It’s easiest to look at the word “holistic” itself. The root of the word is “whole” and that is how we approach medicine. The body, mind and soul all contribute to an animal’s overall health. If any one is neglected, then they all will suffer. Holistic care fosters a cooperative relationship between a pet owner, their animal, and the veterinarian to ensure the well-being of each individual pet.
Each animal is completely different and likewise should have a unique care plan tailored to their needs. Many traditional veterinarians treat each pet the same way. Standard vaccinations are given yearly and standby medications and diets are dispensed indiscriminately. A holistic veterinarian explores deeper and tries to preserve the most natural balance of each animal.
Over-vaccination, for example, has been linked to many major health issues in pets such as auto-immune diseases and cancer. A holistic veterinarian uses details about the lifestyle of each pet to determine which illnesses they are at risk for and avoids giving boosters for things to which they are not exposed. This greatly decreases the odds of developing side effects from vaccinations, while still protecting the animal from contagious conditions they may encounter.
Another example is treatment of allergies in pets. A traditional veterinarian may dispense medication to treat the symptoms of allergies without considering possible causes in the pet’s life. Diet is a common cause of pet allergies, particularly low-grade foods that use many grain-based fillers. Holistic practitioners can work with owners to find better commercial foods or formulate homemade diets catered specifically to the animal being treated.
The biggest difference to the average pet owner is that holistic veterinarians strive to explore all other possibilities before medicating. Non-invasive and natural healing techniques such as acupuncture, chiropractic, food therapy, homeopathy and herbal supplements have even yielded positive results in conditions that traditional medicine has had little success in treating.
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