Naturopathic treatment for common ailments is not just for people anymore.
Naturopathic veterinarian Dr. Autumn Drouin visited with Balance Television host Dr. Marla Shapiro to talk about natural ways to get your pet up and running again.
Drouin graduated from the University of Guelph in 1977 and practiced conventionally for a while. Later on she graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1989 and combined the two, she explained.
So why, after a dozen years of practicing conventional veterinary medicine, did Drouin decide to incorporate naturopathy in her profession?
"Well, just watching, observing animals and noticing that all I had to do was give them the building blocks, give them what they needed in terms of support and stimulation and they do the healing."
Drouin admits that when she studied naturopathy it was geared toward humans and adaptations had to be made in relation to animals.
"Because the substances are generally very safe, then it's safe to extrapolate," Drouin said. "But not in every case. I have to be very careful with herbs but with homeopathy for example, it's pretty well the same. We use the same remedies."
The major difference between a traditional and naturopathic veterinarian, Drouin said, is that once she's made her diagnosis, she attempts to get at the root cause of the problem in her further assessment.
"Why is it that that animal got something like, let's say hypothyroidism? Why is that thyroid low? Instead of just giving a hormone, if I can find out why and correct that, then that animal could go on to live a life without needing to be dependent on a substance for the rest of its life."
Drouin did admit that she still uses conventional medicine as required, such as antibiotics and other emergency medicine. But she says that 90 per cent of the time she can handle cases with holistic, all-natural remedies.
A proper diet, Drouin said, is essential in helping prevent pet illnesses in the first place.
"Basically we look at diet first and make sure we give good building blocks to the animal. I'm a proponent of home-prepared diets -- there are good commercial diets but if people can actually supplement or make the diet for the animal, I think the animal will do well, much better. They need to be supplemented and they need to be balanced. They do need to do their research or consult a veterinarian but these diets work very well."
Another way to keep your pet healthy is to avoid giving your animal too many chemicals. In Drouin's opinion, vaccinations are over-given. For example, she said, shots could be given every three years instead of every year, thus limiting the strain on the animal's immune system.
Drouin brought an array of natural products that she recommends to her clients. Many were simply general products for general health, such as vitamins and supplements. Others were for intestinal health, joint health and trauma.
She noted that you have to be careful with dosages -- which are different for animals and humans -- and with herbal remedies, some of which are toxic to animals.
For more about Dr. Autumn Drouin and naturopathic veterinary medicine, visit her website at www.drautumn.net.