Vets come in two main types:
- traditional, western medicine vets
- holistic medicine vets
The traditional western medicine vets are the ones most people take their pets to. They are trained basically to use medicine and surgery to cure a specific problem. And for some problems, such as a broken leg or a ruptured eye, nothing beats this approach. Problem, treatment, cure!
The problem with this approach is that many cat problems are not simple. Take for example Isabel. She has a runny nose again, slightly dirty ears, and demands that I hand feed her. The western medicine approach would be to treat her nose as one problem, her ears as another, and ignore her need to be hand-fed (because there's no medicine for that).
Just as there are specialties in western medicine, there are holistic specialties. Some include:
- Tellington touch
- Chinese herbs
The problem today is 'holistic' is a new buzz word for pet owners and vets are jumping on the holistic bandwagon. Some of the vets are doing it right -- they go and get additional training and work on adding new skills, such as acupuncture or homeopathy, to their practice. But some join professional groups and call themselves an expert in herbal pet medicine with no intention of ever using herbs. It is a way for a vet to attract the growing numbers of pet owners who want an alternative to traditional medicine. It is a dishonest practice that gives all holistic vets a bad name!
|Wendy in her condo|
Now my main vet is also a western trained vet, but she has gone on to be certified as a classically trained homeopathic vet and is exploring other alternative medicines. She is a holistic vet in the purest sense. Her practice is small, without some of the bells and whistles, but when it comes to complicated, long-term problems, she has all the tools needed. She doesn't use herbs or Tellington touch, but she is more than open to both being effective and she encourages me to use it when it is appropriate. I will be taking Isabel up to her and working with her to improve Isabel's immune system (and energy level) -- we won't be directly treating her ears or nose. An office call is usually 45-60 minutes long and she even asks questions about how the cat seems to feel emotionally. She works hard at understand what is going on with a cat at the deepest level.
Two very different ways to practice and to think about veterinary medicine. Each has it's place. And my cats benefit from the best of both vet worlds.