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Cat Integrative Medicine - How Integrative Medicine May Benefit Your Cat

What's the difference between holistic and integrative medical approaches to cat care?

So, a holistic medication or holistic medicine or a holistic approach will be more based on alternative care use. So, we're using maybe some herbal medicines, tinctures, or other things that we wouldn't necessarily consider our everyday pharmaceutical. Integrative care is where you take a little bit of the holistic side and a little bit of the Western medical side and mix those to get a better treatment outcome.


Dr. Mitch McKee
Cupola Animal Hospitals - Berry Farms Animal Hospital

What treatment modalities are considered integrative veterinary care?

Well, integrative veterinary care can mean a lot of things. We can consider acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, nutraceuticals, herbal medications, and more—the list can be rather long. There are some aromatherapies that we use fairly often, such as massage therapies or other techniques to help relax muscles and soften tight tissues. There are fantastic energy therapies that other people may be familiar with. But if we can take those modalities and use maybe one or more of those and even combine them with some of our best Western approaches, then we like to call that integrative veterinary care.

What are some illnesses in cats that respond well to an integrative approach to medicine?

So, the most common illnesses that seem to respond well to integrative approaches are bone and joint disorders—mainly arthritis, kidney disease, skin issues, GI problems, and behavioral issues.

Are there any cat health conditions where an integrative approach would not be recommended?

There's nothing that I can think of other than do we have to rule out some potential aspects of it to some degree and ask where it would be potentially harmful to what the condition is. So, for example, we don't want to use any herbal medication or alternative treatment that could harm the cat's kidneys if they had kidney problems. So it depends upon the individual and what the problem is we're dealing with.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of cat integrative medicine?

Typically, the benefit of integrative medicine is you get a better treatment outcome. If you can combine the best of both approaches, they can work synergistically to give you the best outcome that we're trying to get. The downside could be that you have to have a cooperative patient in many of these types of treatments. Some cats are excellent about getting these therapies; others are not. It may be that the cat decides what we're able to use and what we're not.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (615) 224-7776, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

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