The Horse

MAR 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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TheHorse.com | The Horse March 2019 25 Maybe this was how owners handled health conditions a few hundred years ago, but veterinary medicine has ad- vanced considerably. We now have access to antibiotics, vaccines, and even pharma- ceuticals to treat teeny tiny growths in the pituitary gland, not to mention extensive diagnostic and treatment equipment. What more could you need? Well, many horse owners seek ap- proaches beyond what Western medi- cine techniques and technology have afforded—along with veterinarians offer- ing these options, say our sources. Here's what you need to know about holistic veterinary medicine, how vets can integrate it into everyday practice, when they opt to stick with Western medicine, and how they marry the two. What Is Holistic Medicine? Holistic medicine—perhaps more aptly thought of as whole-istic medicine— refers to the practice of treating the entire patient rather than just the clinical signs of disease. The American Holistic Health Association defines it as: "The art and sci- ence of healing that addresses the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies to prevent and treat disease and, most importantly, to promote optimal health." In essence, holistic medicine falls under the realm of what we now refer to as, "complementary, alternative, and integrative veterinary medicine," or CAIVM. The American Veterinary Medi- cal Association (AVMA) describes CAIVM as "a heterogeneous group of preventive, diagnostic, and therapeutic philosophies and practices that are not considered part of conventional (Western) medicine as practiced by most veterinarians." Examples of CAIVM include veterinary acupuncture, homeopathy, manual or manipulative therapy (e.g., chiropractic), nutraceutical therapy, and phytotherapy (herbal medicine). The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA), describes holistic medicine as "… humane to the core. The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle, minimally invasive, and incorporate patient well-being and stress reduction. "In treating an animal, a holistic veteri- narian will determine the best combina- tion of both conventional and alternative (or complementary) therapies for a given individual," it continues. "This mixture of healing arts and skills is as natural as life itself. Therein lies the very essence of the word (w)holistic. It means taking in the whole picture of the patient—the environment, the disease pattern, the relationship of pet with owner—and developing a treatment protocol using a wide range of therapies for healing the patient. The holistic practitioner is interested not only in a medical history but also genetics, nutrition, environment, family relationships, stress levels, and other factors." Who Offers These Services? The AVMA states that any "treat- ments" falling under the CAIVM umbrella must be implemented only when a valid veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) exists and only by a professional with proper training. STACEY OKE, DVM, MSC W hen an owner says, "I treat my horse naturally," do you wonder what they mean? Do you picture someone rummaging through the cupboards, grinding a little of this and shaking in a little of that to create the perfect concoction to "treat" whatever ails their horse? Learn how veterinarians can incorporate holistic medicine into practice What Does it Mean? Holistic Horse Care

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