Friday, 3 May 2013

Practitioners of (Conventional) Modern Veterinary Medicine, Holistic Veterinary Medicine – differences in approach and impact on your Dog’s or Cat’s Health


Understanding the difference between these two approaches to your dog's and cat's care can help you to better support your companion animal's short and long-term health in partnership with your veterinarian...





Practitioners of Modern Veterinary Medicine

It is important to understand that practitioners of modern medicine also called allopathic medicine (human, canine, feline, etc.):
  1. Are trained to understand and expertly perform standard and emergency medicine;
  2. Modern medicine is designed to address illness and disease post development;
  3. Modern Medicine is designed to react to and treat acquired conditions, it is not designed to strategically enable and maintain overall health and well being. 

    If your veterinarian has:
    • Either informally or formerly studied overall health and well being in addition to their standard 4 yr Veterinary Science university course then it is fair to expect that they are in a viable position to advise you beyond standard and emergency healthcare.
Most companion animals owners do not realize that the university Veterinary Sciences course focuses on emergency health care, not preventative health care and in the absence of this realization unrealistic and unfair expectations can occur...
In all fairness:
  1. You should not expect your Veterinarian to be viably knowledgeable about:
    • Nutrition, toxins and carcinogens present in foods and medications and;
    • As nutrition is a fundamental factor in achieving good chronic care you should not expect them to be able to advise you on achieving a total care and/or chronic care regimen - they should be able to advise you on portions thereof.
  2. To have such an expectation that they can advise you on the entirety is not realistic;
  3. And in the best of worlds, in return the Veterinarian:
    • Should not lead you to expect that they are in a position to advise you fully and viably regarding diet and chronic care unless they have done additional studies (formal or informal) on these subjects.
When this mutual recognition of expectations is not respected your companion animal can end up having his/her health seriously impacted.
To exemplify this - some of my clients are doctors - practitioners of modern medicine, and they themselves have confirmed this to me;
    • In addition they tell me that they know little to nothing about nutrition:
    • They also note that if they did they would be in a much better position to help their patients.
Practitioners of conventional modern medicine excel at emergency medicine - it is what they are trained to do. They are not trained to prevent illness and disease. They are trained to understand and deliver emergency treatment.

Nutrition is not always considered a first response or major consideration in emergency treatment;
  1. Which is why nutrition is not a focus during their four years of Veterinary Science at university;
    • During a four year course on Veterinary Science the veterinary student spends about one week (40 to 50 hours) studying nutrition;
    • In addition,  the course material on nutrition is comprised of study material (text books, study aids and even the course material) is sponsored by and in many cases 100% provided by the big-name pet food manufacturers;
      • As such the Veterinarian student is not taught about the harmful ingredients present in commercially manufactured dog and cat food;
      • The end-result is that they are not provided the opportunity to study and understand why those ingredients are harmful;
      • Nor are they provided with an understanding of what constitutes a healthy alternative. 
      • The reason Veterinarians sell Prescription Dog and Cat Food (i.e. Royal Canine, Hill's, Purina) that is seriously harmful to your companion animal, is becase they simply do not realize that the products are extremely harmful.
  2. Illness and disease develop when diet is poor, which also contributes to poor mental health, which then effects behaviour and spirit (i.e. being in an anxious state);
  3. When you understand the strengths and limitations of your veterinarian's background you can then inform yourself so that you do not rely on him/her for advise in areas where he/she cannot provide viable information. 

 
Holistic Practitioners of Veterinary Medicine

Holisitic practitioners focus on treating the whole being - so understanding nutrition is of  great importance. Holistic practitioners of medicine (veterinary, canine, feline, etc.) use Complementary and Alternative (CAM) medicine (human, canine, etc.). Cam includes:
  • Acupuncture;
  • Ayurveda;
  • Chiropractic medicine;
  • Energy medicine;
  • Herbalism;
  • Homeopathy;
  • Meditation and hypnosis (human);
  • Naturopathy;
  • Nutritional-based therapies;
  • Nutritional medicine;
  • Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM);

A simple example of the difference in approach between conventional and holistic medicine can be seen in how chronic yeast-based ear infections are dealt with...


