Holistic Pet Care and Integrative Medicine for Cats
If your cat is suffering from a chronic health issue, it can be challenging to find relief in traditional veterinary practices. One thing you can discuss with your veterinarian is integrative medicine, as this may be an option. This holistic pet care methodology combines traditional Western medicine with other forms of medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and Chinese food therapies.
If you think your cat might benefit from integrative medicine, contact a local veterinarian to discuss what this might look like for your particular pet.
Holistic vets who practice integrative medicine have generally taken extra coursework, such as veterinary acupuncture. These additional studies usually take an extra 1-2 years over traditional veterinary school, and there are certifications available.
When your cat is presented for an integrative medicine appointment, the exam is often two-fold, with an exam for Western medicine and Eastern medicine. The Eastern exam will include different areas, such as pulse and tongue diagnosis. This means the practitioner uses traditional Chinese medicine to evaluate if there are excesses or deficiencies within your cat's body, which helps to dictate therapy.
Integrative medicine uses more than just Eastern medicine practices to bring about positive outcomes for your cat. In addition to acupuncture, laser therapy may be used. With laser therapy, your veterinarian will use a cold laser in order to decrease pain and inflammation.
How can integrative medicine help my pet?
Many different disorders may benefit from an integrative approach, especially chronic health conditions such as back pain, kidney disease, and intestinal disorders—all of which are common in cats as they age. While food therapy and Chinese herbs are important approaches to integrative medicine, it's important to consider what your cat will tolerate or allow. Many cats are amenable to laser therapy and acupuncture, but food therapy and administering Chinese herbs can be very difficult.
Your Veterinarian Can Help
As with any treatment option, it’s important to discuss the pros and cons of holistic veterinary medicine with your veterinarian. Even if he or she doesn’t practice alternative medicine for cats, your vet will likely have some insight and recommendations. For example, if your cat suffers from arthritis and needs more than pain management, your veterinarian may recommend an integrative medicine practitioner for acupuncture and laser therapy.
Reach out to a veterinarian near you to discuss the possibility of holistic pet care for your cat.