Holistic veterinary medicine

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Holistic veterinary medicine is a type of veterinary medicine that uses alternative medicine in the treatment of animals. The philosophy of a holistic veterinarian emphasizes empathy and minimal invasiveness. Alternative therapies offered by a holistic veterinarian may include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, ethnomedicine and chiropractic.


Many veterinarians use different terms to convey what is meant by holistic. Alternative veterinary medicine, complementary veterinary medicine, and integrative veterinary medicine may be used as synonyms. All veterinary medicine may be considered holistic in that it considers all aspects of the animal patient in the context of its environment. The task force for complementary and alternative veterinary medicine for the American Veterinary Medical Association stresses that "There is only one veterinary medicine and only one standard by which it should be assessed. All treatments and modalities should be judged by the same criteria and held to the same standards. Descriptive terms such as holistic, conventional, traditional, alternative, integrative, or complementary do not enhance the quality of care provided and should not receive special consideration when judging the safety and efficacy of those treatments.".[1]

The usual meaning for holistic veterinarian is a veterinarian who specializes in one or more alternative or complementary treatments. In practice, holistic veterinary medicine incorporates, but is not limited to, acupuncture, botanical medicine, chiropractic, homeopathy, massage therapy, and nutraceuticals. A veterinarian interested in alternative treatments may be a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.[2] The modalities comprising holistic veterinary medicine vary in their evidence for effectiveness.[3]


According to the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), holistic medicine is humane. The techniques promoted in holistic medicine are minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being, lifestyle, and stress reduction. Holistic thinking is centered on love, empathy and respect.[4] Use of blood tests, x-rays, and similar objective diagnostic techniques is minimalized in favor of sensitivity to the animal.[5] Nearly every form of medicine and therapy used in alternative medicine for humans is also used in holistic veterinary medicine.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AVMA Alternative and Complementary Therapies Task Force (June 2001). "An insight into the AVMA Guidelines for Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine" (pdf). J. Am. Vet. Med. Assoc. 218 (11): 1729–30. doi:10.2460/javma.2001.218.1729. PMID 11394818. Retrieved 2008-06-05.
  2. ^ American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association
  3. ^ Veterinarywatch
  4. ^ AHVMA - Home
  5. ^ 403 Forbidden
  6. ^ AHVMA - What is Holistic Medicine?