vet at a desk

Most Common Questions Asked of Holistic Veterinarians

Expert Roundup

Onpets wanted to find out what the most common question is – and the answer – that holistic veterinarians receive from pet parents.  We consulted with a number of veterinarians around the country who practice integrative veterinary medicine and here is what they told us:

dr. beth hirschfeldBeth M. Hirschfeld, DVM, CVA, VMO; Hollywood, FL 

  • The most common question I get is what can you treat with acupuncture?
  • My answer is everything!! From psychological problems to physical ones, the only thing acupuncture cannot cure is a structural problem but even then, acupuncture can help with supportive care and symptomatic treatment. For example, a broken bone needs alignment and stabilization but acupuncture (and especially cold laser therapy) can help with inflammation, pain and expediting the healing process.
  • Check out my Onpets interviews for a more in-depth discussion of how acupuncture works.

Perrin Heartway, DVM; Floyd, VA dr. perrin heartway

  • The most common question I get are:
    • “What do I feed my pet?”
    • “Do I need this vaccine?”
    • “What do you do for fleas and ticks?”
    • “How do I know when it is time to euthanize my pet?” I get the last question a lot since so many older pets’ parents turn to holistic veterinary medicine.  There is no short answer to any of these questions but Onpets has a whole section about nutrition as well as advice on natural solutions for fleas and ticks. We will explore the other issues in depth later this year.
  • Other common questions concern the diagnosis and natural treatment of thyroid, kidney, and allergic skin disease.

dr. josie beugJosie Beug, DVM; Miami, FL

  • The most common question I get is “How can acupuncture (or fill in the blank) help my pet?”
  • There also seems to be the perception that holistic vets aren’t “real” vets. I will make a recommendation about a Chinese herbal formula and the client will want to run it by their conventional vet, who really has little to no knowledge or experience using Chinese herbs.
  • Here is my take on holistic veterinary medicine: The biggest difference with holistic medicine is the perspective that it starts with. Conventional medicine divides the body up into systems (e.g. musculoskeletal, respiratory, cardiac) and provides specialists for each system. The problems arise when the specialists don’t communicate with one another. Just because a drug is meant to treat the heart, doesn’t mean it has no effect on other parts of the body, or interactions with other drugs given to treat other ‘systems’. Holistic medicine looks at the body as a whole, including the emotional, mental and spiritual bodies, and their interactions with the outer environment.


Rhiannon Fenton, DVM; Calabasas, CAdr. rhiannon fenton

  • The most common thing I discuss with clients is diet.
  • Here is my answer: Diet and nutrition are everything and are at the root of every disease! What you put into your body every day is what you get out. Most people do not know what to feed their dogs or cats. They are simply lost unless they have the time and interest in spending hours researching it online. And even then, they question whether something is correct unless a vet has written it or they have gotten confirmation from a vet they trust.

Dr. Erika HalleErika Halle, DVM; Salem, OR

  • Two of the things I talk about most are feeding: raw vs cooked vs processed, how to do it, and vaccinations.
  • Here is my detailed advice on nutrition for your dog and your cat.

John Simon, DVM; Royal Oak, MIdr. john simon

  • The most common question I get is “What is holistic veterinary medicine?”
  • Here is my answer: For over 30 years I have been practicing what has been termed “Integrative alternative veterinary medicine” which is a combination of alternative/holistic and conventional veterinary medicine. I believe that there is great value in both health care worlds as long as we are judicious about what, when and how we combine them. Although I will always opt to treat the underlying cause of the problem rather than just the symptoms, I do believe that certain situations demand symptomatic relief. If I can reduce an animal’s pain or itchiness while at the same time addressing the underlying cause, then why not make the animal comfortable. I see “integrative veterinary medicine”, which incorporates the best of both allopathic and holistic medicine, as the way for me to provide your pet with optimal health care and, consequently’ with the longest and healthiest life through a joint partnership between you and myself.

Let us know what YOU would like to know about holistic veterinary medicine and we’ll get you some answers!

©Onpets, LLC 2017.  All rights reserved.

Featured Stories

Your Senior Cat and Kidney Disease

A well cared for cat can live at least 20 years.  At most veterinary practices, cats 10 years and older...

Dog ID and Tracking Product Round-up

According to the American Humane Association, every year over 10 million dogs and cats in the United States are lost...

Exercise – You AND your pup need it!

You’ve heard the saying: If you are too heavy, your dog isn’t getting enough exercise! Regular exercise, be it daily...