Holistic Steps to Ensure your Pet’s Best Health
By Dr. Patrick Mahaney, Veterinary Expert for Flexcin International
Do you take a holistic approach to your pet’s health? You may already be doing so and not even be aware of it.
In observance of National Holistic Pet Day, let’s cover the basics of holistic veterinary medicine. After all, holism really is just another expression for ‘the whole’. The holistic approach strives to maintain or improve the health status of the entire body rather than individual parts. Here are my top four recommendations for taking a holistic approach to pet health:
- Physical Examination Schedule a consultation and physical examination with your veterinarian at least every 6-12 months for healthy pets. Juvenile, geriatric, or sick pets should be evaluated more frequently. Your veterinarian’s physical examination should include an assessment of the following body parts/systems:
• Aural (ears)
• Ocular (eyes)
• Oral (mouth, gums, teeth, throat)
• Respiratory (nose, throat, trachea, and lungs)
• Cardiovascular (heart, arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels)
• Endocrine (liver, kidneys, other organs)
• Gastrointestinal (esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine, rectum)
• Musculoskeletal (Body Condition Score, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints)
• Nervous (pain perception and motor movement)
• Integument (hair coat, nails, paw pads, and skin)
• Urogenital (internal and external genitalia)
- Healthy Weight Maintenance According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), over 50% of pets in the United States are overweight or obese. Unfortunately for these pets, their caretakers are to blame for administering excess calories with insufficient exercise. Corpulent canines and cats are simply obeying their biological urge to eat in order to survive. If your pet is overweight or obese, excess stress is exerted on all bodily systems. The cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and musculoskeletal systems are especially compromised by the burden of extra weight. Many diseases associated with obesity are irreversible, so it’s best to prevent your pet from becoming overweight in the first place. Work with your veterinarian to set reasonable goals for weight loss through dietary modification, calorie restriction, and daily exercise.
- Periodontal Health Besides obesity, the most common disease that affects pets is periodontal disease. Ironically, it is also completely preventable. Discuss a plan to address your pet’s periodontal health with your vet, including dental cleaning under anesthesia and daily brushings. Start preventative measures early in life to minimize the toxic effects that inflammation and infection from the oral cavity has on your pet’s heart, kidneys, liver, and other systems.
- Reduce Reliance on Medications When one body part or system is affected by trauma, infection, cancer, inflammation, or other ailments, all of the other body parts suffer as well. Medication is usually needed to resolve most health conditions that affect our pets, but there are side effects associated with nearly all prescription medications. If all body parts are kept functioning optimally, than the need for medication to manage chronic ailments will be lessened.
Taking a holistic approach to your pet’s health should not exclude western (conventional) medicinal methodologies. A combination of both holistic and conventional medicine is best to ensure your pet’s optimal health and longevity.
Attend a free Facebook pet advice forum on National Holistic Pet Day, August 30, 2012, where you can submit your questions to me, Dr. Patrick Mahaney, and I’ll respond via live video stream. For more details visit the Flexcin International Facebook page.