Holistic veterinarians say they believe in what they do, despite a lack of scientific evidence that the tools of their trade — acupuncture, herbal medicines, homeopathy, and other complementary/alternative therapies — prevent or cure illness in pets.
For them, the proof is in the way an arthritic dog bounds out of the office after a round of acupuncture, or how a dog’s dangerous fungal infection clears up completely with homeopathic treatment.
But holistic veterinarians also understand the limits of such therapies and say they use them alongside more conventional ones.
“We talk about ‘complementary’ rather than ‘alternative,’ because each type has something good that contributes to the whole,” veterinarian Nancy Scanlan, DVM, CVA, MSFP, tells WebMD. Scanlan uses acupuncture, massage, and herbal remedies in her practice at Shasta Lake Veterinary Clinic in Shasta Lake, Calif.
With scant funding for clinical studies to test the effectiveness of such therapies, holistic veterinarians say they will continue to go with their gut, using less invasive and more natural approaches to boost the health of their furry patients.
WebMD asked practitioners how they use complementary/alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) and what works. Here are their answers.
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