Holistic Vet Care

holistic vet care of a kitten

The other day we were asked by Jane on another forum if Your Vet Online was a Holistic Vet?

The question got me thinking. What does Holistic Vet Care actually mean?

So I took a look at the good old faithful Oxford Dictionary for their definition of holistic….here’s what it says:

Characterised by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Characterised by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.”

In this instance, we can remove human and replace with animals because we are talking about veterinary care here.

Therefore, according to the Oxford Dictionary’s definition of holistic, Your Vet Online absolutely provides recommendations that are Holistic. We consider the whole animal in the way we review your animal’s issues and the way we coordinate treatment plans.

I think you will find that every vet is holistic. Aside from a few specific situations, it’s pretty damn near impossible to “vet” properly without looking at the animal as a whole.

The bigger question is,  why are people even asking this question? (by the way it’s a damn good question…thanks Jane!)

To put it very simply, it’s all about marketing people. Yes, marketing. It is an attempt to position a business in a way that differs from others that are in the same niche. A business is trying to set themselves apart from the mainstream. They are trying to deposition other veterinary practices in a way that is faulty and just not true.

I dare you to go to google and type in holistic marketing. Here you can find every single profession has someone saying they use a holistic approach. That they look at the ‘whole system’ etc.

All Natural Vet Care

Next Jane asked “Do you use Homeopathy or Herbs? Do you practice all natural vet care?”

Mmmmm…..now this is where it gets interesting.

HOLISTIC does NOT equal ALTERNATIVE medicine.

HOLISTIC does not equal NATURAL.

Again, this is a marketing bandwagon that has got WAY out of hand.

The use of alternative medicine such as chiropractic, naturopathy, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs etc, does not automatically mean that you have a holistic methodology to veterinary medicine. In FACT, many of these practitioners actually are NOT qualified to give holistic advice. They have no training in the WHOLE body.

It is also worth noting that many of these so-called natural or holistic ‘therapies’ do not have any scientific evidence to support their use. Have you ever wondered why some modalities never seem to be able to supply evidence despite being around for 100s and 1000s of years? Simple answer, is that they can’t. 

We need to be very careful who we let take care of our animals. This goes for veterinarians also.

The next time you visit your vet, take note of the questions that they ask:

“what do you feed?”
“how does he cope with exercise?”
“how is he coping when you leave the house, or with the bandage, or now that your new baby has arrived?”
“What do the stools look like, and have there been any changes?”
“Have there been any changes in the home?”
“Have you noticed any changes in behaviour?”

All these questions (and there are many, many more examples) are designed to help your vet create a picture of what is going on in your animal’s life at that point in time.


An Example of Holistic Vet Care

A fabulous example of vets incorporate holistic care to ensure that they have the full picture of what is going on with your animal is the cat that suddenly gets blocked and can’t urinate.

It might seem to you that your vet is more worried about fixing the blockage, well yes, first things first, without that your poor cat WILL DIE.

But did you notice, that once the fuss is all over and the dust has settled, kitty has had the bladder unblocked, he’s doing fine on fluids, has started eating and is about to go home, your vet starts talking:

“Tell me what you are feeding?” The vet is trying to determine if perhaps a change in diet will help prevent this blockage from happening again.

“Have you noticed any behaviour changes?”….”yeah we have a new neighbour and their cat has been fighting our boy,he doesn’t like going outside now”……mmmmmmmm stress!

“How many cats do you have in the household, and how many litter trays?”

And so the question list goes on……

Why would a vet even bother asking all these questions?

Vets are trying to get the FULL picture….they are taking the HOLISTIC approach. They are not just treating the issue (blockage), but trying to find solutions so that it doesn’t happen again.

Does your cat need a change in diet, do they have a mental health problem that needs support, are there management issues within the house that might need changing?

Mental health, nutritional health, physical health, environmental health.

Vets do it all…..We are HOLISTIC.