The Difference Between Holistic And Conventional Veterinarians
by Dr. Cathy Alinovi
I think the best way to see the difference between conventional veterinarians and holistic veterinarians is to look at how each sees the patient differently. For example, consider a cat with a bladder infection. Both styles of veterinary medicine will identify the bladder infection and treat it. In most cases, with conventional medicine, that is it - the bladder is treated and the cat is sent on its way. Perhaps the veterinarian also recommends a prescription diet. The holistic veterinarian will consider not only how to treat the bladder infection, but will also look at what predisposed the cat to the bladder infection in the first place. The plan might consider the cat’s age, diet, overall health status, pH and how much it sheds. The exact treatment will depend on the style of medicine the holistic practitioner favors - western herbs, homeopathy, traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, or integrative therapy. And most likely, the vet would recommend real food, not a commercially prepared prescription diet.
As a second example, let's consider a dog with Lyme infection. A conventional vet may put the dog on 30-days of doxycycline, then tell the owner that the dog will test positive for Lyme for the rest of its life. Some conventional veterinarians say that in the absence of clinical signs, no action should be taken. A holistically-minded pet parent would wonder, "why wait until my dog becomes ill?" The holistic veterinarian would concur and not only use herbs or homeopathy to treat the Lyme, the veterinarian would also look at the underlying reason why the dog was exposed in the first place. What is lacking in the dogs' immune system that allowed it to become exposed to Lyme?
By looking at the whole patient, the holistic practitioner is more likely to restore health and vitality to the patient. In many cases conventional veterinary medicine simply treats the symptoms and does not get to the underlying cause.
A final brief example: allergies. The grand majority of conventional veterinarians simply prescribe antihistamines or steroids, and prescription food to deal with allergy issues. The holistic veterinarian not only identifies what the dog is allergic to, but treats as many of the underlying reasons for the allergies as possible - be the reasons yeast infection, leaky gut, environmental exposure, or anything else under human control.
There is a time and a place for each style of veterinary medicine. Certainly surgery can be life-saving - it can remove tumors, it can help after traumatic events like car accidents, it can help deliver puppies. Holistic medicine can work wonders for difficult cases where nothing else has helped. The dedicated pet parent will find the veterinarian that is best suited to the pet's particular health issues - be that vet conventionally or non-conventionally trained.
Dr. Cathy Alinovi is the owner of Hoofstock Veterinary Service in Indiana. Certified in Veterinary Food Therapy, Veterinary Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Therapy, and Aromatherapy, Dr. Cathy’s approach provides whole body support through both the best in veterinary medicine as well as high-quality, all-natural foods, supplements, and health care products. She offers phone consultation services as well as in-office appointments. Visit www.hoofstockvet.com for more information.
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