Well first off, all vets are highly educated, trained professionals who are caring animal health practitioners. We enjoy the work we do and do it to improve animal health and animal quality of life to the best of our abilities, based on our experiences and beliefs. Even though we are all one profession, we are a diverse group made up of individuals, each with their own points of view on things. It is said medicine is as much an art as a science, and I think this is due to the body being a highly complex system, and “facts” can be interpreted in a variety of ways at any one time, depending on who is looking and who is asking what. This means there is much room for a variety of interpretations and opinions in any given situation with regards animal health.
The first way in which my approach is different is that, as well as being a vet trained in regular vet things, I am also interested in and knowledgeable about natural approaches. This gives me a bigger toolbox of therapies I can offer clients. As they say, if your only tool is a hammer, everything has to be a nail. I use a natural approach with healthy food, herbs, complementary care and counselling for myself and my family. I have learned so much from personal experience that this helps to expand my mind about options for animal health care. I’m a bit of a lateral thinker and open minded and curious about a lot of things.
Secondly, I need to say that as I’ve made my way through life, and professional practice over the years, it’s been my experience that in any situation, there were more questions asked than we yet have adequate answers for. For instance I see patterns of recurrent disease that aren’t explained by the conventional model. As I’ve started looking in other places, I can see a range of possible factors from say TCM or homeopathy or other medical traditions that we don’t yet recognise in our mainstream medical thinking in the industrialised world. There are also complex and chronic diseases commonly seen now that I didn’t see as a new graduate in the 80’s. I’m left to ponder the reasons for that and a lot of the time I come back to a question mark over the practices of my own profession.
There are a few things that I do differently from most vets. One of the major things I do differently is that I do not recommend the same things that most conventional vets do for routine so called preventative health care, like parasite control. Most people find this a bit of a shock at first. I believe that while these treatments can prevent certain conditions, it is my belief and experience that the approach may actually be causing other problems. Many times these treatments are not needed in all situations and I believe the over use of these types of products may contribute to cause chronic illnesses. I work with my client to identify their risk factors and develop a programme which minimises the use of harmful chemicals as much as possible.
I also am different in that I don’t believe commercial pet foods are the healthiest foods. Most people find this a surprise too at first. I am an enthusiastic advocate for natural feeding whenever possible and support people to make other choices rather than feeding commercial foods which are now considered the norm in our society and certainly by the profession as a whole. The trick is doing this well. There is so much fear and misinformation about this as we now have very few people with much natural feeding experience in our western culture. One of my passions is teaching and supporting people to do natural feeding well.
I guess to summarise my approach then you could say I aim to take the best of all systems of medicine and put them together in a regime that is effective and which does no harm. It is always a juggling act, walking a fine line. Strong communication is essential and I am very client focussed. I recognise everyone is individual and aim to work with you in being partners in your animals care. I guess it is all these factors that make my approach different from most other vets.