Holistic medicine and nutrition

acupuncture in dog

At Healthy Pets vet clinic we strive for total animal health, and that means looking at the “whole” animal, in terms of physical health, mental health, preventative health, lifestyle, and of course, nutritional health.

Holistic medicine, or perhaps better termed as integrative medicine, is a type of clinical practice that utilizes the very best of modern veterinary science, but also embraces lesser recognized modalities like acupuncture, chiropractic, herbal medicine and holistic nutrition. In many cases, the amazing array of modern diagnostic tools allows us to make very accurate diagnoses, only to face a condition for which modern medicine has no easy answer for. Many chronic diseases, like allergies, organ failure, arthritis, and even cancer, can be very difficult to manage using a strictly orthodox approach, and quite often the treatments available can come with some unpleasant side effects. This is where a holistic approach can create many new options for treatment. Allergies can be particularly hard to manage with conventional medications, but they respond very well to dietary changes and combinations of herbs and nutraceutical supplements. A holistic approach is very much a way of working with the body’s own defence and repair systems – stimulate the immune system, remove toxins from the body, accelerate innate repair mechanisms – this is what herbs, acupuncture, chiropractic can all do. There is a vast amount of evidence based veterinary knowledge available on these modalities, and very often the results and outcomes are far superior to more traditional veterinary approaches, and often more cost effective as well.

acupunture, holistic veterinary medicine in horse

Holistic nutrition is very much the cornerstone of good health for all animals. It follows the simple principle that we are what we eat, and if an animal, or person for that matter, eats a highly refined, carbohydrate rich diet, then internal health will suffer. Modern processed dog and cat foods are exactly that – high in carbohydrate and highly refined and processed – and they are NOT the cornerstone of good health. Feeding a carnivore means supplying large amounts of good quality animal protein and fat, and just a small serve of carbohydrate, if any. At HPVC we have a large range of these types of natural foods, which are convenient, easy to feed, and very often cheaper than many of the processed foods available. The amazing bonus of feeding your dog and cat this way, is that they just stay healthy, from the inside out. I would not be exaggerating if I said that feeding a natural diet can eliminate 80% of the common reasons people bring their pets to the vet clinic – itchy skin, gunky ears, urinary tract problems, blocked anal glands, poor dental health….. Feeding a healthy, natural raw diet is the BEST advice I can give any pet parent, and will have more benefit to that animal than any medication or vaccination I will ever give. And its so simple and easy to do.

in horses

Make an appointment today to see one of our holistic vets to get your pet back to health

9 Elizabeth St, Castlemaine VIC 3450
(03) 5472 5477

Vets All Natural Food

The Natural Choice for Healthy Pets

40 million years ago the earliest prehistoric dogs began evolving on planet earth. For the next 39.75 million years they roamed the planet as wild beasts, catching prey, scavenging, hunting as packs and evolving into their modern counterparts. Man and dog first formed a friendship back in the cave man era (250,000+ years ago), forged by a symbiotic relationship of combined hunting skills, early warning of danger and protection, companionship, and the cleaning up of all mans food scraps and waste. “Mans best friend” has continued to provide this service throughout the history of mankind; his role as hunter, pest controller, scavenger and waste disposal provided the dog with its natural diet of raw meats and scraps. It was not until just over 30 years ago in Australia, that the first commercial cooked dog and cat foods were released onto the market….and with that, began the slow and insidious decline in health of modern day dogs and cats.

The average veterinarian today spends more than half his or her working day treating a virtual epidemic of skin diseases, allergies, arthritis, teeth and gum problems, ear infections, anal gland impactions, urinary tract diseases and a huge range of degenerative diseases and cancers previously only thought to occur in man.

It is this background of information that lead respected Australian veterinarian Dr Bruce Syme to begin searching for a solution to this health crisis that did not depend on the continuous use of drugs (like cortisone and antibiotics), and then the need for more drugs to counter the side effects of the original treatments.

“ It was simply out of frustration, as a vet, that lead me to look for a better answer to these problems. I was embarrassed every time my clients came back for more consultations and more drugs for the same old problems..itchy skin, ear infections, arthritis therapy etc..”

And the answer to all these problems…Nutrition !

