Thinking about trying holistic medicine for your cat? Are you unsure who to consult or when its appropriate? This guide to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) will help you understand the benefits and potential pitfalls of various complementary therapies.
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Visit your veterinarian and get a diagnosis. You’ll need to know the cause of your cats ailment before you can make an informed decision about proper treatment. If your veterinarian feels unqualified to discuss holistic medicine with you, ask for a referral to another trusted professional. If you prefer to search on your own for a holistic care provider, the attached Quick Reference Guide will help you feel more prepared as you wade through the choices.
Make sure the person who treats your cat does so safely, legally and effectively. Most state laws prohibit non-veterinarians from treating cats without veterinarian supervision, which protects you and your pet from unqualified practitioners. States vary in the level of supervision required. Contact the State Board of Veterinary Examiners or look for the Veterinary Practice Act on your states website for more information specific to your location.
KNOW WHEN TO FINISH
After finding a provider, ask for a clear set of goals and endpoints. Find out which problems will likely respond to treatment and ask specific questions about the treatment. For example, if you want herbal remedies, ask how the herbs work and whether or not research shows that they are safe for cats. Ask the herbalist which other herbs, drugs and foods might interact with the product and what signs may indicate an adverse reaction to it. Ask how long the treatment regimen will take and when to expect seeing results. If you are unsatisfied with the answers or lack of them, get a second opinion from another practitioner.
**For the full article and a complete reference guide to CAM, pick up the July issue of CAT FANCY**