What is Alternative Medicine?
Alternative medicine is a general term for medical products and practices not fitting into the category of standard care.
Standard care is what medical doctors, nurses, and other allied health professionals practice.
However, some medical professionals use alternative medicine in place of standard medical care.
One example is treating cancer with vitamin C IV therapy and herbs instead of using a standard approach.
Examples of alternative practices include homeopathy, off-label use traditional medicines, chiropractic, and acupuncture.
Complementary medicine is a little different from alternative medicine. Complementary medicine combines alternative medicine with conventional medicine. On the other hand, practitioners use alternative medicine in place of conventional medicine.
Veterinarians don’t learn alternative and complementary treatments in vet school.
However, more and more complementary and alternative therapies are finding their place in everyday veterinary medicine.
How Do Complementary and Alternative Treatments Work?
Many alternative and complementary treatments rely upon the body’s innate ability to heal itself.
Practitioners often either stimulate or suppress the immune system to achieve the desired results.
We look at the body “as a whole” with complementary and alternative therapies.
Also, the prevention of disease is our primary goal.
In contrast, traditional medicine is often reactionary and focuses on eliminating symptoms of disease.
Additional Benefits of Complementary and Alternative Treatments
Complementary and alternative therapies often offer holistic benefits above and beyond regular medicine.
Helping Your Pet Feel Better
Complementary therapies often help patients feel better during cancer and other treatments.
How your pet feels plays a big part in how well he or she copes.
Many complementary therapies help your pet relax and reduce stress. They might also help calm your pet’s emotions, relieve anxiety, and promote a general sense of well being.
Reducing Side Effects and Symptoms
In humans, studies show certain complementary therapies help to control some symptoms of cancer and treatment side effects. Complementary and alternative therapies work the same in pets.
For example, Eastern herbs often help reduce symptoms of pet cancer.
Likewise, acupuncture or herbs can also help to relieve pain after surgery.
In addition, certain herb and supplement combinations reduce pain and inflammation.
Being More in Control of Your Pet’s Wellbeing
Often, people feel like their veterinarian makes all the decisions about their pet’s treatments.
It can feel like you don’t have much control over what happens to your pet.
Complementary and alternative therapies offer more choices. In addition, they let you take a more active role in your pet’s treatment and recovery.