Support BrightHaven by shopping at
AmazonSmile, you shop. Amazon gives.

When Should I Consider a Holistic Vet for My Animal?

Please note: None of the information contained in this post is intended to replace consultation with a qualified veterinarian.

Since holistic approaches form the foundation of BrightHaven’s Menu for Healing, in most cases a classical veterinary homeopath is our “go-to” vet when an animal shows symptoms. All classical veterinary homeopaths are also DVMs, or Doctors of Veterinary Medicine.

However, if you’ve mostly worked with a conventional veterinarian, you may wonder about the world of holistic medicine and if and when you should contact a holistic vet.

First, Some Helpful Definitions

Holistic vs. Conventional vs. Integrative

Peanut big green eyes-small
Peanut, what beautiful green eyes you have!

Holistic medicine treats the entire being: body, mind, emotions and spirit. “Dis–ease” denotes an “out of ease” or unbalanced state. Often, holistic approaches can detect problems at the dis-ease state and correct the imbalance before serious illness sets in.

Best approach to treat the entire being and achieve balance, which optimizes the body’s own healing abilities.

Conventional (allopathic) medicine treats the symptoms and disease with the goal of cure, or absence of symptoms. Methods used by doctors may include drugs, radiation, or surgery.

Best approach for surgery, emergency, trauma and acute symptoms.

Integrative medicine brings together the best aspects of both holistic and conventional medicine to devise the optimal therapeutic recommendation for a patient.

Best approach for utilizing the best that conventional and holistic medicine have to offer a patient!

BrightHaven follows an integrative approach. Although we rely primarily on holistic modalities for our residents, we will not hesitate to utilize conventional drugs and therapies should a situation require them.

Healing vs. Cure

Lali laps supplement-small
Lali enjoying her supplement.

The animals have shown us that healing is an internal process, all about restoring balance to body, mind, emotions and spirit. A cure is typically thought of as achieving the absence of symptoms or disease. Healing can be achieved without a cure.

BrightHaven’s goal is always for healing for the highest good of the patient. For some, the healing experience we offer brings about improved health and a new-found love of life. For others, healing is a necessary preparation to complete the circle of life, death and the journey beyond.

Holistic vs. Homeopathy

Oftentimes people get confused between the two words, thinking they mean exactly the same thing.

“Holistic” encompasses all things natural. It spreads, like a large umbrella under which modalities like acupuncture, Reiki, herbs and flower essences, to name a few, sit. Homeopathy is also a holistic modality.

We are fortunate to have an amazing group of volunteer classical veterinary homeopaths that support the BrightHaven animals—each one of our residents has his or her own vet. Our blog post entitled What Do You Know About Classical Veterinary Homeopathy? shares more about this healing mainstay at BrightHaven.

Why Does Fluffy or Fido Get Recurring Ear Infections?

Thomas enjoying the great outdoors.

This situation may be the perfect time to consult with a holistic vet and add him or her to your animal’s healing team.

If you’ve taken your cat or dog numerous times to the conventional vet for a recurring ear infection, and the different medicines your cat or dog have been prescribed are providing only temporary if any relief, it could be that a look at your animal’s entire being is the next step.

Why? Fluffy or Fido might be out of balance on the physical, mental, emotional or spiritual level, and the ear infection may be a manifestation of that imbalance. During a comprehensive exam, a holistic vet will take a detailed history to understand all aspects of the animal’s day-to-day situation. S/he will look closely at diet, which can have a tremendous impact on overall health, changes in mood, recent changes within the home and much more.

The vet will use this information to create a plan that focuses on achieving balance that, as mentioned earlier, helps to activate the animal’s own healing system.

The Gentle Shift

Did you know that when BrightHaven first started nearly 30 years ago, Gail and Richard Pope relied completely on conventional medicine? It took a very knowledgeable—and patient—volunteer named Vicki Allinson to introduce them to a whole new healing world.

In The Gentle Shift, Gail and Richard paint for you a simple picture of their healing philosophy by demonstrating how they progressively learned about holistic healthcare, embraced new concepts and witnessed healing miracles. For instance, they explain what happened when, with great trepidation, they completely changed their trusted commercial diet to one based on raw meat. They also share how a beautiful black cat profoundly shifted their thinking about natural death.

The Gentle Shift is part of our online self-paced learning series called The BrightHaven Guide to Animal Hospice.


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. —Lao Tzu


BrightHaven Resources to Help Your Animal to Live Well Through the Last Breath

Copyright: This document is © copyrighted and is the property of BrightHaven Inc. and it must not be reproduced or presented for commercial purposes without prior express written consent from BrightHaven.