I recently blogged about how skeptical veterinarians do not approve of using natural therapies that they consider “unproven.” According to the skeptics, unless the therapy has been proven to work through numerous rigidly controlled scientific studies, they would be considered “alternative and unproven therapies” that should not be used in the practice of medicine. (Of course if we held all veterinarians and doctors to this standard, we would have to stop using many of our conventional drugs as well, but that’s a topic for another blog!)
To sum up the feelings put forward by skeptical doctors, “only proven therapies should ever be used in the practice of medicine.”
What are we to do then, with patients who are not improving despite using these proven, conventional therapies? Imagine the following scenario.
Pet Owner-“Dr. Shawn, you’re our last hope. Our conventional veterinarian has given up on our pet, saying there is nothing more he can do for our beloved pet. Because all of his conventional therapies have failed, he is recommending euthanasia. Is there anything you can do to help us!?”
In a situation like this I have one of two possible responses.
Response 1-“I’m sorry Mrs. Smith, there’s nothing I can do for your pet. I have a lot of therapies that I can use to help your pet get better, but because they haven’t been proven through numerous rigidly controlled scientific studies, I don’t feel comfortable using them on your pet. Therefore I recommend you keep your appointment for euthanasia tomorrow and prepare to end your pet’s life.”
Response 2-“I’m sorry that you’re in this situation. While your conventional doctor did a good job, and he’s correct that there are no conventional therapies that can help your pet, I believe I can help your pet. I have a number of therapies that I’ve used on thousands of pets just like yours, and I’m confident we can improve your pet’s health and possibly even save her life. If you’re willing to try, let’s move forward and do everything we can for your pet.”
I don’t know about you, but my clients choose Response 2, and when they see the positive results in their pets, they’re very happy they came to my office and were open to using a different approach to healing.
Every day in my office I see pet owners who tell me the following story.
“Dr. Shawn, please don’t tell our regular veterinarian we’re here. He is very close- minded to using natural therapies and has told us that were never allowed back in his practice if we come to you for help. We’re desperate since he can’t help our pet and will do anything you think can offer us some hope, but please keep this visit secret.”
How tragic! It’s sad to think that a doctor is so closed-minded that he will let a pet die rather than refer that patient to someone who might be able to help.
While skeptical veterinarians and doctors seem overly concerned about controlled studies and scientific proof, discounting the value of years of clinical experience, pet owners are not so worried about these sorts of things. I’ve never had an owner yet ask me how many controlled studies were done for a therapy I prescribed for her pet. The only thing I’m frequently asked is whether or not, based upon my clinical experience with this particular disease, I think that my prescribed therapies would help the pet. When I’m able to offer some positive reassurance to the pet owner that my prescribed therapies have helped thousands of pets with a similar condition, nothing else matters to myself, the owner, or the pet.
I’m still bewildered by the fact that many conventional veterinarians choose euthanasia as a solution for failure of their conventional treatments, rather than simply opening their minds to the healing power that exists when using clinically proven, time-honored natural therapies. My hope is that more owners will continue to seek doctors, for themselves and their pets, who are open-minded to doing what is in the best interest of the patient regardless of which therapy ultimately proves successful, or which one has been “proven” to work by artificially designed controlled studies.
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