Overview of Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine
2002 SAVMA Symposium
Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM

The popularity of complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) continues to soar, and clients who want to heal their animals “naturally” can do so by seeking treatment and products with or without veterinarian involvement. Veterinary practitioners need to become familiar with CAVM treatments so that they can offer sound guidance and appropriate referrals for clients that are pursuing this pathway for their animals. This overview discussion will include descriptions of several CAVM modalities, and cover questions that surround this relatively new discipline in veterinary medicine, such as:

What is Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine?

CAVM approaches include acupuncture, veterinary manual therapy, homeopathy, botanical medicine, massage, flower essence therapy, and more. The term “complementary” connotes that these modalities work well in conjunction with conventional treatments, while the term “alternative” suggests that a given approach may be used instead of a standard treatment.

Is it legal for non-veterinarians to practice CAVM?

Several issues surround this topic, and state practice acts can vary on who is eligible to provide CAVM treatments to animals.

What training opportunities exist for individuals who are interested in providing CAVM techniques to animals?

Veterinarians have a wide range of educational opportunities that will be discussed.

I have heard that there is no scientific evidence supporting CAVM. Is this true?

Abundant scientific evidence exists for several CAVM modalities, but more studies are certainly needed to explore the application of CAVM in non-human species. Research evidence will be presented.

Are herbs safe? What about homeopathic medicines?

It is important to understand the difference between herbal medicine and homeopathic medicine. This lecture will cover issues relating to the safety, efficacy, and dosing of herbal and homeopathic treatments for veterinary patients.

Do you need to use a lot of force to manipulate a horse using chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation?

While properly executed manipulative therapy can substantially benefit animals in need, it is unnecessary and dangerous to apply heavy-handed, forceful manipulation to animals in order to “adjust” them, no matter what size they are. Learn how manual therapy (including chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation) works from a scientific standpoint and what conditions may warrant referral for manual therapy.

Speaker Information
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Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM

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