Is It Right for Your Dog?
Making full use of any possible healing modality when treating an illness makes perfect sense and is therefore “right” for any dog or other living creature. Still, it can be scary to venture into areas where you don't have some familiarity, or where you may not be assisted by someone you've come to know and trust with the care of your dog. There's still a stigma associated with alternative health care because it's not mainstream. It can be hard enough to find a traditional veterinarian with whom you have a trusting rela-tionship — how can you find someone else practicing in a field with which you may have little familiarity?
Alternative care is also referred to as holistic, integrative, or complementary, as well as nontraditional. It includes everything from using herbal supplements to administering acupuncture to ease your dog's aches and pains.
There are a number of resources at your disposal, made handier by the Internet. The best place to start is with the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) at www.ahvma.org. Founded in 1982, the AHVMA helps veterinarians and pet owners expand their understanding of treatment options. When a veterinarian takes a holistic approach, she not only works from a complete physical examination, but also examines the influences of nutrition, behavior, past medical history, stress, and any other factors that could be contributing to the disease. Holistic medicine takes all of these factors into account together and uses them to come up with an effective treatment plan.
The AHVMA Web site allows you to search for an holistic veterinarian by name, state, zip code, area code, and modality of treatment. Let's take a look at some of the treatments.