Holistic Veterinarian, Louisville Kentucky - Countryside Animal Hospital - Dr. Thomas Rainey (2023)

We all want the best veterinary care for our furry loved ones, and living in Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding areas presents various challenges to that aim. From Kentucky’s natural tendency towards especially harsh tick seasons to the state’s strict laws on dog bites, and from last year’s dog flu outbreak right here in Louisville, Kentucky to increasing cases of heartworm from Kentucky’s many mosquito-dense geographic areas, pet owners in this area have to be especially aware of their pet’s needs, both health-wise and behaviorally.

This is where the Countryside Animal Hospital comes in. Countryside Animal Hospital, conveniently located just outside of Louisville, Kentucky at 2410 N. Highway 53 La Grange, KY 40031, is the leading practice in holistic veterinary care. Holistic veterinary care is a revolutionary approach to tending to the health and well-being of our pets, a methodology that is earning strong support and approval all across the nation.

If you’re interested in garnering the best healthcare for your pet possible, or if you’re hoping to transition your pet over to a type of care that is effective, less invasive, and which offers better results with fewer side-effects, holistic veterinary care might just be the right approach for your pet.

What is Holistic Veterinary Care?

The main focus of holistic veterinary care is to focus less on drug-based intervention techniques and to instead transition towards less-invasive, more natural approaches. Taking a holistic stance means using natural remedies, physical therapy, a more extensive approach to diet and exercise, and a whole plethora of other tools. For a lot of people, this method is preferred over a traditional one, because a lot of people feel (and correctly too) that their pets’ health should be addressed as close to how nature would intend it as possible.

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association is the organization responsible for monitoring, approving, regulating, and assisting in the innovation, ethical use, and application of holistic veterinary medicine. Their mission statement is:

“To advance and educate in the science and art of holistic veterinary medicine.”


“To do all things necessary and desirable to further high standards in the care and the treatment of animals and continuing education of doctors of veterinary medicine.”

While still considered a “new” science, the holistic approach to veterinary medicine has been growing. The American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association now has over one thousand members and is a recognized affiliate with the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates. Holistic veterinary care has been in use in the United States since 1982, and recent years have seen a strong increase in interest amongst the American people in utilizing holistic veterinary care for their pets.

How a Holistic Approach Benefits Your Pet

The benefits of holistic veterinary care go far and wide. The entire principle here is to manage your pet’s health as best as possible, with the most natural means possible, all while being the least invasive possible. And the main goal of holistic veterinary care is to do all of this while addressing the pet’s body as an entire, functioning unit, not only just addressing the individual areas of the pet’s body that are not functioning well.

Holistic treatments focus quite a bit on mental health, on using alternative, stress-free practices to make pets more comfortable and more at ease. Much of a pet’s physical condition can stem from a mental condition, so utilizing non-invasive, less painful techniques in a more natural, comfortable setting are a boon to dogs, cats, and all pets for that matter.

Holistic veterinary practice creates less risk for error too, as there is less invasion on the pet, to begin with. Caring for a pet in and around Louisville, Kentucky can get expensive when we consider all that we must do to take care of our pets and to keep them healthy and in shape considering their environment. But when something goes wrong in a surgery, that makes the circumstances even worse for us. Louisville residents should consider a more holistic approach, not only for better end-results but for a more affordable and less unpleasant experience for both owner and pet.

Healing Pets, The Right Way

As we touched on in the above section, the goal of holistic veterinary practice is to heal pets by approaching the entire pet’s body, not just the part of it that is not doing so well. When holistic veterinarians heal pets, they focus on the pet’s entire body, on improving the entire body as a whole, so the body can use its own, natural defenses and systems to address any of its ailments.

Have you ever noticed how pets (and people for that matter) tend to have more than one ailment or none at all? This is because a healthy body begets a healthy body, but an ailment begets, well, more ailments. The theory behind holistic science and why it is considered the “Right Way” to heal pets is because this approach endeavors to heal the pet’s entire body. Holistic veterinary medicine does focus on key points of the pet’s health, yes, but the goal is to improve the overall health of the pet, therefore healing specific health conditions and giving the pet a better quality of living as a result.

