The holistic approach to veterinary care has different meanings for different
people. Essentially it means just what the name indicates - looking at “the
whole” and not the individual parts. Holistic practitioners consider the
whole of a companion animal’s being and how every discrete part works in
relation to every other part. Fundamental to this mindset is that everything
is interrelated and nothing occurs in isolation.
Furthermore, holistic veterinarians don’t only focus on physical aspects,
they also consider the emotional, mental and spiritual elements. Holistic
health boils down to balance; imbalance leads to dis-ease. It’s important
to remember that physical signs of illness may often be the last to appear,
and that mental and emotional imbalance can lead to disease, too.
United States, veterinary medicine is usually divided into conventional
and holistic medicine. In the conventional tradition, veterinarians focus
almost solely on the physical evidence. Holistic medicine, which originated
from ancient cultures (such as, Asian, Indian, African and Native American
Indians) takes into consideration the mental and spiritual aspects, as well.
In the treatment of their patients, holistic practitioners often use herbs,
vitamins, minerals, homeopathy, energy medicine and other alternative methods.
I believe in an integrative approach, taking the best of all forms of medicine
and combining them to produce a modern holistic approach.
In addition to
the internal workings of a companion animal’s body, holistic health explores
the influence of external factors for their direct or indirect impacts on
the body. In the case of companion animals, this includes their shelter,
social interactions, levels of exercise and mental stimulation, diet, vaccination
history, and any potential exposures to toxins.
A cornerstone of the holistic
approach is nutrition, because the quality and type of foods consumed will
play a significant role in overall health, on all levels. For example, studies
show that an adequate intake of B complex vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids
(like those found in fish oil) can help to promote emotional and mental
health, for companion animals and humans.
A vital component of holistic
care is taking a preventive stance - promoting wellness and balance to prevent
illness in all its forms. Maintaining an excellent diet, stimulating the
mind for emotional and mental well-being, and exercising appropriately for
your pet’s age and body type are all critical to the holistic approach to
leading a balanced life. I advocate these practices beginning as early as
possible, so you won’t have to come see a veterinarian for imbalance and
illness later in life. If their furry little bodies are in balance, and
thus in good health, then the risk of disease is reduced, as is the need
While conventional medicine is highly valuable, sometimes
it doesn’t tell the whole story. Fortunately, increasing numbers of conventional
veterinarians are adopting a more integrative approach. Wellness programs
and educational outlets (like this blog) are empowering pet parents to make
informed decisions about their health and the health of their beloved companion
The bottom line is that it is possible for you to develop and adopt
a preventive care plan for your furry family members. In most cases, I recommend
that pet parents work with both a conventional and a holistic veterinarian
to foster a balanced life for their companion animals.
In the coming months,
I’ll be sharing some of my favorite holistic tips for companion animal care.
Look for future posts on this blog to help your whole family achieve a new
level of balance, and wellness.
Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place for companion