Holistic Pet Health Care

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Holistic Pet Health Care

Holistic pet health care – what is it, and why is it growing so rapidly in popularity? Holistic health care generally means avoiding allopathic medicine – prescription medications, unnecessary vaccinations, surgery, or sometimes avoiding allopathic medical care altogether. I’m a holistic vet. For me, that means that I have to consider ALL the health care options. Including prescription medications and surgery. Because sometimes these allopathic (western medical) interventions are genuinely the best choice for your pets. They are never my first choice, by the way. I always explore holistic treatment options first.

I have a strong bias towards holistic health care for myself. This is true of most people who seek holistic health care for their pets. Some people get flat out fanatical about holistic health care – to the point where they will refuse prescription medications for themselves, and for their pets, even when they are the best choice. I encourage you to be open to the idea that in some cases, prescription medications or surgery will absolutely be the best thing for your pets. Refusing these allopathic interventions in situations like this can do your pets harm.

My approach to holistic pet health care is to:

  1. Have a strong focus on preventative health care with regular health checks and a holistic life health plan.
  2. Consider the whole animal in all decisions I make. I look beyond the physical to the mental, emotional, and the family unit that the animal is living in. I know that the disease is more than just the symptoms we can see in the sick animal – it is an expression of deeper imbalances in the body/mind system that need to be addressed.
  3. Empower the human to understand what is happening every step of the way through clear communication and connection. I also educate the human about issues like silent pain, anxiety, over-excitement, poor boundaries with their pets etc. – I teach people how to take greater responsibility for their pets well-being, primarily through teaching them how to find and relive silent pain, anxiety and trauma with their own two hands using the healing bodywork of the Whole Energy Body Balance Method.
  4. Invite and support the human to love and care for themselves as well as they love and care for their animals. The happier and healthier you are, the happier and healthier your pets will be.
  5. Make sure I gather all the data I can about what is actually happening in the animal’s body. A deep history, a thorough physical examination, and necessary diagnostic tests need to be performed. At a minimum, blood tests need to be performed to see how the internal organs are functioning (It’s best practice to do yearly blood tests). If your animal has a lump that is growing, we need to find out if it’s. cancer, and if it is, what kind of cancer. A fine needle biopsy may do the trick, sometimes a surgical biopsy will be necessary. X-rays may be needed if clinical findings suggest certain diseases. Further imaging like ultrasounds or CT scans, MRI scans etc. may be the next necessary steps in gathering the information we need to make the best choices for your animal. I discuss all the options when it comes to diagnostics, and support the human in making the best informed decision they can.
  6. Generate differential diagnoses. I need to look at the symptoms, what was obvious on examination, findings of tests, and see what diseases could match up with this picture. What diseases could be causing this illness? How likely is each one to be the problem?
  7. Reach a definitive diagnosis (or diagnoses if there are multiple health issues in play).
  8. Formulate a holistic treatment plan that will best serve this animal’s needs. This is where I will be using the most natural, safest, holistic diet, supplements, medicines and interventions that I possibly can. At the same time, I’m going to be very pragmatic, and strongly recommend prescription medications or surgery if I judge that’s in the best interest of the animal. For example if you have a bitch with a pyometra (infected uterus), they are quite likely going to need surgery to save their life. Yes, we can support them through surgery and recovery with a holistic approach.
  9. Monitor response to treatment and adjust the holistic treatment plan as required – this will involve revisits to me, the vet, and we may have to repeat diagnostics.
  10. Once the animal has recovered (or we have them as stable and as well as we can), then we will move to an ongoing, supportive/preventative holistic life health plan to keep the animal as healthy as is possible, as naturally as we can.

This is quite a journey. It takes time and effort to investigate and treat your animals holistically. If you don’t have a holistic vet locally, then you’ll need to have a remote holistic vet who is in the loop with the results of testing etc. so you can discuss the situation not only with your regular vet, but then run it all past your holistic vet too, and then integrate the holistic options into any regular allopathic veterinary care. In an emergency situation, this may not be possible. However, true emergency care tends to need regular veterinary medicine, surgery, hospitalization etc. Holistic care will become important in the recovery and rehab phases.

Having a holistic vet on your team to discuss your animals case with can be a great help. You get a different point of view, you can ask questions, and gain greater understanding of what the options are. It will help you make better choices!

I encourage you to form a relationship with a holistic vet before there is a problem if you can. The sooner you get onto the healthiest possible diet, stop over-vaccinating, maintain a healthy weight, integrate the best possible supplements into your pets health plan, and then maintain this program, the better for your pet (and the less likely your animals will get sick).

However (and I can’t stress this enough) there are some things that a purely holistic approach simply can’t help. Dental health is probably the most important one. Every pet should have a dental under general anaesthetic every year. Poor dental health causes all sorts of chronic health problems. And the ONLY way to deal with it properly is yearly dental x-rays and a full scale and polish under GA. You simply cannot clean the teeth properly with your pet awake. (Humans need a scale and polish every 6 months too, by the way!)

If you are going to be truly holistic, you have to consider ALL the treatment options- including prescription medications and surgery when needed. (I stress ‘needed’.)

And of course – to truly care holistically for your pets, you’ll need to do the same for yourself. How is your diet? Do you exercise? Do you have regular hands-on work to support yout comfort and flexability? Do you practice yoga, Chi gong, Tai Chi, Pilates, Feldenkries or the like?

If you want me on your pet’s health team, please email to dredward@thehealingvet.com – I’d love to help!

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