There is always lots of talk and discussion about the difference between conventional veterinary medicine and holistic veterinary medicine. Conventional medicine has been around for many years whereas holistic medicine is recently becoming a big thing that pet owners are now turning to. Although the two are working towards the same goal, to better an animal’s life, the two are very different.
There is no real research on when exactly conventional veterinarian medicine started. We do know who the father of veterinary medicine is, this would be Dr. Claude Bourgelat. He founded the first modern school of veterinary medicine in Lyon, France in 1862. (Baker, 1992-2013 ). Holistic medicine is just now starting to become popular with pet owners, as they are turning to new ways to care for their pet when they think conventional medicine is too harsh.
Conventional veterinary medicine often times does not look at the whole of the animal. It’s often about symptoms and treating them. If your cat is vomiting they may prescribe centrine to stop it or if there is diarrhea, a medication that is synthetically made is prescribed for that.
When symptoms persist even with meds then veterinarians will become more aggressive with medications to find a cure. Usually beginning with blood work, x-rays, urine samples and so forth. With synthetically made medicines, you sometimes run the risk of having side effects, and at times the Vet could possibly misdiagnose an illness and prescribe the wrong medication for the animal.
Holistic medicine tends to look at the animal as a whole, and not just look at the symptoms. Instead of looking at just the parts of the body that are sick, they look at the whole body of the animal, and attempts to restore health in the emotional, mental, and physical states. Holistic veterinarians believe that there is toxic stress from many things in an animal’s life. Whether it be from environmental or nutritional stresses, they believe the whole animal should be looked at.
There are many different types of medicine in the conventional veterinary world. They prescribe medications for anxiety, and depression as well as medications for the everyday problems such as colds and allergies. When the animal is found with a type of cancer or tumor, there are very harsh approaches to attacking it.
They use the same treatments that humans use, like radiation and chemo on your animals. Some of these medications and treatments can cause your pet side effects like vomiting, tiredness, and soreness. None the less, they are made to treat an illness and typically work.
Holistic practices look at the animal as a whole. Meaning they will treat the whole animal and not just look at the animals symptoms. Holistic veterinary care involves many conventional and unconventional routes. They will look at the animals behavior, mental state, diet and nutrition, past health history, symptoms and your relationship with your pet. They want the whole picture. Could the animal’s sickness be stress related, anxiety, is it behavioral and so on.
Holistic treatments tend to be less invasive and natural. Treatments can include the following. Acupuncture, acupressure, Chinese medicine, behavioral modification, herbal medicine, massage therapy, music therapy, mega-nutrients, augmentation therapy, nutritional therapy and chiropractic care. It can even get into Reiki, which is the simple use of your hands and touch.
If a patient arrives in a conventional veterinary’s office with signs of gagging, respiratory difficulty, snoring or exercise intolerance chances are they have brachycephalic. Brachycephalic airway syndrome (BAS) is a congenital disorder resulting from primary conformational defects, which obstruct flow of air through the upper airways. (Johnson, 2010) The vet will recommend weight reduction of the patient then they will do a surgery to correct lesions, and also will resection the soft palate.
When a patient with the same symptoms appears at a holistic veterinarian’s office, treatment is much different. Instead of surgery, the vet will prescribe a low dose of antibiotics along with other doses of Chinese herbs or appropriate nutrients. One of the Chinese herbs that are prescribed is Houttuynia. It possesses antimicrobial effects, and is useful against both bacteria and some viruses. It increases phagocytic activity of white blood cells, which can help clear pathogens. (Paula Jo Broadfoot, 2008) This is a less invasive way to treat the patient with natural medications.
Conventional veterinarians are less likely to use acupuncture on patients. When a patient arrives with a type of joint problem caused by osteoarthritis, conventional veterinarians most often turn to a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids. Holistic practices will attempt acupuncture and different herbs. They believe the acupuncture will relieve some of the stress on the joints, and relax the patient so that over time they will no longer be in pain.