If you have been following us for a bit, you may have noticed that we have two vets and we refer to one as our traditional vet, and the other is our holistic vet.
Some of you have asked, why two vets? Good question! Simply said, we love both of them! And our cat family started with our traditional vet and his wonderful clinic and team.
Both Beau and I have been to specialists as needed in the traditional vet world too, me for my food allergies with an animal dermatologist and Beau to an animal eye doctor. In every case, we were treated with compassion and the best veterinary care by everyone along the way.
So then why do we have a holistic vet too? Because they bring different practices and disciplines to the table as mom says. The same way many of you might have your internist but also see an acupuncturist, a chiropractor or a holistic nutritionist.
You may be wondering, how is a holistic vet different from a traditional vet? How are they the same? What is a holistic vet anyway?
Let’s start with the definition of a holistic approach to veterinary health care. Holism is a philosophical belief (started in Asia centuries ago) that the body will function better when all individual areas of the body are in top working order. We call this a “whole body approach”.
When doctors focus only on the incident or problem as presented by the symptoms, it is possible that the real cause will be overlooked because it may be present in another area or organ.
When vets are presented with a pet’s health issues, they have to follow a certain prescribed protocol in thoroughly examining the pet’s overall health, perhaps ordering certain tests and of course the all-important physical exam.
All of this mirrors what happens to you humans when you have a health concern and you go to your doctor to check it out.
While most times, the diagnose is the same between the traditional vet and the holistic vet, the approach from there on is often different.
Let’s understand one thing, all holistic veterinarians went to traditional vet school just like all traditional vets do. They all graduated and became US certified veterinarians in the traditional sense. After that is where some vets go on to specialize in certain areas like dermatology, eyes, cancer and some go on to train and be certified in holistic veterinary medicine.
Traditional and conventional medicine relies on drugs, surgery and other relative treatments, many of these have bad side-effects which can be just as debilitating as the disease that it is supposed to cure.
Holistic medicine starts with the whole-body approach, and constructs a lifestyle shift for the pet that can include changing the diet. For example, a fresh food diet will always be recommended as step one followed by certain supplements and herbs to help boost the immune system.
Also, the home environment will be examined as certain ailments can be brought on by stress and anxiety within the home itself. We all know now that stress causes inflammation in you humans, well it is the same with us cats!
After that, the holistic vet may prescribe chiropractic sessions, acupuncture, or physical rehab to help with the issue and see if it can be addressed without drugs or surgery. That is the main mission.
These various treatments can also help when the pet has to take medication or endure surgery too.
On a personal note, currently I am being treated for gingivitis which both of my vets feel might be a signal that I have stomatitis. The holistic vet has been trying some immune-boosting serums that have helped other cats with the same gum inflammation. I know that I will have to go in and have my teeth cleaned at some point – and so they can get in there under the gums to see what is going on. Weird thing is my teeth are in pretty good shape. Keep you posted!
And like we always say - be sure to book your pet’s semi-annual or annual vet visit!