The Meaning of the word (W)holistic
This article is about holistic pet care.You may or may not have heard about it, but that doesn’t really matter. The important thing is, after reading this article, I hope you will view pet care in a totally different light, and that you will treat your animal friend in a way that would best ensure his/her/its well-being.
Before we address the issue of holistic pet care, we have to understand the meaning of the word ‘holistic’. Originally, the word ‘holistic’ was spelled as ‘wholistic’, and I am only mentioning this because the original word encapsulates the intended meaning of the word better. By ‘wholistic’, we refer to the whole person and not just parts to this person. As such, in the case of humans, when we treat a person ‘holistically’, we do not just treat the body part that is malfunctioning; instead, we treat the whole person, and that includes components such as his mental and emotional state. In the same vibe, holistic pet care is caring for your pet as a total being.
Since the original word is no longer in use, I shall compromise by using the current version of the word; but I do hope that the message I am going to convey here will not be compromised in any way.
The Philosophy behind Holistic Pet Care
In holistic pet care, the focus is not on the use of drugs and surgery to treat the animal. Instead, the focus is on the patient, which in this case, would refer to the dog or cat that has fallen ill. The premise of holistic pet care is that the patient heals from within, and that it is neither the drug nor the doctor that causes the animal that unwell to recover.
All illnesses arise because of imbalance within internal system. As such, the role of a veterinary surgeon is not to prescribe overly-powerful antibiotics indiscriminately, but to provide for a nurturing environment for the animals to heal on their own. In that sense, the vet’s duty is to set up the balance which the pet is lacking. Drugs do not provide balance; they only provide temporary relief.
The Methods of Holistic Pet Care
I need to emphasise here that holistic pet care does not exclude western medicine. Every form of treatment has its benefits. Decrying the benefits of western medicine is just as misguided as dismissing complementary and alternative medicine as hogwash.
Holistic medicine is about being patient-focused; as such, whatever works best for the patient is the therapy that the doctor should prescribe. An acupuncturist who insists that the patient undergoes acupuncture treatment due to the needs of his ego is as deplorable as an allopathic doctor who prescribes antibiotics due to his self-interests. In both instances, the medical practitioners are not putting their patients’ interests first.
In holistic pet care, we treat animals in the same way we treat humans. We address issues of food and nutrition, supplementation, immunology, absorption, toxin handling etc. In many instances, once we address these issues, the animals recover without the need for extended drug use.
Where necessary, we might recommend Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), homeopathy or even surgery – what I am driving at here is that we take the interests of the pets first, and prescribe what works best for them. The biggest mistake any practitioner can make is to put their own interest before that of the patient’s.
Effectiveness of Complimentary and Alternative Medicine on Animals
One question I have frequently been asked is whether therapies such as acupuncture and homeopathy actually work for animals. My answer is a resounding ‘yes’, since the effects are visible for everyone to see.
Unlike in human beings, where the perceived recovery might be due to the placebo effect, animals do not have preconceived notions as to whether a form of therapy will work for them. Animals do not believe or disbelieve methods such as acupuncture; acupuncture is either effective or ineffective. Our bellies system does not validate or invalidate the efficacy of science, and in the case of animals, this is all the more true.
Extracted from Complimentary Therapy magazine: (W)holistic Pet Care by Dr Jean Paul Ly