Wednesday, Apr. 3rd 2019

Conventional, Holistic, and Complementary Medicine: What, When, Why?

We often get questions from potential clients about how we treat patients.  Do we recommend vaccines? Which ones and how often?  Do we use regular medications?  What about heartworm prevention? Do we recommend raw food?  And so on. 

Our answers usually run along the lines of “We do what is best to help your pet get and remain as healthy as possible”.  That is holistic medicine in a nutshell.  If your pet has an infection, antibiotics will be the fastest way to treat it.  But we may also supplement with probiotics or an immune booster to keep their gut healthy or help their immune system fight the infection.  If your pet has skin issues, we will always address gut health and nutrition.  Since there is no proven “natural” alternative to heartworm prevention, we recommend conventional medications for that because the alternative of potential heartworm disease is so serious.  We recommend physical and chiropractic evaluations every six months to catch problems early and keep the nervous system healthy.  We try to do bloodwork every 6-12 months on older pets to detect organ failures before they become obvious.

Many people refer to some of our additional therapies as “alternative” medicine.  We prefer the term “complementary”, as these treatments are typically used in addition to more conventional veterinary therapy, rather than instead of it. Things like cold laser, chiropractic, acupuncture, diet changes, and nutritional supplements work to speed healing, improve nerve and joint function, and balance problems in your pet’s body in a way that conventional treatments simply can’t. 

From our website, this is a definition we like: “Holistic medicine, by its very nature, is humane to the core. The wholeness of its scope will set up a lifestyle for the animal that is most appropriate. 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.”  In order to be holistic, the approach has to be whole-patient centered.  We address our patient’s mental health through fear-reducing techniques throughout their visit, and by addressing behavior or training issues.  We are sticklers for achieving and maintaining appropriate body weight in our patients.  We practice preventive techniques like chiropractic and joint supplements to keep our patients moving well and without pain. We address quality of life in older patients and work closely with their families to maintain good quality of life as long as possible. 

To boil things down, a holistic clinic always has the whole patient and their overall health in mind, even if they are just in to have an ear checked or get a heartworm test.  This is why we do complete physicals with every vaccination, for instance.  Most veterinary clinics are conventional, in that they are more symptom and procedure-oriented.  If they are seeing your pet for an ear infection, they check the ears, do any necessary tests, and prescribe medication to treat the infection. We will do the same, but also question you about food and treats fed, the pet’s lifestyle such as swimming frequency, and give you lessons in how to clean ears and train your pet to enjoy the process.  Then we’ll talk about how to help your pet reach a level of health and maintenance so they don’t keep getting ear infections repeatedly.   We work with you to find the best path for your pet’s wellness, to hopefully give you a long and comfortable life together.

Important Dates:

Dog Show season has begun.  Dr Leonard will NOT be in the office on the following dates: after 3 p.m. April 12; all day April 19 and 26,  May 10, and May 31.  Usually, Sarah will be in the office on these Fridays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to answer phones and for purchases or prescription refills, but we will not have a doctor in the office to see patients.  We are starting to get busier again with warmer weather, so when possible, please don’t wait until the last minute to try to get on our appointment schedule for routine care. 

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Whole Health Pet Center
18011 E St. Rte 58
Raymore, MO 64083

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