|Herbs and Spices
* Herbalists are sometimes under-educated or graduated at the bottom of their class. It is easier to understand an herbal, all-inclusive panacea than to understand complex endocrinological disorders and their modes of therapy. Ask your practitioner.
* Accupuncturists sometimes supplement their care with unrecorded cortisone injections.
* Cryptic record keeping and lack of standardization can make herbal and holistic therapy difficult to prosecute if your animal perishes.
* Herbal and accupuncture therapies can be very lucrative, and lack of standardization makes malpractice claims pretty much impossible to pursue.
* Herbal practitioners are discovering that laboratory invoicing is a lucrative way to start a case, even if terminal, and starting herbs and spices can delay the decision to euthanize.
* Some treatments do work for epilepsy, skin and coat disorders, and other diseases. Not enough to support a whole practice, however. Questionable therapies can help make up the deficiency.
To the question of whether I would ever refer to a Veterinary chiropractor or herbalist.
I should preface my response with the information that my grandfather was an immensely successful homeopathic human-practitioner. When they cleaned out his office upon his death, they removed hundreds of different
herbal remedies which he had collected for his patients from all over the world. I should also tell you that I was in school with several chiropractic hopefuls and that I am personal friends with several practicing human chiropracters. Also, to their credit, I saw a group of Chinese veterinarians perform a Caeserian section on a sow with nothing but tiny accupuncture needles for restraint.
To the question of whether I would ever refer to a Veterinary chiropractor or herbalist, the answer is "That depends".
First, those doctors that performed that Caeserian section had been in training and apprenticeship programs concerning accupuncture for the majority of their educational lives. The major text they studied was in two volumes and amounted to thousands upon thousands of [sometimes lithographs of ancient, handwritten] pages. Once adequately versed in this weighty tome, they were apprenticed for years before practicing on their own. The point of this commentary is to cause consideration of the fact that a weekend work-shop in Las Vegas with a 20 page handout does not even come close to preparing a practitioner with what he or she would need to hang an accupuncture or homeopathic shingle above their door. Indeed, what can be gleaned from even a year's training would amount to a conventional practice with knowledge of only one antibiotic, one species of cortisone, or only one anesthetic agent.
My educational experience with the aforementioned chiropractic hopefuls was rich. All of these fellows were very excited about the money. That's mostly what they discussed, the money. They talked at length about lucrative locations for their practices and how much money they were going to make. Before their admittance to Chiropractic School [Life Chiropractic College in Marietta Georgia] they had each had a mere two years of undergraduate education, and in three years, they would be "doctors" making human healthcare decisions. Perhaps offering an alternate modality treatment for a cancer or other endocrine condition which they did not even understand. But, for the sake of their lifelong dreams, I hope the money was good for them.
I have a good personal friend who is a human chiropractor who adjusts dogs and cats and who does not even know what infectious diseases they are susceptible to. I once treated a case of septic arthritis in an eight year old Irish Setter that had been un-successfully adjusted during the two weeks
prior by a human chiropractor in Marietta Georgia. After three weeks of antibiotics and drainage of the joint in my office, it looked alot better (despite a decrease in the ROM), and the owner exclaimed "See? Chiropractic really does work!"
My grandfather delivered babies, treated the common cold, and sutured minor wounds and lacerations for his human patients until his untimely death in 1967. He used homeopathic and herbal remedies whenever possible but he was quick to refer to the hospital when something serious was going on, or when he felt that a conventional antibiotic was indicated. One reason that he could do this was that he practiced in a professional way, and maintained records with sufficient clarity that the hospital clinician could assume the case without query.
Regrettably, some of today's herbalists are more closely associated with the Horoscope than with any Hospital. Over-promising, and truly shameless treatments with poor outcomes being offered to terminal cases (FELV/FIV) are all-too-often seen. One doctor here in Georgia does a booming business in herbal and "therapeutic touch"-Feline Leukemia treatments which amount to hundreds upon hundreds of dollars; but eventually very disgruntled clients. In many cases, selling the placebo effect and removing the helpless feeling suffered by owners can be lucrative, and perhaps, for the client, just being able to do something for a dying but beloved pet makes it all worthwhile in the end.
I have been the employer of several technicians who assisted a reknowned local animal accupuncturist. They always marvelled at how this clinician would "do the burning pins" and then rush the pet around the corner to a
small exam area and administer intrarticular, intra-muscular, but usually pin-tract Depo Medrol. I asked how many cases did NOT get cortisone as a supplement to the accupuncture "show" and the response was "almost none."
By the same token, I have been exposed to a real-vet named Spencer Newman. He's been doing animal chiropractic and accupuncture for literally, decades. He's good at it. And his patients drag themselves in, and often walk out. So I know it works. I just think it's too often overpromised and underpracticed.
Only referring to the worst examples of alternative-medicine specialists: I personally think that those Veterinary Accupuncturists and Chiropractics should be left entirely alone and de-regulated. I think that their results speak for themselves and if left un-impeded, they will shatter enough people's hopes with false encouragement, bizarre behavior and substantial bills that they will extinguish themselves.
I sometimes think that these practitioners are missing the boat by not offering concurrent palm-readings and Zodiac counseling along with their rendered treatments. What better way to predict the outcome of an herbal remedy than to read the cat's life-line, or sprinkle some tea leaves in a cup? How about some cute animal-themed Tarot cards?