Research and Education

Some people think there is plenty of research in holistic medicine. While there are a lot of research articles, there are big areas that have no research at all, especially in veterinary medicine. Even if something has been well-researched for humans, it does not mean that it will work the same in animals. And conventional veterinarians are not willing to take the risk if there are no studies in dogs and cats. Most of the time if you hear the term "animal studies," it means mice and rats, not dogs and cats. So lots of animal studies does not mean those studies will be useful.

Without research, many veterinarians do not believe integrative holistic medicine will work.

Some believe it will do one thing but should not be used to treat something else. We support humane research, especially clinical research, that shows the effectiveness of holistic treatments. That way more veterinarians will use them or refer to other veterinarians who do. By "humane" we mean we only support research that treats animals with naturally occurring disease. We never condone research that causes a disease in an animal in order to study it. "Clinical research" is done to show whether a treatment works, and how well it works.

Even within the holistic community there are people who do not believe a treatment will work for certain problems, or who think that certain treatments should only be done in certain ways. If we find others who have success using holistic medicine in a different way, then research may be the only way to show that we all can use it in the same way, with the same results.

Once the research is done, then we need to tell other veterinarians about it. Surveys show that incoming veterinary students are interested in finding professional school programs that contain currricula involving CAVM and integrative veterinary therapies. The public favors such programs as was recently demonstrated in our ten day campaign that netted over $480,000 in contributions dedicated to this purpose. A 2011 paper by Memon and Sprunger showed that the deans of veterinary schools in the United States favored including such courses but wanted them to be evidence-based and needed assistance with funding and research to develop the programs.That means supporting education of veterinary students and veterinarians. AHVMF does not put on meetings or webinars, so we support veterinary schools who are teaching their students about it.

If you share our passion to have integrative holistic medicine available to more pets from more veterinarians, help us support research and education to show veterinarians exactly how to use it.