Holistic veterinary medicine encompasses many modalities, including Western herbal medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)—which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine—nutritional therapy, chiropractic, and homeopathy. These methods are not new in treating disease; in some cases they have been used for centuries. In the United States, homeopathy is experiencing a resurgence of interest after many years.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, there were 22 colleges of homeopathy in the United States and more than 15,000 practitioners. A statue of Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy, was erected in 1900 in Washington, DC, by grateful patients due to the success of homeopathy in treating epidemic disease. Veterinary homeopathy offers a gentle approach to wellness throughout the lifetime of each pet.
What Is Homeopathy?
Homeopathic veterinary medicine is truly holistic, as it treats each animal as a whole being, using a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual approach. By contrast, conventional medicine tends to take a symptoms-based approach (treating symptoms without finding the root cause).
The word homeopathy literally means “like suffering.” A simple description is that homeopathy uses minimum doses of medicines that are similar to the disease/symptoms shown by a patient in order to stimulate the body’s natural healing capacities.
Three central tenets of classical homeopathy include using the lowest possible dose of a medicine needed to stimulate a cure, matching the properties of a medication to the symptoms of disease and using only one carefully chosen medication at a time in order to properly evaluate the results.
Benefits of Homeopathic Care for Your Pets
Homeopathy can help almost every pet, and we can especially see the dramatic life improvements it can create in young dogs and cats. Veterinarians see increasing numbers of young pets with early chronic disease issues such as allergies, digestive abnormalities and orthopedic problems. Conventional medicine can accomplish dramatic results in emergency situations, but success rates with chronic disease are low. We are accustomed to regarding suppression of symptoms (such as the use of targeted immunosuppressants for allergies and inflammatory bowel disease) as the best outcome we can expect. Homeopathy offers better options for many patients suffering from these types of disease.
Veterinary homeopathy offers numerous benefits to the patient and the pet parent.
- Produces longer-lasting results with a decreasing number of treatments needed: Homeopathy often uses infrequent treatments to achieve favorable outcomes that are sustained for months or years.
- Eliminates toxic side effects: Conventional pharmaceuticals come with a long list of possible side effects. Where one symptom is treated, another—whether mild or life-threatening—may emerge. The homeopathic approach eliminates these medication side-effects and the result is curative rather than suppressive.
- Reduces healthcare costs over the life of the pet: Especially when treating a chronic condition—such as hip dysplasia and joint problems, respiratory and urinary disease, or gastrointestinal issues—conventional treatment is usually ongoing management of the chronic condition. A homeopathic approach is designed so that the body is naturally able to address the underlying cause of the symptoms so that continuous medication administration—and the costs associated with long-term care—is not necessary.
Homeopathy is an effective modality for helping our animal friends. The most dramatic and rapid results are usually seen in young animals that have not been on conventional medications. Common diseases treated include inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, hormone imbalances, skin disease, orthopedic injuries, urinary tract recurrent inflammation and stones, and many forms of cancer in which conventional therapy is not an option. When healing happens through homeopathy, we know that the patient is the true agent of change; homeopathy is simply an aid.
Dr. Laura Weis, whose practice is limited to homeopathy and nutrition, owns and operates Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care, and Holiday House Pet Resort & Training Center, in Doylestown, with her husband, Dr. Ransome Weis. Call 215-345-6000 to request an appointment. April 2018