While holistic medicine has been practiced
throughout our history, we have recently seen it on the rise in the U.S. as
health and wellness trends have grown increasingly popular. But these
traditional roots of medicine are not just limited to humans – they can also be
incorporated into veterinary medicine. In fact, there is an entire field of
holistic veterinary medicine!
But how often should these methods be incorporated into your dog’s routine, and to what degree? What methods should be included in this practice? To get a better understanding, we spoke to Dr. Katherine Evans of the Holistic Veterinary Center in Concord, New Hampshire to answer some of our most burning questions…
does “holistic medicine” actually entail for dogs?
Holistic veterinary medicine approaches health and wellness from many different aspects, including nutritional therapies, herbal therapies, supplements, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. In contrast, conventional medicine focuses more on testing to find a cause for illness/injury and then treating it with medications or surgery. Holistic medicine focuses on the general wellness of the pet.
At the Holistic Veterinary Center, we focus on
wellness in many ways, including annual wellness examinations, customized
vaccination schedules for adult dogs and cats, selective vaccinations for
puppies and kittens, dietary consults, and geriatric screenings.
What is your own experience in holistic
I graduated from the University of Florida
College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992. In 1998, I opened the Holistic
Veterinary Center in Concord, NH after becoming a Certified Veterinary
Acupuncturist and a Veterinary Chinese Herbalist. In my role, I most commonly
see and treat dogs and cats with chronic skin problems, along with older
animals with back and joint pain, as well as animals with chronic illness such
as cancer. I really enjoy being able to help owners help their pets,
particularly if they have had a chronic illness that didn’t respond well to
As a holistic veterinarian, do you ever use
The goal of my practice is to provide quality
compassionate care to our patients and their owners and to act as a resource
for interested individuals to learn more about alternative and complementary
I do use conventional medicine in my practice,
when necessary. Holistic care focuses on
long-term wellness, but some patients are too sick and need more immediate
What are your recommendations for first-time dog
owners who are interested in holistic medicine?
For first-time dog owners I recommend doing your
research before getting a dog. Owning a dog is a lifetime commitment and
you need to be in it for the long haul. I also recommend creating a savings
account for your dog to be used for unexpected or costly health problems – just
as you would any other member of your family.
Do you have any other advice?
I also strongly encourage you to feed your dog the best possible diet. I recommend a home-cooked diet most often for my patients, or a raw- or freeze-dried diet if the former is not feasible. These diets are less-processed and less-inflammatory than dry dog food, and will improve the overall wellbeing of your dog throughout the course of their own lives.