The Rise of Natural Pet Care: Similar to the Natural Health Movement for Humans
Veterinarian Reviewed on March 31, 2009 by Dr. Janice Huntingford
Examining history is often a good way to predict the future. In the last decade, millions of people have turned to natural remedies to improve their health. They were tired of the traditional medical approach that rarely seems to get to the root of a health issue.
Popularity of Natural Remedies Has Soared
If you’re in a room of 100 people, you’ll discover that about 70% of them have. About half of these people will say that the reason they did was because they didn’t want to start taking any prescription medications, they wanted a natural solution that wouldn’t harm the body, or they didn’t want to experience any side effects. The other half will say that they tried the remedy before they ever saw a medical doctor and they wanted to take control of their health.
We All Have Herbal Roots
In the1800s, herbal medicine and midwifery were commonly used. The American Medical Association became a lobbyist for invasive medicine in the last quarter of the1800s and went on a crusade to control health care. Fifty years later they had completely ousted all other natural therapies through regulation. There’s no way to estimate the number of people who suffered as a result.
The first multiple vitamin mineral supplement came out in 1915 and was sold only to patients by doctors. The product was called Vita-Amines. The liquid was thought to activate the amino acids.
We’re Mad… and Not Going to Take It Anymore
The shift away from doing everything a medical doctor said without question occurred in the mid to late 1970s as an underground movement by revolutionary health advocates. About that same time, the media started broadcasting stories about problems that resulted from drugs and surgery given during medical treatment.
During the 1960s and 1970s, very few alternative health practitioners were mentally and financially strong enough to speak out against current medical procedures because of frequent FDA arrests. The AMA developed subtle but angry tirades against chiropractors using the term “quackery”. Despite the AMA’s attempts to discredit a perceived competitor, chiropractic patients who experienced the positive health benefits of the art knew that no matter what sticks and stones the medical doctors threw at chiropractors, they would continue their chiropractic visits. They weren’t about to give up feeling better. In the 1980s, the Chiropractic associations won a lawsuit against the medical profession for coordinated and well-orchestrated attempts to put them out of business and discredit them.
No Connection between Diet and Health
For decades, many traditional health care practitioners ignored the importance of diet in health. In 1979 the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Association denied there was a relationship between diet and cancer. In 1990, nutrition professors at universities still didn’t believe that antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, and E worked against free radicals and that supplements helped improve health. They believed that all essential elements could be obtained from a normal diet. This didn’t matter much to health advocates because they experienced benefits when they took the supplements. They knew the truth. Meanwhile, dietitians and the American Dietetic Association were still condoning the use of sugar and carbonated beverages. During the 1990s, certified nutritionist programs began to crop up, teaching the benefits of a natural diet and the art of using food as medicine.
The Battle Hasn’t Stopped
In recent years medical doctors and pharmaceutical companies have attacked the use of herbs and tried to sway the public away from using dietary supplements in a new way – with public relations organizations that systematically flood the press with reports that certain vitamins, minerals and herbs do not work. Smart health advocates see through their research. For example, studies using mice genetically-resistant to environmental chemicals to prove that chemicals don’t cause harm are one example of the type of tricks used to prove that chemicals are not a problem.
Natural Remedies at Your Fingertips
With the advent of the internet, information has become more easily available to obtain. Research reports, regulatory agency documents, press releases, videos and multimedia can be found on any topic in human and animal health, often with easy access to pros and cons on any topic. With this information comes the personal decision on whether or not to try a natural remedy, vitamin, mineral, herb or supplement.
Veterinary Medicine Parallels Medicine
Veterinary medicine in many ways is following in the footsteps of the medical doctors. Their philosophy is similar: when there’s something wrong, give a drug or cut it out, burn it out or poison it to make it go away. According to one graduate from the University of California at Davis Veterinary School, present-day veterinarians are taught that nutrition and alternative health methods are essentially a waste of time. The irony is that millions of research studies completed worldwide on nutrition using animals were the basis for deciphering the code of human nutrition. The nutrition code for pet nutrition lies in all those journal articles, right under the nose of the veterinarians. But they’re not doing any sniffing.
No Underground Movement Needed for Natural Pet Care
That’s why many people have taken their pet’s health into their own hands once they receive a diagnosis. The same internet that can give hope to humans trying to overcome a health issue can provide hope and solutions for pet owners. Many seek out alternative health care practitioners for answers since principles of healing are very similar for use of the modalities with pets. For example, a trained acupuncturist can easily adapt knowledge and experience to pets after taking a class or two on acupuncture for pets. A trained herbalist can do the same thing. Because the philosophies of natural health practitioners are vastly different from medical or veterinary philosophy, it’s a lot easier for an alternative health practitioner to apply his art to animals than a medical / veterinary professional.
Protecting their Turf?
There are some clues that the American Veterinary Association is attempting to control their turf just as the American Medical Association did. The question is will you let your dog or cat suffer as they battle it out? For example, veterinarians believe that chiropractors who treat animals should work under their guidance, even though veterinarians have no knowledge whatsoever of how to adjust a vertebrae. Although few if any arrests have been made, it makes one wonder if history is starting to repeat itself.
You Have Every Right and Every Advantage
To take control of your pet’s health you have one of the best tools at your fingertips: the internet. Because natural remedies and alternatives for pets are not yet found in any structured learning format, the information you may be looking for may take quite a bit of time to discover. No matter how long it takes, continue the search. Time is on your side and the information will be found. For whatever illness you are looking for, there is a natural remedy or a natural therapy that can lessen pain and suffering, improve quality of life and often reverse an illness. Never give up, do not listen to the naysayers and find it.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for 28 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan