Holistic vs. Conventional Veterinary Medicine
|As an integrative veterinarian who uses the best of conventional and complimentary veterinary medicine, I am often asked the question as to the differences between holistic and conventional veterinary medicine. Conventional veterinary medicine can be defined as the use of traditional drugs (such as the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cortisone and antibiotics) and surgery when treating patients.
There is often an extensive diagnostic workup, including blood, urine and radiographic tests, before a definitive diagnosis is made.
Medications and/or surgery are then offered in order to palliate or suppress disease symptoms. Conventional medicine also looks at disease from what is known as a reductionistic model.There is often an extensive diagnostic workup, including blood, urine and radiographic tests, before a definitive diagnosis is made. Medications and/or surgery are then offered in order to palliate or suppress disease symptoms. Conventional medicine also looks at disease from what is known as a reductionistic model. By this I mean that conventional medicine looks at the body as being made up of various parts that, when sick, have nothing to do with the rest of the body, or overall health of the animal. For example, a pet with skin allergies and joint problems is considered to have two separate problems, and may be referred to a dermatologist or orthopedic specialist, whereas a single holistic practitioner would evaluate and treat both conditions in the pet.
Pets treated conventionally also do NOT truly achieve a higher level of health, where they are stronger or less susceptible to future illness. Conventional medicine does often lead to quicker symptomatic relief; however, this sometimes comes with a chronic health care price and/or necessity to keep animals on medication indefinitely, in order to prevent symptom relapse.
Holistic veterinary care tends to look at the body as being sick as a whole, and attempts to restore health and balance on all levels of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Nutritional, environmental and toxic stresses are also evaluated as to their role in illness. Examples of holistic therapies include homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture, and chiropractic care. The goal of treatments are to cure the patient of disease, and make patients stronger and healthier and less susceptible to future illness, rather than having to continue treatment indefinitely.
What type of veterinarian do you use for your dog or cat?