Complementary medicine


Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine  is a term used to denote veterinary medicine and techniques that are currently not taught in veterinary schools in Australia. It is integrated into regular veterinary practice by Integrative Veterinarians or used as a stand alone discipline by veterinarians trained in acupuncture, chiropractic and homeopathy amongst others.

It is perhaps more accurate to say that there is really no such thing as complementary and alternative medicine except in the minds of skeptics who use this terminology to indicate that it is not true medicine in their opinion.

The simplest fact is that medicine is medicine by definition.



I have begun writing posts about the importance of veterinary involvement in animal natural medicine because Veterinarians are the only animal health professionals who are trained adequately to diagnose and treat animals with disease. Complementary and Alternative medicine affords a wider base from which to draw these treatments under professional veterinary supervision and there is an increasing number of veterinarians taking an interest in studying these ‘alternative’ medicines.Webcow

The majority of people seeking this approach for their animals often have some experience or knowledge of these medicines themselves but it is also becoming a popular option for others who are running out of choices for the treatment of chronic animal disease.

Many new products and supplements have risen to popularity in recent times from the use of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine. Herbs have been a common adjunct to large animal feeds for many years as a result of understanding the benefits of such things as rosehip and milk thistle for health restoration. Small animals are similarly obtaining benefit from the addition of glucosamine, chondroitin or green lipped mussel products to commercial pet foods in recent times for joint disease. Fatty acids and essential oils like fish and flaxseed or sunflower have gained increasing popularity for skin disease management for example.


Over time the benefits or side effects of these nutrients also becomes better known and an evidence base is accumulated through case studies in an industry that does not invest much in research. Recently, for example, I have started to wonder whether the addition of green lipped mussel or pernease to dog and cat foods may be implicated in some seizure activity or predisposition to muscle tremors and epilepsy since it contains high levels of copper, made higher by concentration in supplements. This is the kind of information that integrative vets use to evaluate the efficacy of natural medicines and ensure that people get the best available advice for pet health. Organisations of holistic vets from around the world collaborate their case studies and independent research so that all practitioners benefit from shared knowledge and experience in integrative veterinary medicine.

Integrative veterinarians utilise a holistic approach to thinking about each case of animal disease and many natural medicines feature in treatment programs. Appropriate diets are an absolutely essential part of optimum health maintenance.  and chewing is a major factor in strengthening immunity of cats and dogs. images

Most integrative vets who employ homeopathy and herbal medicine also employ physical therapies that help to reset the brain axis and homeostasis. Holistic vets assist animals to heal themselves by restoring mechanisms that are weakened by many factors including stress, grief and environmental influences.

These physical therapies include, but are not restricted to, acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic/biomechanical medicine, Bowen, Orthobionomy, Myofascial and trigger point therapy and massage. None of these are taught in veterinary schools in Australia but can be invaluable healing tools in trained hands. It should also be noted that in untrained hands these techniques are not advised, as they can be harmful and used in isolation can also delay or prevent adequate diagnosis and proper treatment options.


Holistic and Integrative Veterinarians can be located in most states of Australia and anyone seeking Complementary or Alternative Medicine for their pets or animals should ask their regular veterinarian for referral or visit Integrative Veterinarians Australia website directory.






Truth does not
Challenge anybody.

Sri Chinmoy

 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 31

One Response to “Complementary medicine”

  1. From Jan Slipetz

    My dog developed seizures about 6 months after being on green lipped mussel powder. I was giving him abit more than suggested. Heaping spoon rather than level. He was getting 5 small scoops daily but he is a big dog. He developed seizures very suddenly and unexpected. I have him now on epilepsy pills but the seizures were very hard on him until he could be diagnosed

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