August 22, 2016

General Holistic Treatment

What is Holistic Veterinary Care?

by Karen Strickfaden, DVM, CVA, CAC

“W”holistic medicine focuses on the whole picture of the patient.  This picture includes the patient’s general state of health, environmental influences, nutrition, genetics, mental and emotional factors. Holistic veterinarians assess the whole animal.  We concentrate on nutrition and diet, the environment and lifestyle of the animal, and the psychologic state of the animal in the treatment and prevention of disease.

The Approach to Holistic Veterinary Care

Holistic exam room

The philosophy of holistic medicine is to consider all aspects of the animal and utilize a variety of natural therapies. The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and disease prevention.

If you have a headache and you take an aspirin, you may no longer feel the headache (at least in the short term).  However, you did not address the cause of the headache. Western medicine is focused on the symptoms (the headache). Holistic medicine concentrates on preventing or correcting the cause of the headache, not just removing the symptoms. Holistic treatments focus on what caused the headache so that we could prevent future headaches.

The goal in holistic medicine is to use natural treatments that help to restore the body to a state of balance and harmony. This philosophy is not a ‘quick fix’ but will ultimately provide longer lasting results and more balanced health.

When a patient is ill, the holistic challenge lies in the question “why?”  A simple-appearing symptom may have several layers of causation. When one area of the body is ill, it can manifest in many different ways. For example, a food allergy may present as a gastrointestinal issue (vomiting, diarrhea, gas, etc.).  The same allergy may also have systemic symptoms such as itching of the skin, ear infections, or asthma.  Only when the true cause of the ailment has been found is there the possibility for a lasting recovery.

Natural Medicine is not the same as Holistic Medicine

Many people confuse natural medicine and holistic medicine. Natural products usually are healthier for the body than drugs, and they do not have the same risk of side effects as drugs do. Natural products can be used to treat symptoms, but they don’t necessarily affect the underlying causes of disease.

For example, if you place aloe vera gel onto a skin rash, you are using a natural remedy (aloe vera) rather than a synthetic drug (such as hydrocortisone).  However, you did not address the cause of the rash in an effort to prevent future breakouts.  In this case, you have used natural medicine but not necessarily holistic medicine.

Holistic Veterinary Treatments

Holistic veterinarians use a variety of treatments to help their patients.  At Countrycare Animal Complex, we use the following holistic modalities:

  • Animal Chiropractic Manipulation
  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese and Western Herbology
  • Bioresonance (Bicom) therapy
  • Aromatherapy – Essential Oils
  • Orthomolecular (vitamin-mineral) supplementation
  • Osteopathic manipulation
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Flower Essence behavioral modification
  • Medical Ozone and Ultraviolet biophotonic therapy
  • Natural diet and nutrition counseling

Holistic healing is not a band-aid or a one-time fix, but an ongoing journey of discovery.  The goal of this life-long journey is to live better, be healthier, and strive for wholeness. This balanced approach works for both humans and our animal companions.