By: Dr. Ilana Smolkin, DVM | Nov 1, 2016
In this video, Dr. Smolkin explains holistic care as a treatment plan for cats and dogs. She talks about how western medicine can work together with integrated care and and how a western trained vet can still practice holistic medicine which would include integrated care options from acupuncture and herbals to spinal manipulative therapy that are often associated with holistic veterinary medicine. Topics covered in this video are acupuncture, spinal manipulation, holistic and integrated care, alternative medicine, natural medicine, and nutraceuticals.
Hi, I’m Dr. Ilana Smolkin for healthcareforpets.com. I’m here to talk to you a little bit about holistic care and what does that even mean? Holistic care is a word we hear a lot about these days. We see it on wrappers, we see it on our food, on pets food as far as healthcare goes but what does the word even mean?
Holistic simply means looking at the whole animal, that includes its environment, its nutrition, its emotional state. So is it stressed? Is it relaxed? What does it do during its day? What level of activity does your pet have? Holistic care doesn’t necessarily need to incorporate integrative or alternative care like acupuncture or herbal therapy. It actually can be done with a 100% Western medicine but it needs to look at more than that presenting complaint about that animal has come in with.
So for example a dog that has diarrhea, more than just giving it a medication to fix that problem so like as a person you think of an Imodium — it’s just going to clog things up and stop the diarrhea from happening. With a holistic model, we’re going to look at what maybe is underlying the issue? Has there been stress at home? Is the dog always stressed? What is it eating? Has there been change in diet? Has there been change in its factors? Its living environment? The temperature? Any of those things and those all get looked at as part of the treatment plan for that pet. However, the term holistic is usually used with people using alternative care. So acupuncture, herbal therapy and that’s because those models or the training in that kind of medicine always has a picture that health has to do with the overall body being able to heal itself and we need to help it on its way. So ignoring underlying issues is not going to get to the root of the problem.
I look at a great example is dogs that have bladder infections. Okay one bladder infection, maybe it just happened, maybe antibiotics will clear it up and you’ll never have an issue. But if a dog keeps coming back to me and has had a second, or third, why? Yes there can be medical reasons so does it have a stone? Does it have a polyp or a mass in its bladder? Certainly possibly but also is it stressed? Could there be a stress element to this that we can help correct? Is the diet out of balance and is the pH of the urine and that concentration not ideal for bladder health? And again maybe nutritional therapy needs to be looked at as an overall treatment to help prevent further reoccurrence.
It’s important that if you’re interested in holistic care, that your holistic practitioner either does all of your medicine or works together with your primary veterinarian to ensure the best care of your pet. It’s a common thought that herbals or other therapies are all safe because they’re natural and I have a whole other video on that I encourage you to watch but basically these natural remedies can interfere or interact with other medications that your pet is on. So the more open and honest that we are with what we’re giving our pet, either that we’ve sought out on our own or that we’ve gotten through a different practitioner, the better your pet’s health is going to be and the better the outcome we’re going to get as far as dealing with that disease or that process that we’re trying to control.
The best cases that I have seen or the best outcomes, are ones that truly combine elements of our Western medicine or the traditional medicine that we’re used to with alternative care. We’ve seen some great outcomes and as far as cancer care and decreasing side-effects from chemotherapy or traditional treatment as well as treating things like diarrhea, treating arthritis, treating complex problems, we can have great success where we have limitations sometimes with just traditional medicine and it can only get us so far sometimes the addition of some of this integrated care can really see further improvement for your pet because what’s most important to us is your pet’s health here at healthcareforpets.com.
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