Frequently I am asked what my opinion is regarding if a pet owner should seek out a Holistic Vet or a Traditional vet. It seems as if many pet owners struggle with how to decide which type of vet to see; Holistic or Traditional. They both offer such a different approach to caring for our canine companions.
It is my opinion that it is wise to have a good relationship with both types of vets. In the remainder of this post I will address why and how to make these two relationships compliment one another rather than fight one another.
First, if you are reading this you must either be interested in feeding a raw diet or already doing so. When pet owners are feeding a natural raw diet they are already making a conscious decision to rear their canine companion naturally or the way nature intended. In my opinion feeding raw is not enough; we need to treat the whole canine naturally whenever possible.
When you are a raw feeder, finding a Holistic Vet is much easier than finding a Traditional Vet. Holistic Vets will support the natural, species appropriate diet – traditional vets, typically, do not. Holistic Vets will support the natural healing and health care concept, most Traditional Vets do not.
I personally see Dr. Jessica Levy in Blaine, MN. Her path to Holistic Medicine is very interesting. She was a Traditional Vet that over time saw a better approach to caring for our animals and made the switch. So when yo are her patient you get the benefits of her having the knowledge of both types of practicing. There are many good Holistic Vets out there – my experiences are with Dr. Levy.
Finding a Traditional Vet is more difficult if you are a raw feeder. Most Traditional Vets do not support raw feeding and whenever a raw feeders dog is ill the diet is typically the first thing that gets blamed – without proper diagnostics to back it up. With this being said, I do believe it is important to find a Traditional Vet that you can depend on in a crisis or when something is needed a Holistic Vet cannot offer. It will take some research and possibly multiple tries before you find that perfect “fit”. It is imperative that you put the time and effort into finding the correct match though. If your dog has the need for a traditional vet, that is not the time to find one.
When Ruger was under 9 months old he developed Bordetella. I was pretty certain he had picked it up at a training class. We saw Dr. Levy and she was treating him with Homeopathic Remedies but his cough was so bad she wanted to be certain that pneumonia was not setting in but she needed x-rays. She told me to take him to our Traditional Vet and have the X-rays done but NOT to take antibiotics. She wanted to see the X-rays. Here was not the time I wanted to be fighting with a vet over my choice of diet or argue about why I had not had him vaccinated for Kennel Cough. We went in, got the X-rays, and treated him Homeopathically with Dr. Levy. No muss, no fuss and all because we already had a good relationship with both of our vets – the Traditional and the Holistic. This is a perfect example of why I believe you need to have both types of vets – along with open and honest relationships with each of them. If one of them is making you feels like you have to “hide” something you are doing, tries to “frighten you” into believing what you are doing is harmful and cannot give you factual reasons why, then that is not a good fit.
When we are caring for our “fur kids” at a time of illness we are stressed because they cannot tell us what is wrong. Additional Stress caused by a difference of opinion with a vet is just not a stress we need to deal with. Be proactive, plan ahead and have a good relationship with both types of vets.
As always I am available for questions or comments. You can comment on this post or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Everyone stay warm and remember to watch out for our dogs feet in this frigid weather. Frostbite takes only seconds in this weather!