Frequently Asked Questions
What is holistic medicine?
Holistic medicine addresses the whole pet and its environment. It looks at all the symptoms- mental, emotional, and physical- as being related. The pet’s diet, environment, vaccination history, any other influences, and entire health history are considered important in a holistic evaluation.
Is “holistic” the same as “natural” medicine?
In general, holistic therapies tend to be natural therapies that work with the body to heal itself. Holistic practitioners tend to favor natural, safe therapies in their practices; and as long as natural therapies address the whole patient and its environment, they are considered holistic.
Are there different holistic therapies?
Yes. Homeopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and nutritional counseling are four of the main therapies we offer at WAH. To complement our healing abilities, we also use laser therapy, microbiome restorative therapy (fecal transplants), ozone therapy, and leech therapy.
How does “holistic” differ from “homeopathy”?
Homeopathy is a type of holistic therapy. Like all holistic therapies, homeopathy addresses the pet’s mental, emotional, and physical signs and strongly considers the pet’s environment and all other influences on its health. However, homeopathy is a specific medical system that applies the principle of “like cures like” and uses specially prepared medicines to treat patients. At WAH, all homeopathy consultations are done by Dr. Epstein and are one hour and 15 minutes long.
How do I know if I want a “holistic” consult or a “homeopathy” consult?
First, check out our Holistic section of our website to see all of our holistic options and to read more details about homeopathy.
If you are still unsure, you can schedule a phone consult with Dr. Epstein to discuss your options. She will not be able to diagnose or prescribe during a phone consult.
Or, you can schedule a 50-minute “holistic” consultation with Dr. Epstein. During this visit, she will review your pet’s medical and surgical history including all the treatments that have been done to date; discuss your pet’s diet and possibly recommend supplements; and then guide you to the therapeutic modality that she feels would best benefit your pet. If she feels your pet is a candidate for homeopathic treatment, a separate one hour and 15 minute appointment would be scheduled for a homeopathy consult.
What can Dr. Epstein treat with homeopathy?
A few of the most common conditions that Dr. Epstein treats include gastrointestinal (diarrhea and vomiting, both acute and chronic, and inflammatory bowel disease), feline asthma, coughing, allergic skin disease, seizure disorders, vaccine reactions, and behavioral problems like fears and certain aggressive behaviors. Less commonly, she treats conditions like congestive heart failure, cancers before they have metastasized (spread), nasal aspergillosis, congenital liver conditions, and certain endocrine (hormonal) conditions. If you are not sure if your dog or cat would be a good candidate for homeopathy, we highly recommend that you schedule a phone consult to discuss you pet’s condition and see if Dr. Epstein feels that homeopathy is appropriate.
How are homeopathy appointments are different from our “regular” conventional appointments?
First of all, they are much longer. Secondly, while a complete history is taken and a physical exam is performed, much more time is devoted to asking you questions that will enable Dr. Epstein to find what is “unique” in your pet. The goal is to find one homeopathic medicine that fits all of your pet’s problems. To this end, Dr. Epstein will work on special computer software to research the best medicine for your pet. She may do more work at home and contact you within a few days with the prescription information.
Are follow-up appointments needed?
Yes. If your pet is doing well, Dr. Epstein may want to see your pet (and run labwork or check other physical parameters if indicated). In some cases, if you are coming from a long distance, Dr. Epstein might do a follow-up by a phone consult and if needed, have you return to your regular veterinarian for labwork.
If your pet has only partially improved, has shown no improvement, or has developed new signs, Dr. Epstein will need to work on a new prescription. Again, if you are coming from a long distance, this follow-up can often be done by a phone consult.
What are some of the reasons I need to sign a consent form for a homeopathy consult?
Since homeopathy consults are different from conventional ones, we want to make sure you understand these differences.
To start with, your pet will be receiving a non-conventional therapy. While many conventional therapies in veterinary medicine lack excellent evidence, clinical trials in veterinary homeopathy are even more sparse. Legally we have to make sure you understand this.
Some cases that are scheduled homeopathy appointments actually might benefit from other holistic therapies or may need further conventional workups. We want you to know that this is a possibility.
And our consent form includes a fee schedule unique to homeopathy patients. Let’s say your pet that was treated for diarrhea is now showing some signs and you wonder if these are related to the homeopathic medicine or some event that recently occurred in your pet’s life. If you email, fax, or have a phone consult, there is a fee for Dr. Epstein’s time. Since each pet is unique when it comes to homeopathy, Dr. Epstein takes time to read through all of her notes (which are typically quite extensive on each case), gather the new information from you, ask you questions to get even more information that is important for a homeopathic prescription, and then work on a new prescription if indicated.
If my pet is treated homeopathically, will I have to stop his current medications?
Every case is different. With most pets, after Dr. Epstein takes the whole case and determines a homeopathic medicine, she will decide which of the conventional medications your pet can stop immediately, which need to be gradually discontinued, and which need to be continued until the pet shows improvement on the homeopathic medicine. For example, dogs and cats with seizure disorders should continue to receive their anti-convulsants until there is clear evidence that the homeopathic medicine is helping the pet.
Can my pet resume conventional therapy if s/he is not responding to homeopathic treatment?
Of course! Our goal is to improve your pet’s quality of life. Successful homeopathic treatment can remove signs, increase your pet’s wellbeing, and make your pet healthier without the continued use of medication. When these goals are not achieved, your pet may need conventional treatments or other forms of natural therapies (like acupuncture, herbs, etc.) to enjoy a good quality of life. Our team of integrative veterinarians is ready to help your pet in whatever way is needed.