Countryside Veterinary Hospital is Here to Help

At Countryside Veterinary Hospital, we are here to help with our extensive and well-versed knowledge of holistic veterinary medicine. We believe strongly that:

  • Our holistic practices are the best way to heal pets for the most effective end result possible.
  • Our methods are also the most conducive to better mental conditions amongst our furry friends.
  • Our health approaches are clean, comfortable, low-impact, non-invasive, and even soothing and pleasant for our pet patients.

In the following pages, we’ll go into more detail about holistic veterinary medicine, some of the history behind it, some of the techniques about it that we really admire, how holistic care is different from traditional approaches, why holistic treatments are more beneficial in the Louisville, Kentucky area, why veterinary acupuncture is now the leading holistic treatment for pets, etc. Or, if you’d like to contact our office and schedule an in-person consultation right away, you can call us at (502) 222-4663. You can also come by for a visit and get a tour of our comfortable and pleasant facilities at 2410 N. Highway 53 La Grange, KY 40031. Hoping to see you (and you’re furry loved one) soon!

The Theory Behind Holistic Veterinary Medicine

The theory behind holistic veterinary medicine is simple enough, and it aligns closely with the theory behind holistic medicine for humans too. The theory is that, as animals come from nature, we should attempt to utilize natural approaches in healing them whenever we can. Holistic veterinary medicine utilizes some scientific developments within the holistic approach, such as in naturally synthesized essential oils, physical therapy, but all of these approaches have holistic and natural philosophies at their backbone.

In the following four subsections we’re going to dive in on holistic veterinary medicine, why it got started, the goal behind it, what people often ask about it, and why people tend to go the holistic route for their pets. Then we’ll move on and talk a bit about holistic techniques and other factors regarding this fascinating and effective veterinary science.

Why Holistic Veterinary Medicine Got Started

In 1982, a small group of veterinarians got together and formed the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. Their goal was to create a holistic movement in veterinary care in the United States. Dr. Carvel Tiekert was the one to incorporate the group, creating a headquarters in Maryland. The group started with only about thirty-five veterinarians back in 1982, but now the group numbers easily over one-thousand five-hundred veterinarians all in all, complete with annual conferences, dues collection, and a regular, scientific Journal.

But why holistic medicine?

Just as with how many other groups have gotten started, the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association was founded because a handful of veterinarians felt that they could do better by their animal companions. Thirty-five veterinarians knew that something was missing from veterinary science, that there was a missing piece to the puzzle that, if found, would make all the difference in creating a better, safer, and more effective veterinary experience for our animals. The answer to all of those searches was found in holistic veterinary medicine.

The Goal Behind Holistic Care

The primary goal behind holistic veterinary care is to heal a pet as a whole body, not just isolating or focusing on individual body parts. This may yet be the most distinctive difference between holistic care and traditional care, barring all of the actual methods and techniques used, of course.

But in all honesty, this is the key difference. And the same is true for human medicine as well. Traditional medicine that utilizes invasive procedures and pharmaceuticals tends to seek out and address only one aspect of the body and its various conditions. But the major flaw in such medicine is that when one area of the body becomes afflicted with something, the entire body is going to be affected as a result. Consider again the statement made previously about how we rarely see humans or animals with only one medical condition. They either seem to have several conditions or none at all.

The goal behind holistic care is to repair and improve the entire body, and in doing so, to repair the afflictions or conditions that the body happens to be struggling with at that time.

Frequently Asked Questions About Holistic Veterinary Services

Here are some frequently asked, open-ended questions about holistic veterinary care, and our answers to them:

Q. “Do holistic veterinarians also offer vaccinations?”

A. “Typically, yes. Most veterinarians who are licensed as holistic veterinarians will still utilize some methods of traditional medicine, especially those which are required by law (like the rabies vaccination).”

Q. “Do holistic veterinarians recommend heartworm prevention?”

A. “Absolutely. There are currently no holistic methods that can guarantee a mosquito won’t bite your cat or dog, which is how heartworm is transferred to our pets.”

Q. “Do holistic veterinarians recommend more natural diets as opposed to generic pet foods?”

A. “Usually, yes. Every pet needs a diet that is suitable for that pet, however. The beautiful thing about holistic medicine is that we can custom-make a diet for each pet who is brought to us, based off of the needs of that pet. We can recommend preparing foods for pets in a way that is holistic, natural, and simple.”

Q. “Is veterinary acupuncture beneficial for all pets?”

A. “Most likely, yes. Holistic veterinary medicine is a very specific science, and as there are so many avenues that can be explored through holistic medicine, it’s important to examine each pet closely to determine which treatments will be the best for them. But yes, veterinary acupuncture has proven to be effective on hundreds of thousands of pets.”

