For today's pet owners, a dog or cat or horse is just as much a part of the family as the two-legged members. This means that many caring owners are seeking better and more thorough veterinary care for their 'fur babies'. A holistic approach to care can provide the kind of quality you're looking for. But what is it?
What Is Holistic Care, Really?
There is a glut of treatment choices for health problems these days - for both humans and their pets. But with all these ideas thrown at you, it can be hard to understand what they all mean in reality. The idea of "holistic" medicine can be overused, so it's important to note that it does not refer to an alternative treatment practitioner who focuses on only one methodology or treatment. Holistic health care means a provider who considers the entire patient's experience - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - rather than just focusing on one 'primary complaint'. While some of the areas of investigation by a holistic vet might seem far-fetched or trivial to those used to traditional veterinary examination, it's the whole-body approach that sets holistic care apart.
Types of Treatments
One major misconception about holistic care is that it relies solely on 'alternative' treatments. But the very nature of a holistic approach - wholeness - means that it includes any type of treatment that will help the patient. This may include such practices as:
- Acupuncture to treat inflammation, paralysis, skin problems and pain not caused by infections.
- Chiropractic manipulation for pain management (particularly in horses and dogs).
- Homeopathy as a treatment for many different health issues.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine, which looks at patterns of health and behaviors, recommending an individualized treatment.
- Western-style veterinary medicine and surgery when it's needed.
What to Expect When You Visit
Your first visit to a holistic veterinarian like Clayton Veterinary Associates might surprise you. First of all, it is significantly longer than traditional veterinary exams. Rather than a standard 15-minute appointment to look at one malady, the holistic vet may discuss your pet's overall behavior and history for as much as 90 minutes. He or she will often perform a standard veterinary exam and order routine tests as part of the first consultation. The vet may also perform examinations based on alternative practices such as Traditional Chinese Medicine or homeopathy. Only then will he or she discuss an individualized treatment plan that coordinates any or all of these treatment options.
For those pet owners who want to be more involved in their pets' care or who may be searching for answers that traditional veterinary practitioners have not been able to find, a holistic veterinary approach may be exactly what the doctor ordered.