Conventional Veterinarian:

Treatment
  1. Prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection;
  2. When the ear infection re-occurs, more antibiotics will be prescribed;
  3. An ear cleaning solution may also be prescribed (many of these contain toxins - the veterinarian is not trained to identify additives and toxins in prescription and over-the-counter medicants);
  4. This protocol is in keeping with emergency medicine - which is what they are trained to do;
Some veterinarians may also try to identify the ongoing cause of the ear infection by doing a series of allergy tests, which may or may not come up with conclusive findings;
  1. The veterinarian may suggest an alternate food, and in many cases they will try to sell you one of the foods that they are selling;
    • Two problems with this:
      • If the veterinarian knows little about nutrition then:
        • They may not be able to bridge the gap between inconclusive test results and the likely cause of the food allergy;
        • They will not know what food or foodstuffs to suggest as a healthy alternative;
        • And they will not  know how to analyze dog or cat (dry and wet) food ingredients, additives independently from the manufacturers claims - the veterinarian cannot assess the real health-value of the food.


Holistic Veterinarian
 
Treatment
  1. May avoid the use of antibiotics to treat the chronic ear infection;
  2. May treat the immediate symptoms and the outer manifestations of the infection with natural interventions such as those in this article.
Remedy
  1. May ask what type of food the dog/cat is currently eating, and ;
  2. May make immediate suggestions to change the diet, and;
  3. May suggest a one time detox protocol.
 Sadly there are many holistic veterinarians that are NOT truly holistic.
In Conclusion...
  1. If you like and trust your veterinarian then you don't need to switch to another veterinarian, but;
  2. You do need to take some of the responsibility for knowledge awareness, and:
  • Understand that there may be some limitations to what your Veterinarian can advise you on;
  • To ensure your companion animal attains and maintains optimal health engage a professional.


Holistic Support

Holistic Wellness Services and Holistic Behaviorist Services 

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld. 

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Important Note

1.0 Use of Foods, Herbs, Alternative Medicines:

Safe use of items and protocols in the article above, is your sole responsibility.

Foods, herbs and alternative medicines have health issue, condition and conventional drug interactions. Safe use of all substances and protocol are your responsibility.

Before you use any substance or protocol do your research. Check for cautions, contradictions, interactions and side effects. Do not use substances or protocols not suitable to your animal's individual circumstances.

If your animal has an underlying condition substances and protocols may conflict.

2.0 Definition of Holistic…

Food, herbs, alternative medicines are NOT ‘holistic’ they are a substance and MAY, or may NOT be ‘NATURAL’.

If you use a ‘natural’ substance (ie. an herb) you are using a natural substance, not a holistic substance.

Holistic is not defined by use of one or several substances. Holistic is an approach.

Definition of “holistic” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press

Adjective

"relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts"

"Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease."

Holistic is a way of approaching life, and within that health, and well-being.

3.0 Expectation a natural substance remedies a health or behavioral situation.

A natural substance used to treat symptoms. But, if factors causing the underlying issue remain you do not have a remedy.

Remedy requires a comprehensive approach. It is necessary to identify root cause. Remove items that trigger, cause or otherwise contribute to issues. Holistic approach includes design, implementation to treat, remedy and maintain long-term health.

4.0 Leave a Comment

I review all comments and publish those deemed appropriate for this site.

I answer questions deemed appropriate when I have time to do so.

Wishing your dog and cat the best of health!

Karen Rosenfeld
Ottawa Valley Dog Whisperer
Holistic Behaviorist - Dogs
Holistic Diet Nutrition Wellness Adviser – Dogs and Cats

karen@ottawavalleydogwhisperer.ca

1-613-622-1139
1-613-293-3707

00-1-613-622-1139
00-1-613-293-3707