Here’s an interview I recently gave for the ERC Newsletter.
ERC:What is natural pet care?
Dr. Shawn:Natural care focuses on health. My patients stay healthy by eating the proper natural diet, not receiving vaccines on a regular basis (most pets do not need vaccines except for a few times in their lives,) and receiving few medications when they are sick. Typical natural therapies we utilize include acupuncture, laser, homeopathy, herbs, and nutritional supplements. These treatments are usually safer and more effective than most conventional therapies.
ERC:Why do pet parents choose natural care?
Most if not all of my clients are already living a healthier lifestyle themselves, eating organically, exercising, and treating themselves without a lot of medications. It’s only natural they would choose the same path for their pets.
ERC:What are the goals of a natural pet care program?
Dr. Shawn:We have several goals for our patients. First, we focus on health rather than disease. Second, in dealing with a sick pet, we focus on healing the pet rather than simply treating an illness. Third, as much as possible, we say “No” to drugs (I’ve discovered in many cases that the medication is often compounding the problem and making the pet sicker than the disease.) Fourth, we focus on cost effectiveness, appreciating that it costs less to stay healthy than to treat illness. And five, my favorite goal, is to help those patients considered hopeless by other veterinarians, by offering these special patients “hope for the hopeless.”
ERC:Describe your typical patient.
Dr. Shawn:I actually have 2 types of typical patients. The first category is a pet who is my own regular patient, a pet that has been utilizing our plan to stay healthy. These pets are rarely sick and when they do get ill are much less sick than the typical pet not on a natural health plan. Since my patients aren’t exposed to all of the toxins commonly involved in disease (unnecessary annual vaccines, unhealthy food, overuse of toxic flea chemicals, etc.,) they are much healthier than many pets. The second category is the sick pet, suffering from a variety of diseases including cancer, GI disease, allergies and other skin problems, epilepsy, and arthritis. Once we begin natural treatments, most of these pets show dramatic improvement and are able to take much less (and often no) medication!
ERC:Do you have a memorable case you helped with natural therapies?
Dr.Shawn:All of my cases are memorable, and all of my patients are special, but one case comes to mind. I saw a sweet miniature schnauzer with horrible IBD (inflammatory bowel disease.) She had been to several doctors including an internal medicine specialist, treated with numerous medications, and was in really bad shape when I saw her. Her owners told me they already had scheduled euthanasia for her the next day if I wasn’t able to help her. Talk about pressure! Anyway 24 hours later the euthanasia was cancelled because she had shown improvement after our visit using herbs to support her damaged system, as well as a detoxification and immune-boosting regimen. Within a few weeks we had weaned her off of most of her medications and she survived for several more years on supplements and a better diet. While this seems miraculous, this is typical of the kind of response I see when natural therapies are used.
ERC:Finally, what tips do you give pet parents to keep their pets healthy?
Dr. Shawn:I think my most important piece of advice is to minimize toxicity. Say NO to unnecessary use of medications, do not get your pets vaccinated annually (they don’t need it and annual blood titer testing can tell you if and when your pet does need future vaccines,) feed healthy foods devoid of chemicals and byproducts, and use little or no chemical flea products. My patients who follow this advice tend to live much longer, healthier lives than those that get all of the shots and drugs on a regular basis.