What’s the best food to feed your dog? Does your cat need to be vaccinated? How about your itchy pup or vomiting cat?
I’m excited to be here to answer all of your natural and holistic vet care questions!
Many of the readers of this magazine have probably already adopted a holistic lifestyle for themselves. There’s not much question anymore in the general medical community that doing so helps us live longer and healthier lives.
30 years ago when I graduated from vet school, there were no readily available commercial raw foods. Vaccinations were given annually (or more often). Reliable natural, holistic veterinary care was been hard to find.
Barbara from Greenwich asked:,”I have a 10 week old Golden Retriever. I think she was vaccinated for parvo and distemper at the shelter before I adopted her. I want to minimize vaccinations but my vet says she needs more. What shots should I get for her?”
Thanks for asking, Barbara. I’m so glad to hear that you want to minimize your new pup’s immunizations. In most individuals, one vaccination after 14-16 weeks of age is sufficient. This will vary based on the strength of her immune system. You can measure her response to the immunization with a blood test called a vaccine titer. These can be done at any time, but it is best wait at least a few weeks late. Because even one vaccine can potentially be harmful, I personally don’t vaccinate my pets except as required by law. For more info, go to: http://www.homevet.com/pet-care-library/itemlist/category/66-vaccination-decisions
Karen from Cheshire asks: “I leave dry food out all day for my cat Roscoe. He’s very overweight so my vet started a prescription dry reducing diet a few months ago. Roscoe has not lost an ounce! What can I do??”
Hello Karen. The first thing I do in my practice with overweight cats is to stop the dry food. Doing so will dramatically decrease Roscoe’s carbohydrate load. This step alone may be enough. You should then engage him in play as much as possible. Any amount of running around will help burn these excess calories and help him slim down. Decreasing kitty carbs while increasing activity will also reduce his risk for diabetes and other metabolic problems. For lots more information about feeding cats, take a look at: http://www.homevet.com/browse-articles/for-healthy-pets/item/134-feline-nutrition-basics-and-how-to-get-cats-off-dry-food
Melody from Rockport ME writes: “Hi, my 7 year old german shepherd has pancreatic insufficiency so he’s on a low fat diet from the vet. He is always getting itchy staph infections on his lower belly . He also gets major irritation around his nipples- specifically the ones closest to his neck. I’m currently giving him green tripe as well as an enzyme supplement. Can you suggest anything for his skin issues due to his low fat diet? Thanks!”
Hi Melody. Without knowing the specifics of his medical condition, it’s impossible to answer completely. Is the enzyme controlling his symptoms? Is his weight OK? Does he have a history of pancreatitis? Congratulations for having integrated tripe into his diet. This is a great natural source for many of the nutrients that he needs. Despite his low fat diet, I’d consider gradually integrating an omega-3 fatty acid into his diet. In addition, a high quality probiotic is essential. Start working with a trained vet homeopath. This is critical to optimizing the energetic dys-equilibrium that allowed his pancreatic insufficiency and skin problems to develop. Doing so will allow him to be the best that he can be.
Michael in Odessa FL asks: “My vet says that he practices holistically. Is this different than being a vet homeopath?”
Holistic is very different from homeopathic. The holistic practitioner evaluates the whole patient before diagnosing or treating. That’s it. This is in contrast to reductionistic docs who reduce the body to it’s parts. They consider skin problems to be distinct from liver problems which are separate from eye conditions, etc. Many modalities are used. The American Holistic Veterinary Medicinal Association (ahvma.org) members practice acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic, drug therapy, herbal therapy, etc. Even “conventional” vets who prescribe strong and potentially harmful drugs may call themselves holistic. One doctor may even use a mixture of several modalities. Homeopathy on the other hand, is a distinct subset of holistic medicine. It is considered the ultimate holistic modality. It can’t be properly practiced without taking the entire patient into account. Every mental, emotional, physical and even biochemical parameter is taken into account. Vet homeopaths prescribe energetically-based homeopathic medicines which address the underlying process causing all of the problems. See http://www.homevet.com/how-homeopathy-can-help for more information.
For many other answers and to join our discussion, go to “Ask Dr. Jeff” on the web at: http://www.homevet.com/forum
Dr. Jeff is a 1985 University of Pennsylvania school of vet med graduate. As an undergraduate studying molecular biology, he was chosen for the elite University Scholar program. It allowed him to choose any of the university’s graduate or medical schools. Being a lifelong animal lover, he chose to become the first veterinary UniversHis research in Penn’s medical school and Department of Medical Genetics led to a varied interest in aging, endocrinology and other metabolic diseases.
From academia he interned at Boston’s Angell Memorial Animal hospital. His clinical experience there led to a desire to integrate high tech medicine with a more holistic approach to the individual.
After 1 year working as an emergency clinician, he started Fairfield County’s first holistic house-call practice. In the mid-nineties, his continued clinical research in holistic medicine led him to study homeopathy.
By 2000 he became the first certified veterinary homeopath (CVH) in Connecticut. Dr Jeff’s clinical practice currently focuses on both prevention and treatment of serious diseases in dogs and cats.
Dr. Jeff can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org