An Introduction to Holistic Pet Care

Much of modern thought is geared to seeing the individual as a series of separate systems which function independently of each other. We have specialists for skin, kidneys, nervous system, bones, heart and so on.

Food companies produce whole ranges of veterinary -only diets, each food designed to treat or manage a specific health problem. Diets are developed containing supplements to promote healthy joints or immune systems, clean teeth, avoid hairball and so on.

At any time there are many thousands of biochemical and physiological reactions occurring in the body. These reactions are co-ordinated and controlled in ways which have evolved over millions of years and which we can barely begin to understand. Any effort to influence these reactions is crude and limited compared to the body’s own capabilities.

The objective of Holistic Medicine is to follow a lifestyle which provides the conditions for the body to maintain a healthy, stable condition.

By far the most important element and the one over which we have most control is the daily diet

“We don’t know what causes the problem, we don’t know how to cure it but we can use drugs to relieve it until we really understand how to deal properly with the problem.”

(John Burns BVMS MRCVS, I972)

“Shortly after qualifying as a veterinary surgeon I heard myself saying these words on numerous occasions to owners of dogs with skin problems. I was beginning to realise I was not as well prepared to deal with health problems as I would have liked. While drugs are useful for treating acute illnesses and relieving the signs and symptoms of chronic disease there are few if any chronic diseases which can be cured by drugs.

“A few years later, having read some impressive reports about acupuncture I decided to become an acupuncturist. The two-year course on Traditional Oriental Medicine attempted to unite ancient principles of health to our Western way of life. During this time I came to realise that acupuncture suffered from the same important shortcoming as modern medicine – the illness itself was being treated but the management did not address the cause of the problem.

“At the same time I became a student of the Macrobiotic movement which was in great vogue in Britain in the seventies but which has now disappeared from view (in the UK at least). Macrobiotics attempted to apply and adapt ancient, traditional philosophy in a way which was practical and appropriate to our modern lifestyle

“Although much maligned at the time Macrobiotics seemed to me to complement my scientific training although in some respects it presented an opposing view. In particular Macrobiotics, like many other branches of complementary medicine taught that most illnesses originate in the main from improper lifestyle especially the daily diet.

“By extension it follows from this that correct diet can be used to treat many illnesses or, more accurately, correct diet can allow the body to make the necessary adjustments in order to heal itself

“By experimenting on my own diet I was able to verify the principle that physical health and mental well-being can be changed by diet. I decided to adapt and apply similar principles to the understanding and practice of Veterinary Medicine.

“I advised my clients to avoid all commercial pet foods and to feed only home prepared diets based on brown rice, good quality meat (chicken, fish or lamb) and vegetables. The results were remarkable in that many chronic health problems could be managed by a simple diet. But most pet owners found the task of food preparation too impractical and could not keep it up long-term.

” I eventually came to realise that for the majority of pets, a Holistic diet can only be possible if a suitable prepared food is commercially available. That is why I came to develop my own complete foods for dogs and cats”

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