What is a Holistic Veterinarian?

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
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Illness in pets can sometimes be linked to both physical and mental causes – a holistic veterinarian looks at both in order to determine treatment.

Do you think that a vet is a vet? The reality is that there are different subspecialties for veterinary medicine and different approaches to veterinary medical practice as well. In the same way that there are both traditional medical doctors and those who practice alternative medicine, there are also regular veterinarians and holistic veterinarians.

What is a Holistic Vet?

The term “holistic” can be interpreted in different ways, but a holistic veterinarian is generally defined as one who uses alternative medicine to treat animals. Holistic veterinarians tend to look at the bigger picture, taking into account all aspects of an animal’s being (both physical and mental) to diagnose health problems and to determine the ideal treatment.

Related: What’s The Point Of Dog Acupuncture?

Most holistic veterinarians utilize minimally invasive techniques, focusing on methods such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, ethnomedicine, chiropractic, and homeopathy instead of prescription medications and surgery. Holistic vets take into account not just the animal’s physical ailments, but the context of the environment as well.

By its nature, holistic veterinary medicine is humane. The techniques used to diagnose and treat medical conditions are as gentle as possible and they incorporate the animal’s general well-being as well as specific treatment for the condition at hand. Holistic veterinary medicine also places a heavy focus on stress reduction and natural remedies, often combining a variety of different therapies that work together to produce the desired result.

Related: Effective Alternative Treatments For Dog Arthritis

But before any treatment takes place, a true holistic veterinarian will examine the problem from all angles to determine the “why”. Whereas traditional veterinary medicine is often aimed at relieving symptoms, holistic veterinary medicine aims to solve the whole problem, gently and naturally.

Understanding Holistic Veterinary Treatments

Holistic veterinary medicine is different from traditional veterinary medicine in many ways, but the most obvious different is in regard to treatments. To help you understand how holistic veterinary medicine works, here is an overview of some common therapies:

  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture is an element of traditional Chinese medicine and it involves inserting tiny needles to stimulate certain points on the body to alleviate pain or to speed healing. It has been used to treat everything from diarrhea to arthritis.
  • Ethnomedicine: This type of medicine involves studying and utilizing the traditional medical practices utilized by various ethnic groups and indigenous peoples.
  • Homeopathy: This is a type of alternative medicine that is based on the idea that whatever is the cause of a problem can also be the solution – that taking a small dose of something that causes the symptoms the patient is already experiencing can help to cure the problem.
  • Chiropractic: Animal chiropractic is the practice of manual therapy and/or spinal manipulation that can be used for pain management and to treat musculoskeletal problems.
  • Chinese medicine: Many of the same theories of traditional Chinese medicine used to treat humans can also be used for animals. This type of medicine usually involves herbal therapies, acupuncture, food therapy, and hands-on treatments like Tui na and qigong.
Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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