Hello and welcome to my first article as the ‘new’ veterinarian for Yummy Pets! My veterinary specialty is teaching pet owners about how to use natural remedies to heal their pets at home. Today’s article discusses the benefits of holistic veterinary care.
Why do some pets recover easily, while others never seem to do well? Why do some pets get all the diseases that are going around, while others stay perfectly healthy?
Modern medicine can do some amazing things. We can perform delicate lifesaving surgical procedures, such as kidney transplants, unheard of 10 years ago. However, conventional medicine has its problems. While I was a practicing veterinarian, I saw the problems and limitations of the new ‘modern’ ways daily. I was often too busy and did not get to spend enough time with my clients’ pets, so I didn't always get to know them very well. I felt pressure to see the next client, and prescribe a medication that would fix what was wrong right now.
Consider the example of an itching dog. Treat the obvious by prescribing medication to stop the itching; the pet feels better instantly and the client is happy, so I can go along and see the next pet. However, I’ve only treated the surface problem – and as soon as the medication runs out, the problem will return. I haven’t healed the pet, I’ve just treated the symptom.
Illness, in general, is seldom caused by one specific thing. Pets get sick because something happened in which their own immune system was not able to fight off a disease, and what we see are symptoms of the problem. Conventional medicine usually focuses on treating only the symptoms, it doesn’t address the underlying cause or attempt to improve a pet’s immune system. An antibiotic may help a pet indirectly by tackling a bacterial problem, thereby allowing the pet’s immune system to ‘catch up’ and get rid of the infection, but it may come with a price, in the form of an immediate side effect or a long term problem.
For every health problem there is often an alternate, natural solution, and it is often a better way. It can be safer, with far fewer side effects. It may take longer, as it requires us to spend more time with our pets to get at the root of the problem; it is almost a shift back to the older style of care that occurred in the days of James Herriot.
Natural healing is an attempt to help our pets by addressing the underlying cause of a health problem. Its goal is to ‘help our pets help themselves’, by improving their immune systems and eliminating what is causing the symptoms in the first place. Ultimately, we would like our pets to have strong immune systems so they will be able to fight off an illness before it takes hold, and not have to rely on conventional medicine that may, in the long run, do more harm than good.
In my practice, I preferred to use a combination of both conventional and natural medicine. Natural care sometimes works better, sometimes it works in conjunction with conventional medication, and sometimes it doesn’t work as well – but as I mentioned, it tends to have fewer side effects, and I prefer to use it in every situation that I can.
A classic example is treating a pet with arthritis. The short-term solution is to prescribe an anti-inflammatory. The problem with this conventional approach is that it can often have very severe side effects including vomiting and diarrhea, and over time can lead to kidney and liver disease.
The more effective long-term solution would include natural pain relief, acupressure, massage, a switch to a natural diet, and supplements. These are all safe, natural and effective remedies that you, as a dedicated pet owner, can use at home for your own pet.
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