When you hear a veterinarian say, “We can’t cure it,” or, “All we can do is to try to control it,” that’s a good time to take the alternative approach if you haven’t already done so.

   Simply put, it’s an approach that bypasses the Western medical obsession with disease and symptoms and instead focuses on health and healing. It is an approach drawing millions of converts to holistic healers not only for themselves but for their animals as well. It is a needed approach whose time has come.

Researchers say that as much as 40 percent of the population suffers from chronic ailments. Although our modern medical system has made astounding advances in emergency medicine, acute care treatment, and sophisticated diagnostics, the same system fails to effectively prevent or heal chronic disease. The system, in fact, promotes treatments, procedures, and drugs that often cause substantial—even deadly—adverse reactions and new symptoms.

Veterinarians describe a somewhat parallel situation in their field, an epidemic of chronic disease in which animals become sick and die well before their time. Modern veterinary medicine has also made remarkable progress in diagnostics, surgical treatments, and acute care, yet the profession’s overall ability to deal with chronic disease leaves much to be desired. Conventional methods frequently relieve symptoms temporarily but fall short of healing animals or effectively raising their levels of health.

The typical style of medical practice is based largely on a pharmosurgical education taught at medical schools. But in recent years increasing numbers of both physicians and veterinarians have found a need to expand their horizons to other types of therapies—typically not taught in medical schools. These methods are categorized popularly as “alternative” or “holistic” practices. Asked why they turned to holistic medicine, the veterinarians interviewed  gave similar answers:

“The methods we were taught were too limiting.”

 “I wasn’t healing animals, only relieving their symptoms for a while.”

“I was dissatisfied with my ability to help my patients.”

“I was frustrated.”

These veterinarians repeatedly told me they became increasingly aware of their failure to effectively stop the advance of chronic diseases that continued to destroy tissue and life force at deeper and deeper levels despite their treatments. And this is why, they said, they looked beyond, to other options, and became attracted to acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, nutritional therapies using food, supplements, and herbs, and other natural healing traditions. Sometimes they used these newly learned methods alone, other times they practiced these methods in conjunction with drugs or surgery, dramatically improving the outcome of treatments. With these practices, they found the means to turn around sick patients, optimize their health, and often extend life.