This word is often misinterpreted, though its definition is important. It’s how we define ailments and foster health; it’s how we recognize the whole picture and forge relationships.

Holistic medicine is the art of taking into account the WHOLE environment in which an animal might live- this includes YOU (the caregiver), your childhood, your previous experience with animals, where you live, how you live, what you feed your pet, how you interact with your pet, your experiences with human doctors, your and your pet’s interactions with your family, and any other relevant clinical experiences. There are many other potentially important questions. How did you acquire your fur baby? Why or how did you name your pet? What was your motivation to get a pet? How did you choose your pet’s diet? What style of medicine resonates with you? What is your level of understanding when it comes to physiology? They’re all extremely important when you discuss holistic medicine with your doctor and in finding the best way to translate that belief system into an effective treatment.

Looking at the whole picture may help break the tedious cycle of going to the vet looking for answers and leaving with no further understanding on how to prevent recurrence. Those oft-prescribed medications designed to address the symptoms may absolutely be the right starting point, but it’s paramount to follow through, understand, and address the ultimate causes. There may be an alternative approach that can amplify conventional medicine, and there may just be a totally different approach altogether. We can even invoke the term- integrative medicine- mixing two different ideals to find the right solution. It’s not necessarily better, but it can offer new insight.

Holistic medicine in regards to vaccines? I’m glad you asked. Vaccines are the most important part of preventative medicine and have worked effectively to minimize many fatal diseases in our pet population. There is a responsible way to administer these vaccines- this also plays into a holistic approach. Do you need all of the vaccines? Does your pet’s lifestyle lend to needing vaccines more regularly? What is the rattlesnake “vaccine”? These are questions that are fundamental to the theory of HOLISTIC medicine.