Holistic Vet: Oh, Really?
A reader of an article of mine appearing in Dogs Naturally Magazine writes in the comments,
My 8 wk old Golden is coming home tonight. She has NOT been vaccinated or dewormed (her 8 litter mates were last week).
Frustrated because i cant find ONE homeopathic Vet in the SF BAY area who does NOT vaccinate. And I cant take her to puppy school or puppy play groups if i just say “no.”
Feeling very confused about what to do… the books all say she needs to have her optimal dog socialization time before 16 weeks.”
Aside from the “holistic vs homeopathic” lingo, let’s consider for a moment the frustration laden in this missive.
Here’s a pet owner trying to be responsible to her new charge, right from the very beginning. While litter mates were vaccinated and dewormed, this person said, “No. I’ll take care of this one myself.”
She’s really trying to the right thing, to start her new pup off on the best possible footing.
The San Francisco Bay area is not exactly the backwoods. It’s no stranger to natural health, holistic thinking, “alternative” health care, etc.
A quick search on the AHVMA site (a listing of vets who call their practice “holistic”) reveals two vets in San Francisco, three in San Rafael, three in Oakland, one in Novato, and two in Santa Rosa who practice at least some acupuncture and/or homeopathy, herbology, TCM, Bach Flower therapy, nutrition, etc.
Is it possible that none of these naturally-minded folks would be open to working with this woman without pushing vaccinations?
Entirely possible. I see this all the time.
Beware self assigned labels. “Holistic vet” to some might mean “I stock the Bach Flowers” and to another, “We offer holistic food!” (what ever that means…) Still others may have taken a weekend training in some natural modality, added it to their allopathic practice list of services, and now proudly fly the holistic vet banner.
Beware of what I call “fauxlistic” vets.
Faux (fo): French for false. An imitation. Not genuine. Fake or false.
As a consumer, your work is cut out for you to sift through the so-called holistic vets to find someone who’ll meet your needs. If your aim is to raise a Vital Animal and that doesn’t include vaccinations, you’ll have to roll up your sleeves and ask hard questions.
Antibiotics: Big Guns in Place of Common Sense
Another example recently came across my email. An old client from years back recently wrote again, needing help with a young Akita named Mica, her third generation since I started working with Sara nearly twenty years ago.
Why hadn’t I heard from her in so many years? Sara took what I taught her way back then and ran with it! No vaccines beyond minimal initial ones, feeding a healthy diet that incorporates raw foods, avoiding pesticides for the fleas and heartworms, top notch immune support, etc.
The results: healthy, vital dogs that don’t get sick and need veterinary attention.
I successfully worked myself out of a job, my goal with all my patients.
Mica had seen a local “holistic” vet while I was away recently, with the complaint of an impacted anal gland that then ruptured. Never really sick, no fever, no redness, just a local discharge to clean up, and Sara was offered this solution:
Three weeks of antibiotics.
Now, Sara wisely refused this, referring instead to Dr. Pitcairn’s book for a homeopathic protocol, but is this what you’d expect from a “holistic” vet’s recommendation?
Three weeks of antibiotics for a local, walled off, abscess?
You know from earlier writing here how important the normal functioning gut flora is to your animals and yourself. And yet, here was a supposedly holistic vet ready to lay this youngster’s immune system to waste when he wasn’t even sick.
I’d call that fauxlistic.
Surgery That Wasn’t Asked For (from a “Holistic Vet”)
This, by the way, is the same clinic who surgically removed lipomas (benign fatty growths) years ago in an animal I’d referred there for some diagnostic work.
Diagnostic work. You know, blood testing, maybe some imaging. And the client was told those benign fatty lumps ought to be removed.
I was flabbergasted when I heard later what transpired. The intelligent workings of the vital force, that innate gyroscope we and our animals and all living beings have, made its best move by putting those tumors out there on the periphery. They weren’t harming anything, somewhat like “waste baskets” I’ve always thought, and yet, this “holistic” vet told my client they needed to come off.
The vital force of that animal was once again thrown out of balance, and would no doubt try later to make more external tumors. If those were to also be removed, the outcome of all this suppression would be internal, invisible tumors, much less likely to be benign.
Internal Clinic Waivers: Are You Thinking Holistically, Doctor?
I often get the sense that Dr. WhiteCoat fancies himself some kind of deputy, employed by his state to enforce the rabies rules. Nothing could be further from the truth. If there’s a rabies ruling that needs enforcing, the state or municipality that promulgates the rule would be tasked with that job, not a vet.
Vets provides the vaccinations, fine. But you should in no way feel pressured to take another rabies vaccination because your vet says, “It’s the law.” Enforcement of that law is not in his job description.
Let’s expect anyone labeling themselves as a holistic vet to offer you a vaccination waiver for your animal. Internally, regardless of what the law says, just a big red set of letters at the top of your animal’s records that spell it out: No Further Vaccinations, Rabies Included.
On what grounds should this be offered?
There are two that should come immediately to mind, if you’ve been following the logic of this site for any amount of time:
1. My animal has already been rabies vaccinated. Maybe (probably) more than once. Immunity lasts a long time, probably life long, according to the veterinary immunologists. Repeating vaccinations adds nothing to this immunity, they say with surety.
2. My animal has symptoms of chronic disease:
- Itchy, allergic skin that recurs. May be on a special diet to keep this quiet.
- Inflamed ears, recurrent.
- Hypothyroidism (takes thyroxin daily)
- Hyperthyroidism (on drugs or had radioactive I earlier)
- Joint disease
- Dry eye, kidney disease, epilepsy, gum disease, etc., etc.
If your vet is truly holistic, meaning looking at the big picture of long term health for your animal, a waiver like this should be offered, even before you ask for it! Never mind that you can’t use that waiver to get a license or “be legal,” let’s just start in the clinic.
Anything less than a proactive stance like this qualifies that doctor or clinic to get a special status and be recognized for what they really are:
Let us know in the comments what you’ve run into under the banner of “holistic.” Well educated means seeing through the B.S. And we can all help each other through our shared experiences.