Archive for Sunday, September 8, 2002

Owner searches for holistic vet

September 8, 2002


I am looking for a holistic veterinarian in my area and am hoping you can help. There is only one veterinarian in our area who advertises alternative treatments. When I called his office, his staff said that his alternative treatment consists of vitamins and antioxidants.

I'm really wanting something more than just vitamins. Do you have any suggestions on how to find a holistic doctor for my cat?

First, since even conventional doctors can (and should) promote the use of vitamins and antioxidants, I doubt this doctor really is a holistic doctor. I know several holistic veterinarians around the globe, and all of them offer many more therapies than simply vitamins. In my own practice, we offer homeopathy, magnetic therapy, herbal therapy, flower essence therapy and acupuncture, in addition to vitamin/nutritional therapy.

Second, most holistic doctors don't prefer the term "alternative" therapy, as what we do is not usually an "alternative" to anything. The terms "complementary medicine," "holistic care" or "integrative medicine" more accurately define our approach to pet care.

I would recommend contacting the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Assn. ( to find someone suitable in your area.

My dog Lori was recently diagnosed with lymphosarcoma cancer. I do not want to do chemotherapy for her but am considering steroids. What are your thoughts on this?

Lymphosarcoma is a common cancer in dogs and cats. While it is not usually curable, it is usually very easily treated with chemotherapy, producing remission from one to two years.

Side effects of chemotherapy are rare in most pets and are mainly related to low blood counts. Therefore, I always recommend chemotherapy combined with proper diet and immune support, using herbs, antioxidants and whole food supplements.

When chemotherapy is used, liver support is also recommended.

Prednisone is the most commonly used steroid as part of the recommended chemotherapy regimen. Treated with Prednisone only, most pets will experience a short remission (one to six months) before the cancer returns. You don't mention why you don't want to use chemotherapy for your dog, but I would encourage a consultation with an oncologist.

Shawn P. Messonnier, author of the "Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats" (Prima, $24.95), is a veterinarian and pet care advocate.

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