Benefits of an Integrative or Holistic Vet for Your Pets

Cat Acupuncture

Many pet owners may be skeptical about holistic vet care, but it’s a wonderful addition to your pet’s overall medical program.

  1. There are many benefits to working with a holistic vet that offers integrative healthcare.
  2. Many pet owners schedule appointments with holistic vets for preventive care or solutions to recently diagnosed problems.
  3. Alternative and integrative care for our animals can lead to very successful outcomes for our animals.

There are many skeptics when it comes to holistic care for your pets. Many believe there isn’t any proof that holistic medicine works, but we’re here to make the argument that an integrative vet is essential. In many cases, a holistic vet may bring a different perspective and provide herbs or tinctures to help your dog that complements traditional medication. An integrative vet takes in the whole picture about your animal, including the environment, a disease pattern, and most importantly, the relationship of the pet and the owner. Most holistic vets also practice acupuncture, and there are three different ways they can be certified.

For example, research shows mushrooms (not the psychedelic kind) help a dog with liver disease. A holistic vet can provide a tincture or advise pet owners on the beneficial types of mushrooms for their animals. However, a traditional vet may not be familiar with the research or consult with pet owners about mushrooms as a solution to help their animals. This example is why the mix of both types of vets makes a difference!

Acupuncture is increasingly how pet owners are first introduced to a holistic vet or integrative vet. This service is often recommended for dogs with arthritis, disc disease, or a chronic illness. Your regular general practitioner may also be certified in acupuncture but consider consulting with a holistic vet as both doctors help round out your pet’s medical team.

Holistic Vet Cat Acupuncture

“A zen moment for Toutle. She’s been going for acupuncture to see if it could help with the issues that come along with being a tailless cat (Manx syndrome), and we see progress!” See and the post

What is holistic vet care by definition?

According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association, “the techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy, and respect.” Many pets benefit from a mix of services to treat acute illnesses that require surgery, drug therapy, and alternative treatment techniques. This holistic approach is very practical.

What does a holistic vet do?

This field is still evolving. A holistic vet may advise you on long-term health, herbal/nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, rehabilitation, and your pet’s specific needs.

According to an article in Animal Wellness Magazine, “just like practitioners of alternative human medicine, holistic vets seek to help you maintain your pet’s health through daily lifestyle choices. The guiding philosophy of integrative care, both animal and human, is that the body knows how to care for and heal itself. It’s the holistic veterinarian’s role to help animals do just that.”

The complete picture of health

Holistic care is tailored for your pet’s health. How is this different than a regular appointment at the clinic? You’ll spend much more time with a holistic vet than you would a typical general practitioner. Most of them have far fewer appointments during their day.

A day in the life of a holistic vet looks much different from a general practitioner’s typical schedule. For example, phone consultations with pet parents worried about their dog with cancer may be the first appointment. The outcome may be supplements and supportive care under the advice of your vet.

Holistic Vet Tinctures

Tinctures provided by our holistic vet for kidney disease

Services typically offered

Treatment variety is a priority when you’re working with an integrative vet. Many holistic vets provide a wide array of services, so check their site before you reach out. The services offered by Dr. Keith Weingardt at Animal Healing Arts in Portland, Ore.  include the following:

  • Nutrition Counseling
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbal Medicine (Chinese and Western)
  • Nutritional Supplements
  • Low-Level Laser Therapy
Arthriease for dog arthritis

Arthriease given to a dog with arthritis

Stress levels, environment, nutrition, and medical history

Pet Tinctures

Tinctures from Dr. Keith, Animal Healing Arts

When a patient is seen, many factors play a significant role in the treatment plan. When you leave the appointment, you have a clear idea of your pet’s overall health. This vet will discuss short and long-term care with you as well as the immediate illness if that’s why you’re there. A general practitioner may never address nutrition unless your dog has specific GI issues, so a holistic vet can help provide advice on good nutrition (this goes beyond food!) for your animal.

You will want to discuss the treatment plan with your regular vet too! Both vets need to be aware of what’s happening with your animal, and you must send a list of herbs and supplements to the vet your animal typically sees for wellness appointments.

How can you find an integrative vet?

Find an integrative veterinarian by searching here —

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Ten Signs of Dental Disease in Pets

Resources: (a day in the life)

Local holistic vet services:

Dr. Keith, Animal Healing Arts of Portland

Kenton Animal Hospital

Cathedral Animal Hospital