KEVIN ARMSTRONG, JESSICA ARTHUR & BRIANA WALKER
Traditional veterinary therapies are being challenged by unconventional treatments, using holistic and natural approaches to treat furry patients.
A range of animals, including but not limited to dogs and cats, are no longer being treated through conventional medication and rather by natural remedies such as reiki, acupuncture and herbal ointments.
Veterinarian and founder of holistic vet clinic, Animal Healing, Clare Middle has more than 34 years’ experience with holistic treatments on animals.
Her private consultation clinic in Bibra Lake uses both Chinese and Western herbs, as well as kinesiology and acupuncture, to treat a variety of pets.
Dr Middle first noticed the benefits of homeopathy with her children, who both had health problems doctors were unable to fix.
“I thought, ‘why aren’t we using this on animals?'” she said.
Holistic treatment and medication is not used for critical situations, but rather for chronic conditions.
“You need conventional medicine for emergencies, but it’s not good for chronic and ongoing problems,” she said.
“There’s over 30 countries that use homeopathy successfully and it’s really cheap, while conventional methods cost the health system so much money.”
Dr Middle prides herself on being highly informed on information surrounding veterinarian procedures.
“I’m very scientific, probably more so than some conventional vets,” she said.
“Eighty per cent of what I treat works well in cases conventional medicine[s] weren’t able to fix.
“It’s only criticised by people who don’t understand it.
“It’s definitely fear.”
According to the Canberra-based Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, benefits from unconventional medicinal treatments must be proven through scientific studies to be approved.
“As far as we’re concerned we don’t have a view one way or the other,” APVMA spokesperson Virginia Stanhope said.
“It’s just if people make claims about something being effective for the treatment of an illness or a disease, it has to be able to be backed up by scientific evidence.”
In the past, the APVMA has fined organisations that have not complied with its standards.
According to an APVMA media release, in December 2014, Perth based company Holistic Animal Medicines Pty Ltd was convicted of five offences under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code (WA) and fined $17,000. The offences related to the company selling unregistered and potentially dangerous veterinary products.
When asked for comment on holistic treatments, RSPCA Australia took a cautious approach.
“Unless and until there is clear evidence that homeopathic treatments work, the RSPCA does not advocate their use in place of, or in combination with conventional treatments,” an RSPCA spokesperson said.
“Conventional treatments must not be withheld from animals that are unwell and in need of treatment.”
Dr Kathy Cornack from Newcastle Holistic Veterinary Services specialises in acupuncture and physical therapy.
While not an exclusively homeopathic veterinarian, she strongly supports the alternative practices.
“Mainstream medicine, as good as it is, doesn’t have all of the answers,” the New South Wales-based veterinarian said.