Veterinarian Lisa Pesch relies on her Kundalini and Iyengar yoga practice to keep her present as she treats dogs and cats. “If I’m not taking care of myself, I get out of balance,” says Pesch, who practices in Sebastopol, California. “I’m directly inputting my energy into my patients.”
Pesch is among a growing number of vets who take a holistic approach, using alternative modalities including acupuncture, Chinese herb therapy, and homeopathy. Such healers graduate from veterinary school first, and then add to their knowledge. And the integrative approach is gaining popularity. Veterinarian Cheryl Schwartz, author of Natural Healing for Dogs and Cats A-Z, has observed an increase in interest since she began practicing holistic medicine on animals 25 years ago.
But holistic treatments tend to be more expensive and usually require more visits. Still, “People now see holistic healing as a preventive measure and a preferable treatment,” says Schwartz, a founding member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. In the past year, the AHVMA has seen a 15 percent increase in membership.
A holistic vet might treat a rash with diet and herbs to bring the animal’s whole being into balance instead of with an ointment that might have side effects. But these vets are also trained in conventional medicine and will treat serious ailments, such as cancer, with a combination of conventional and alternative therapies.
Visit these websites to explore holistic pet care:
American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association: ahvma.org
International Veterinary Acupuncture Society: ivas.org
Academy of Veterinary – Homeopathy: theavh.org