. Your animal should at least be comfortable with your choice and you should be able to get your questions and concerns addressed.
The number of holistic veterinarians is rapidly increasing, so the first place to look is in your own city. Call the local health food store or holistic health practitioner (chiropractor, acupuncturist, etc.) and ask if they know of any holistic veterinarians or ones that are open to supporting your holistic work with your animals. The Veterinary Advice Line connects you directly with a holistic veterinarian who will discuss your animal’s problem for $34.99. they will help you decide on the next course of action and refer you to someone in your area or a veterinarian with whom you can consult by telephone. Call 1-866-4-VET NOW.
The Internet is your next tool as most organizations have web sites and many breed associations and concerned pet owners have web sites that share names of good holistic veterinarians. Many veterinary organizations also have phone numbers that you can use, but since offices may not be well staffed it will be quicker to use the Internet. The information below should help you find the most appropriate homeopathic/holistic veterinarian for your pet. Please note that the lists of veterinarians on these web sites may not always be up-to-date. If your first attempts lead nowhere, don’t give up, keep trying! Or call the Veterinary Advice Line.
Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
PO Box 232282
Leucadia CA 92023-2282
Web: theAVH.org (Good list of members, many of whom work by phone.)
American Association of Veterinary Acupuncture
PO Box 419 Hygiene, CO 80533-0419
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Ass.
2218 Old Emmorton Road Bel Air, MD 21014
Phone: 1-410-569-0795 Fax: 1-410-569-2346
Veterinary Chiropractic Ass.
623 Main Street Hillsdale, IL 61257
Phone: 1-309-658-2920 Fax: 1-309-658-2622
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society
PO Box 271395 Fort Collins, CO 80527
Phone: 1-970-266-0666 Fax: 1-970-266-0777
Once you have several recommendations, how do you select one to start with and then how do you know if you are getting good service?
Ask the veterinarian you are interested in:
1. Ask what modalities are used?
2. What is their training?
3. Is their goal overall health or to merely treat the current complaint?
4. What organizations they belong to? (Just because they belong to AHVMA, or AVH, does not mean they are trained or capable in those modalities.)
As she treats your animal, a good holistic veterinarian will usually:
1. Ask about the history, overall energy, what might have caused the current problem, the environment and what makes the symptoms better or worse.
2. Their physical exam will be gentle, complete and they will show you (you may need to ask) what they mean by “gingivitis, big lymph nodes, heart murmur”, etc.
3. They will be willing to answer your questions and explain why they are recommending a particular treatment.
4. If they recommend conventional treatments (antibiotics, prednisone, etc.) they will explain to you why they choose this over holistic, and give you a chance to request the more holistic treatment.
5. They will not do anything (vaccinate, treat) without asking you first.
6. They will recommend fewer or no vaccinations and a raw meat or at least more holistic diet.
7. They will schedule follow up appointments until your animal is really healthy.
(See symptoms of chronic disease)
What you can do to help your holistic veterinarian:
1. Keep a dated journal of any problems, even little ones.
2. Write down any treatments given.
3. Call if symptoms worsen, or they are less energetic and less happy, or you have concerns.
NB: There are many, many holistic healing modalities available. Many of them can act very deeply. Of course, I have a strong bias towards veterinary homeopathy integrated into modern medicine (thus getting the best of both worlds). I feel however that it is incumbent upon the pet owner to decide how to treat their beloved pet. Dr. Chambreau's book is one of the few that sits on my desk for clients to peruse. Please remember that a "jack of all trades" is often the master of none.--Dr. Jeff
Please note: The information provided here is intended to supplement the recommendations of your veterinarian. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment based on information on this site. Nothing can replace a complete history and physical examination performed by your veterinarian. -Dr. Jeff