What is an Integrative Veterinarian?

Pet Fooled, a DocumentaryIt’s rare that I have free time, but when I do, I like to Netflix and Chill with my cats. (Oh, behave!) The other day, I saw a documentary on Netflix that left me astounded, called Pet Fooled. There were lots of veterinarians on there and one of them was Dr. Karen Becker, who referred to herself as an integrative veterinarian. Say what? Immediately I wrote that down, already knowing those two words were going to headline a blog post. Dr. Karen Becker is pretty renowned, and you should look her up.

Most of you know that my interest in feline digestive health is well.. weird. And many of you know that it’s due to the feline diabetics in my life. Once you realize you’ve been following cat food advice from sleazeballs self-interested corporate overlords, it’s hard to turn away from what you’ve seen. I know an unhealthy amount, which I then use to coach my clients when their cats become sick from what they’re ingesting. Oftentimes this results in clients looking at me with a peculiar head tilt and a frightened expression. Fortunately, I never again have to look like a whack-a-doodle in front of terrified potential clients, and I can just refer people to this incredible 1 hour documentary. Do you have one hour to learn what the pet food industry has been doing to your cats (and dogs)? Real vets are talking, so you can be sure they know what they’re talking about!

Alright, so back to our original question: What is an integrative veterinarian? According to the Google and the multiple sites it delivered to me, an integrative vet is a veterinarian who utilizes both holistic and Western or modern medicine together to ensure healthy pets. This veterinarian might utilize an approach including “acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Tuina (Chinese therapeutic massage), canine physical therapy and rehabilitation, therapeutic nutrition, homotoxicology and homeopathy, as well as laser therapy.  All of these therapies treat the whole body and can be referred to by the generic term “holistic”. ”

Integrative vets often prescribe species-appropriate diets for cats, including canned and raw foods. You might flinch at the thought of raw food, but cats have been eating raw since Cat #1 – it’s what they’re designed to eat. You sure won’t find cats out on the plains making biscuits out of plant products, toasting them on the open flame and tossing them into bowls! I would be remiss if I did not include a link to my favorite feline nutritionist, a veterinarian we call Dr. Lisa. Her teachings have been an integral part of my life as a feline diabetic caregiver.

In my personal experience, I have loved holistic approaches with my cats, and in fact, one integrative veterinarian, Dr. Constance Pozniak of Boulevard Vet in Norfolk, saved my cat’s life and reversed his paraplegic condition almost 100% using acupuncture and Chinese herbal supplements. Cold laser therapy, L-lysine and various supplements are regulars in my lineup of treatments for senior cats and ailing cats, so finding a veterinarian who can integrate these methods in with modern veterinary medicine is a must for me.

Tell me, do you have an integrative veterinarian? Who is it, and what do you like about their practice?

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