How can I locate a holistic veterinarian who knows nutrition?

The usual meaning for holistic veterinarian is a veterinarian who specializes in one or more alternative or complementary treatment, such as acupuncture, botanical medicine, chiropractic, homeopathy, massage therapy, and nutraceuticals. He or she may be a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and the most ideal situation is when the holistic vet and your regular one work together.

Many veterinarians, though, use different terms to convey what is meant by holistic. Some of the phrases you may hear are alternative veterinary medicine, complementary veterinary medicine, and integrative veterinary medicine. In fact, all veterinary medicine can be considered holistic in that it considers all aspects of the animal patient in the context of its environment. Therefore, you’ll need to be pretty clear about what you’re looking for.

The topic of a holistic vet can be a little controversial, and the American Veterinary Medical Association stresses that “There is only one veterinary medicine and only one standard by which it should be assessed. All treatments and modalities should be judged by the same criteria and held to the same standards. Descriptive terms such as holistic, conventional, traditional, alternative, integrative, or complementary do not enhance the quality of care provided and should not receive special consideration when judging the safety and efficacy of those treatments.”

To find one:
• Talk to your veterinarian about finding a holistic veterinarian who can work closely with him or her.
• Check online with the American Holistic Veterinary Association to see which holistic vets and what therapies they offer.
To become a holistic veterinarian:

• You first need to become licensed as a veterinarian, so plan to major in a science in undergraduate school. Then, it’s at least four years in veterinary medical school. To practice, you need to become licensed by passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam (NAVLE). Your state may also require an additional exam. THEN, to become a holistic vet, certify through the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy (AVH): 128 hours (six months) of veterinary homeopathy. You will then need to pass a qualifying exam and submit 4 case studies to the AVH. Then you will need to pass the final exam—and consider becoming a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) so you can further your education about holistic medicine.

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