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What does a Holistic Vet do?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Jan 26, 2024
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Many people seek the services of holistic medical professionals to provide relief for chronic pain and other physical ailments. Holistic services such as acupuncture, chiropractic treatments, homeopathic medicine, and reflexology are very popular in many cultures. Believers in alternative medicine can even provide their pets with the same type of treatments by visiting licensed holistic veterinarians. Vets with specialized training in holistic techniques offer animals careful, minimally invasive treatments to promote their health and well-being.

A holistic vet specializes in providing alternative medical treatments to dogs, cats, birds, and other common household pets. While most experts are qualified to perform traditional treatments, they may first attempt alternative remedies to avoid subjecting animals to painful or unnecessary procedures. A holistic vet tries to keep an animal as calm and comfortable as possible while diagnosing and treating different ailments.

A professional holistic vet usually provides a variety of alternative treatments for animals. A vet can perform acupuncture to relieve aches, pains, and illnesses, or chiropractic treatment to combat bone and nerve problems. Professionals also offer heat and light therapy, massage therapy, and herbal remedies. Many vets emphasize the importance of nutrition, and often design specialized diets based on holistic principles for pets. Most of the services offered by holistic vets are very similar to those performed by alternative medical practitioners who work with human patients.

In most countries, a person who wants to become a holistic vet must complete the same educational and licensing requirements as other types of vets. After receiving a bachelor's degree, an individual is typically required to enroll in a four- to five-year veterinary medicine program at an accredited university. He or she can begin practicing general veterinary medicine after the completion of a postdoctoral internship and licensing test. To become qualified to perform holistic treatments, a new vet can take specialized training courses and exams from respected, accredited organizations and schools. Training programs vary considerably in length and the types of certificates that are awarded.

When considering taking an animal to a holistic vet, a responsible pet owner should investigate the vet's credentials to ensure quality care and services. Any pet owner should be wary about taking his or her pet to a vet that does not possess the appropriate license from a traditional veterinary medicine school. While holistic vets focus on providing alternative treatments, it is important for them to be able to provide more established medical treatment when necessary.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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