Vet Buzz from Pamela Bouchard, DVM, Tender Care Animal Hospital
Western medicine has highly sophisticated diagnostic tools, advanced dental and surgical techniques, and excellent emergency and critical-care procedures. Holistic medicine encompasses a wide variety of alternative and complimentary therapies designed to promote healing and wellness.
How do you choose which approach is best for a specific problem? For most cases I see in my veterinary practice, I believe that the best course of action is supported by integrative medicine – a combination of Western medicine and holistic care.
Some problems, such as surgery for a torn cruciate ligament, are better solved by Western medicine alone. Others, such as kidney failure, benefit greatly from alternative treatments such as herbal medicine. In many cases, as with arthritis or back problems, a combination of western and holistic care, such as western pain medications and acupuncture, works best.
An increasing number of veterinary practices are embracing integrative medicine. Veterinarians specializing in holistic techniques such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, Chinese and western herbal medicine, laser treatments, homemade diets and homeopathy are now more commonly seen working at local veterinary hospitals.
If you are considering a more integrated medical approach be sure you seek out reputable practitioners. These are graduates of an accredited veterinary college or university who follow an evidence-based practice and are certified by the board of veterinary medicine of the state in which they practice. Most of these veterinarians will have additional degrees of training in one or more holistic healing modalities.