A little EBM on the side.

I have been finding it more difficult lately to continue to practice in an environment that creates conflict and confusion to the wonderful people who seek my advice as clients to my vet practice. Consultations can become counseling sessions due to the shift in understanding that occurs and the challenges that can arise in an already emotional situation with sick animals.


The life of a holistic vet has always been difficult because we have needed to have the courage and resilience to face criticism from many corners for the perception that we are ‘troublemakers’. What we are, in fact, is a group of professional veterinarians looking for the best way we can to understand and treat disease in animals. If our discoveries and successes lead us to better understand concepts that are considered contrary to conventional thinking then we may find ourselves being somewhat tortured by difficulties of communication and comprehension.

We were all given the same opportunity to learn veterinary medicine and many of us branched into specializations. Holistic medicine is a specialization and the discoveries that we make are invaluable contributions to the future of medicine. Unfortunately we are not regarded as specialists in our field by our colleagues who still do not think to ask our advice about what is termed ‘complementary and alternative veterinary medicine’ or more accurately, integrative medicine.  Animal owners themselves are seeking us out with increasing frequency as they search for answers to perplexing disease situations or are frustrated by escalating and chronic conditions afflicting their pets.

Speaking personally, my veterinary training provided me with an invaluable opportunity and environment in which to learn to learn. Vet school provides a comprehensive foundation in animal anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and medicine. There were opportunities to learn and practice surgery and all of this was built upon a solid foundation of evidence based scientific practices such as physics and chemistry.

‘Evidence based medicine’ (EBM) itself, however, is a misleading term that was adopted by sceptics to discredit medicine, especially complementary and alternative medicine.

In actual fact evidence based medicine is not even taught at all to clinicians in the strictest sense because it is a term that was coined by epidemiologists and academics to distinguish their laboratory practices from clinical practices.

By it’s very definition and from it’s inception EBM is divisive and misleading.

That does not mean that our veterinary training has no evidence base. Evidence is gleaned from years of experience and knowledge, training and research and all veterinarians practice medicine that has an evidence base. You may begin to see how this term has been misused, appropriated and has become somewhat meaningless despite the emphasis placed upon it by those striving to drive conflict using the firm assertion that there is a difference. There is not.

With the rise in interest in holistic complementary and natural medicine over recent times there has been too much conflict in and around this issue that has not served any of us well.images-11

This vet story however was not intended to be a discourse on EBM. I originally intended to introduce some of the reasons for why we are vilified for holistic practice apart from the confusion over terminology.

I will speak personally once again because I cannot assume that my colleagues agree with my assertions. I have decided to be blunt and forthright in these assertions because the messages are very important and simple.

The vast majority, if not all, diagnoses involving terms like “immune mediated”or idiopathic are the result of epigenetic fallout from years of vaccinations, bad diets and suppressive treatments.

Suppressive treatments include all products with the term ‘anti’. Anti means against. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, antacids, antiemetics all have a place in disease management but never in cure. We have now moved beyond the anti to the full blown immunosuppressive, past cortisone to deeper levels of suppression. Must we be against everything?


From these short statements alone it is not difficult to see why I may be considered a ‘troublemaker’ but I am solely concerned with discovering the truth and providing the best treatments for animals. There are many other postings on this site pertaining to best practice such as the feeding of evolutionary diets since ‘we are all what we eat’. Nutrition has a fundamental role in optimal health and in preventing epigenetic triggers to disease.

Real and healthy food does not ever come in packets or tins.

I am certain that in the next few years there will be an increase in interest and research into epigenetics that will shed some light on and bring solutions for these problems but in the meantime holistic vets have real answers and treatments available for chronically ill animals.

As we progress towards unraveling the mysteries of the genome, after the discovery of the genetic code over sixty years ago, we perhaps ought to consider that there have always been those amongst us who have put their innate, genomic knowledge and wisdom to best use.



The outer courage sees the right way.

The inner courage does the right thing.

 Sri Chinmoy



Leave a Reply