The holistic approach to veterinary medicine has been increasing in popularity over the last several years as an alternative to mainstream “Western-style” care and pharmaceuticals. In order to understand what holistic veterinary medicine can do for your dog and cat, let’s take a quick look at what “holistic” really means.
In a strict definition, “holistic” means addressing the patient as a whole in a system of comprehensive care. However, the basic philosophy of holistic medicine is the treatment of symptoms. These symptoms reflect the underlying health status of the pet’s energy field and are the attempt of the body to heal. Symptoms indicate the pet’s overall health status. They also help to show us the most appropriate treatment modality and how the animal is responding to current treatments.(1)
Addressing these symptoms in a holistic way is the principle behind many forms of “alternative” or “natural” medicine modalities. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Traditional Ayurvedic Medicine, herbal therapies, nutritional therapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and Reiki all fall under the “holistic” or “alternative” category.
How can holistic practices help my pet?
The goal of the holistic approach is to bringing the body back into balance, thus treating the symptoms and underlying problems. Many owners notice that when their pet is treated holistically for one ailment, other areas of their health improve as well, such as appetite, hair coat quality and energy levels.
Common Ailments and Possible Treatments
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) practitioners are a popular choice for those seeking holistic care. The first step treating a problem is the physical exam. The physical examination that your pet receives from a TCVM practitioner is completely different from a standard Western examination. The TCVM examination serves to determine imbalances within the pet – yin, yang, heat and cold, moisture and dryness. A combination of therapies will then be recommended to help bring your pet back into balance.
Listed here are a few remedies that can help pets on the road to recovery. Before you purchase a product online or start sprinkling turmeric powder into your dog’s food – remember that these are medicinal remedies. Every pet is different and holistic remedies are not “one size fits all” – it is strongly recommended to have your pet examined by a holistic veterinarian before starting any new herb or medication.
The joints of the body are covered by a protective “cushion” or shock-absorber called cartilage. Arthritis occurs when the cartilage that protects the joints is damaged and the bones touch each other – causing pain and inflammation. While severe cartilage damage cannot be reversed, there are holistic ways to reduce pain and nourish the cartilage that is left.
- Physical therapy (physiotherapy)
When the joints begin to hurt, often the pet will not move around as much. Pain and reduced mobility can cause muscle atrophy, which makes mobility that much worse. Gentle physical therapy, such as swimming, can improve muscle tone and help support joint stability. (Continued…)