Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Holistic alternative to achieve animal wellness

As humans, we strive for more than just freedom from physical limitations, pain, or disease; we seek Wellness, within ourselves and all of that around us. True Wellness is a state of life in which the totality of genetic expression is a living reality. This natural state is the birth right of all life on earth. Nurtured from within and supported from outside the confines of the physical body, life is viewed as a full and rich tapestry on many levels. The absence of disease is a by-product of this natural state.

Why is the health and longevity of a pet so important?
In our fast paced world of technology and commerce, we can lose touch with our more nature oriented aspects and the natural environment around us. Few links to this natural world remain. The very fortunate few of us with gardens that bear fruit still can experience a link to a less technological time. The only way greater numbers of us who live in concrete, urban environments can still share in a joy experienced by all cultures of humankind since the dawn of history is through the bonding with a companion animal. These pets allow us to go beyond the constraints of our own immediate human situation and into a larger, older, more harmonious world view. The very act of nurturing and caring for these four legged friends and, in return receiving their unconditional devotion, brings us closer to our natural roots in this world and allows us to experience our humanity from a place of greater emotional well being.

Why do we believe holistic approaches to animal care are so important?
Since these methods address the whole organism and support the body’s own abilities to heal it, many holistic methods focus on prevention and cure of disease, not just treatment. Proper nutrition is the foundation upon which many holistic practices build our pet's (and our own) quality of life and Wellness. Poor nutrition is one of the major contributors to our pet's lower life expectancy. By feeding our pets most commercially available pet foods, we are unintentionally depriving these animals of important nutrients needed for sustaining the states of greater Wellness that their genetic material encodes. By standard of modern Western medical science our bodies are bio mechanical parts, which are either repairable or replaceable. Non holistic medical and veterinary practitioners address illness in the same way; a disease means a body part is malfunctioning or has been invaded by some outside agent. One either repairs or removes that body part through surgery, or supports it with chemicals or substances from the outside. Identifying a malfunctioning part often requires expensive laboratory testing; a major part of most physical examinations. Laboratory workups support medical diagnoses with “scientific fact”; which in turn confirms the malfunctioning body parts and outside agents. This is the non holistic medical model of disease.Growing numbers of people, though, are seeking alternatives to this medical model. They want more encompassing methods not just for themselves but also for their companion animals. Instead of viewing a living body as a flesh covered skeleton composed of individual “bio- mechanical parts”, holistic methods approach living organisms as constellations of “biological” systems; each self contained and self defined, yet all seamlessly woven into an organic tapestry that is constantly unfolding over time through the expression of “Universal Being”. More inclusive forms of treatment address the whole organism; not just the sum of the organic parts. Holistic treatments do not isolate, control, or eliminate individual symptoms; they assist the whole body in regaining “Wellness” and a higher state of balance. Few people suggest that holistic approaches should totally replace medical and veterinary science especially in the case of accident or acute illness. However, many alternative methods achieve significant results without the need for surgical intervention or long-term drug therapy. As lovers of companion animals, we want to take an active role in the care of our pets. We must assume responsibility for their quality of life and their “Wellness.” Statistics show that the average life expectancies of companion animals have rapidly dropped in the last 40 years despite improvements in the medical model, veterinary diagnosis, and treatment modalities. Poor nutrition, inbred genetic defects, and over vaccination have led to an epidemic of allergic reactions that challenge our pets’ bodily defenses. Their shortened lives are further complicated by symptoms ranging from skin rashes to epilepsy, kidney and liver ailments as well as other chronic disease processes. Our pets have grown hypersensitive to many common environmental allergens their ancestors casually threw off. Our companion animals provide us with an important reminder of our link to this totality. The closeness we feel toward our animal friends reinforces our view of them as full family members and life companions. We see ourselves in them and are reminded of our greater nature. Our companion animals live in a natural state of oneness no matter what “illness” they may have. In their reflection of a natural earthly rhythm, we are reminded intellectually and emotionally that all is well in life’s ever diversifying flow. Our gain from their unconditional acceptance of us is transformed into our wanting Wellness for them and ourselves.

Contributed by Dr. William Pollack, DVM

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