Is Holistic Care Right for Your Pet?

Carl as a puppyWhen my little Chihuahua, Carl was quite young, my vet said he probably had a liver disease. He assumed this due to high enzymes in Carl’s routine blood work taken prior to his scheduled neutering. He told me I should immediately get an ultra-sound; Carl may only have six months left and he may need lifesaving invasive surgery. At the time Carl was, by all accounts a healthy pup, no symptoms at all. My husband and I decided as long as Carl acted normal we would take our chances. I discussed this with my vet and asked if there was anything else I could do. My vet suggested a natural liver support vitamin called Milk Thistle. I started giving Carl the supplement with his food and six weeks later his blood work was normal! Carl is now eleven and still doing well.

Several years later my Rocky and Bill, (also Chihuahuas) had similar situations, and again the natural Milk Thistle seemed to help. The vet did do further tests and determined that their livers were normal.

I asked my friend who also has Chihuahuas and works in a vet’s office what she thought about this, she also had a similar experience with a couple of her dogs.


Holistic care means taking in the whole picture of the patient—the environment, the disease pattern, the relationship of pet with owner—and developing a treatment protocol using a wide range of therapies for healing the patient. Therein lies the very essence of the word “(w)holistic.” The holistic practitioner is interested not only in a medical history, but also genetics, nutrition, environment, family relationships, stress levels, and other factors.  [source:]

She had a terrible scare a few months ago when one of her Chihuahuas stopped eating. The dog was otherwise fine, no symptoms of any kind. She took her in for tests and her vet said the dog was in irreversible kidney failure, but he did not know why. Of course my friend was devastated. If the dog did not eat soon she would have to be euthanized. But she did not give up. She eventually got the dog to take bits of food and decided to try some natural kidney vitamins. My friend did her research and consulted with her vet. The supplements were without side effects, so why not try?

The dog got better, further tests came back normal and her little dog is eating quite well again. Of course this may not be everyone’s happy ending but it’s worth looking into.

It is important to always discuss medical options with a trusted vet, but you also need to be your dog’s advocate. Do your research before committing to any drastic medical procedures. There may be a helpful natural solution.

Holistic care is becoming a more popular option today as more veterinarians are taking up the practice. Those vets still rely on traditional medical procedures like lab tests and prescription drugs.  But they also look at a pet’s overall health as well. They are more likely to include acupuncture, massage and chiropractic therapy as well as herbal remedies. And they examine a pet’s diet and lifestyle in order to suggest way to ward off illness.  Vitamins and natural supplements are now a common part of the holistic approach to pet care.

According to Dr. Karen Collins at Holistic Pet Healing in Doylestown, PA and Langhorne, PA “there are many modalities in use that can be thought of as holistic. These are often referred to as complementary or alternative, but integrative is a more appropriate term. These holistic treatments can be integrated or blended into the general plan. As holistic practitioners, we always strive to do what is best for our patient at any particular point in time — this may be all holistic treatment, all conventional, or most likely, a combination that best suits our patient at that very moment.” [source:]

Those practices may include:

  • Acupuncture, including dry needles, electro-acupuncture, aquapuncture
  • Chinese herbal medicine
  • Western herbal medicine
  • Nutritional supplements
  • Dietary adjustment/food therapy
  • Acupressure
  • Energy healing like Reiki
  • Flower essences
  • Laser therapy


Dr. David Fong, holistic veterinarian with a great message!


Natural health physician Dr. Joseph Mercola interviews
Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Barbara Royal about holistic and alternative medicine.


American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association []
The College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies (list of practitioners by state) []
How To Find A Holistic Vet []
Holistic Health Care for Pets []


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