Several years ago, my book Whole Pet Healing, was published by HayHouse Publications. Shortly after it was released, I started getting phone calls from people all around the world wanting me to help them with their sick pets. It was something I never imagined would help, but I tried and now I have clients that consult with me on a regular basis. I love it because I get to visit wonderful caretakers all over the U.S. and from Canada to Denmark.
It is not surprising that people are moving in a natural direction when it comes to pet health care and with the internet, information is no further than the home computer. Information is a great tool unless it is overwhelming. I have talked to people who are literally giving their sick pets 10-20 supplements a day from information they have obtained from the internet. Some of them are helpful, some are redundant and others are actually making things worse.
Who would benefit from a phone consultation with a holistic vet? A pet caretaker who would like to move beyond the limitations of conventional veterinary medicine that does not have access to a holistic vet. One who is confused about their veterinarian’s recommendations and unable to make decisions. One who feels like they are at a dead end. And, one who is working with a holistic vet as well but not getting a holistic approach. About 20% of my phone consultation clients are already working with a holistic vet and not getting where they want to be. I have had holistic vets recommend kibble pet food, Bravecto and other potentially harmful products.
As a holistic vet that has done phone consultations for several years, the main thing that I have learned is that the client needs help just as much as their pet. By the time they contact me, these people have been run through the mill. They have usually worked with several veterinarians, spent thousands of dollars on their pet and are emotionally exhausted. Worry, confusion and anxiety occupy their lives and believe me, this is not a healthy state of being for either the caretaker or the pet. A simple, “Let me handle this for you, relax and enjoy the time you have with your pet” can make all the difference in the world.
What does a phone consultation entail? I personally have the caretaker send me a copy of all medical records including lab work, X-rays, ultrasounds, etc. As a veterinarian for almost 40 years, I have dealt with just about every health condition that occurs in pets and on occasion I will find something that the vet has overlooked or has looked in the wrong direction. An example: I had a lady contact me for a consultation for her dog who had an ongoing sinus infection for over a year. The medical records revealed that the dog had been on multiple antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications. The vet had not considered that the infection might be a fungal infection and I suggested that her vet do a fungal culture. The culture was positive for a fungal sinus infection and we treated the infection with natural remedies and worked on the underlying cause for the infection.
Once I look over all the records, I do a one hour phone consultation with the client. This is so important because it usually reveals the reason the client contacted me. So many times the pet’s health problem is connected to the caretaker’s health, either emotionally or physically. As a holistic vet, if I don’t address this connection, the problem will not be resolved. As I wrote in my book, about 1/3 of the patients that I work with have exactly the same disease as the caretaker. I actually had a lady with a large dog that had chronic degenerative disease in its right knee. During the consultation she revealed that her right knee also had degenerative joint disease. Is this a coincidence? Not likely. Another lady said that if I helped her dog with chronic allergies, she wanted to have a consult for her daughter as she also had chronic allergies. I asked her if the dog was her daughter’s dog and she said, “Yes.”
After the phone consultation I spend time sitting with all the information that I have obtained from the medical records, client questionnaire and the phone consultation and put it all together like the pieces of a puzzle. As a holistic vet, I recognize the interconnectedness of all things, the body working in harmony with itself, its caretaker and its environment. I take the symptoms and disease(s) and use alternative, energetic modalities, like Chinese medicine in order to connect the dots and define the underlying imbalances that have led to the problems. Like an onion, I peel off the layers to find the source. It usually starts with one imbalance, leading to another and another, each manifesting as a set of symptoms or disease, continuing its pathway until it reaches the final manifestation as a terminal disease like cancer or end stage organ failure.
A holistic vet should not rely solely on her intellectual mind. She should also rely on her intuitive mind to gain insights that won’t be revealed with logical deduction. For it is the intuitive mind that gives guidance and from there she will use that insight to create a plan that is likely to help all involved. If the holistic vet is truly holistic, she will also recognize her part in this as all relationships serve a purpose. What is it that I might learn about myself?, she should ask.
How does the truly holistic vet do this? By being quiet and turning inside and allowing the insight to reveal itself. I do this before each phone consultation in order to be grounded in the present moment and open to what it reveals. A mind that is full of information will not allow this to happen.
When I have finished, I email the client a report with recommendations that should allow the best opportunity to restore normal health and well being for pet and caretaker. Do all consultations result in recovery? No. But all experiences serve us and it is my job to make sure the client does not miss the opportunity.