Dr Syme, along with a growing body of vets, breeders, and every day dog and cat owners, and a wealth of scientific evidence, believes that it is the practice of feeding cooked and processed pet foods, especially those using cheap meat and cereal by-products, that has resulted in the dramatic decline in health of modern dogs and cats.

“Cooking food does a lot more than just destroy vitamins” Dr Syme says, “ it destroys essential fatty acids, denatures proteins and enzymes, damages minerals and micronutrients, and severely decreases the nutritional content and bioavailability of any food source. In short, cooking pet food

creates nutritional deficiencies, which are often worsened by the use of cheap ingredients of poor quality and nutritional value.”

Although many premium brand dry foods are now using far better quality ingredients, they are all still cooked, processed, and use some form of artificial preservatives. Despite the claims that processed canned and dry pet foods will supply all of your pet’s nutritional needs, research has shown that many common brand pet foods supply as little as 26 of the 72 macro and micronutrients required for good health, and there is no legal requirement for them to do otherwise.

It is now an accepted medical fact that the top 8 killer diseases in western society (which include heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, alzheimer’s and autoimmune disease) are a direct result of the highly refined and processed western diet we consume. It is also an accepted and proven fact that the addition of high quality fresh fruit and vegetables, and some basic vitamin and mineral supplements (along with exercise), to the average western diet will dramatically reduce the chances of developing any of these top 8 diseases. The simple fact is, that the combination of intensive farming techniques currently used, and the high degree of food processing and refinement that follows, has lead to wide scale nutritional deficiencies.

At Healthy Pets Vet Clinic we stock a wide variety of Vets All Natural food. Please come and speak to one of our friendly nursing team about the food or for more information Click here

Laminitis in horses

Lameness in Horses in CastlemaineSadly, this amazing wet winter and Spring with all this lush growth is not good news for all. Ponies in particular are very prone to laminitis (also known as “founder”), and a season like we are having, is about as bad as it gets.

Laminitis; is an inflammatory condition that affects the feet of ponies and horses/donkeys,  and is caused by high levels of sugar in the green grass. The inflammation process begins mildly at first, and may just be seen as your pony sitting or lying down more often. It will then progress to constant weight shifting in the front feet, and then finally to extreme discomfort where the pony extends the front feet out forward to try and take weight off. The inflammation process can be very severe, and is driven by continued access the green grass with high sugar levels…..unfortunately, ponies just keep on eating and eating and make the problem worse and worse. Laminitis can get so severe that the attachments of the bones inside the hoof become damaged, and the bones literally separate  and collapse downwards – this will usually result in permanent and fatal changes, that end up requiring euthanasia – so naturally, we need to do everything we can to prevent this terrible disease.

If you pony has a history of laminitis – even it happened only once many years ago, you must assume the worst, especially this year with such amazing grass growth. Locking your pony up in a small yard and controlling feed intake is the first and most important step. Limit access to green grass to a maximum of one hour per day, first thing in the morning, when the sugar levels are at their lowest (grasses convert sugars to complex carbohydrates overnight). Then feed basic old pasture hay for the rest of the day – or chaff etc. They need a constant source of fibre/food, NOT just the green grass.

I also like to make sure they have a good quality mineral lick, to make sure the dietary restrictions don’t impact on their nutritional needs. If you are really stuck for finding a paddock with no feed (the “Jenny Craig” paddock), then you can also consider using a feeding muzzle, which stops the ponies from being able to eat the grass 24/7, and gives you control of when they can eat.

Step 2 in laminitis prevention is excellent hoof care – these ponies feet grow very quickly at this time of year, so you need regular farrier visits to ensure that the hoof is trimmed correctly, and maintains support to the frog (the soft wedge part of the sole of the hoof). Veterinary intervention to provide pain relief and advice, blood tests, xrays and advanced hoof care is often a sign that the disease has already progressed quite far, and is not always curable.

Laminitis is VERY painful, so you must take it seriously and provide expert care for these ponies. If you suspect your pony may be showing signs, there are simple blood tests that can confirm this, and corrective farrier work and dietary changes that can stop the disease- but PLEASE, act sooner, not later, as time is critical, and this year, it is definitely going to be a tough one, as we are already seeing many cases and the sun is hardly shining yet.

Dr Bruce Syme.