Making the Decision to Go Holistic

Holistic veterinary medicine is a thirty-six-year-old adaptation of medical avenues that have been present for quite literally thousands of years. A lot of pet owners are seeing the value in going this route, not only because it is effective, but because it is more comfortable for their pets and affords for more peace of mind for their owners as well.

The Best Holistic Veterinary Techniques

As mentioned earlier, there are multiple approaches to holistic veterinary medicine. Veterinary acupuncture is probably the most common one, but it is not the only one, not by a long shot. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll take a quick look at the various approaches to holistic medicine as they are used in veterinary practice.

Natural Remedies for Diagnosis and Treatment of Hard-to-Treat Ailments

Natural remedies for pets are very similar to similar remedies for humans. The science behind this is to stimulate the body’s own natural impulses to heal itself. In veterinary practice, such remedies not only inspire the body of the animal to heal itself, but they do so without producing the harmful side-effects that come with many pharmaceutical approaches.

Physical Therapy for Joint, Muscle, and Spinal Complications

Mankind has already benefited greatly from physical therapy. So much so in fact that physical therapy is now recognized as a legitimate approach to physical health and is even covered by most health insurances including Medicare. So why not physical therapy for animals? Dogs and cats both struggle with arthritis, spinal distress, aching joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, just like we do. Veterinary physical therapy can assist pets by realigning the spine of the pet, effectively reducing pain and solving medical conditions that would have otherwise required expensive pharmaceutical approaches or surgeries to address.

Phytotherapy for Pets – Using Plants Correctly, to Help Pets

Phytotherapy is one of the most common, non-traditional approaches to medicine, an approach that stands at the forefront of holistic medicine. Phytotherapy seeks to use herbal remedies to help pets heal from a health condition or other ailment. Such herbs come from various plants that have distinctive, healing, therapeutic properties. Such herbs are delivered to the pet in various ways, usually through a supplement pill or powder that is mixed in with the pet’s food.

Veterinary Osteopathy for Remedying the Body as a Whole

Veterinary Osteopathy seeks to help pets by addressing the body as an entity, as a whole, and by focusing on that, instead of only focusing on the symptoms of an illness or medical condition, as is the case with traditional medicine. Veterinary Osteopathy seeks to find and diagnose specific problems through the examination, manipulation, and massage of bones, joints, and muscles. Osteopathy differs from physical therapy in that osteopathy tends to treat a broader range of ailments, and osteopathy tends to focus on multiple areas of the pet’s body, whereas physical therapy tends to focus mainly on the spine.

Naturopathy for Curing Common Ailments in Pets

Naturopathy is an entirely unique subsection of holistic veterinary care. Naturopathy seeks to utilize a one-hundred percent natural approach to a pet’s health and wellness. This is likely the purest of the pure in holistic veterinary medicine. This approach is non-invasive, it uses plants, herbal remedies, supplements, aromatherapy, etc. The goal of naturopathy is to switch a pet’s health care over to an entirely natural approach and to keep it there.

Holistic Medicine – a Powerful Boon to Veterinary Care

Clearly, holistic veterinary medicine brings much to the table when it comes to helping pet owners keep their pets living healthy and well. The above five techniques are only a handful of the various remedies and subsections that fall under the heading, “Holistic Veterinary Medicine.” All are beneficial and, when used correctly by a certified holistic veterinarian, can act as a powerful boon (or a complete replacement) for traditional veterinary medicine.

Holistic Care Versus Traditional Veterinary Medicine

People often ask, “Why holistic?” “Why change our veterinary approach from traditional medicine and instead shift over to a holistic route?” The reason why a group of people shifts from one approach to another approach is that they no longer feel good about the first approach, or because they had only been doing the first approach out of necessity, to begin with.

Pet owners switch to holistic care for their pets because they believe that a more natural, more comfortable, less invasive route will be better for their pets. Or they switch because they believe that holistic care will help their pets in ways that traditional veterinary medicine simply cannot.

The Mission Statement of Holistic Veterinary Medicine

The mission statement of holistic veterinary medicine is clearly laid out by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. The mission statement has four precepts:

  • First of all, holistic veterinarians deign to advance and educate the science and art of holistic veterinary medicine.
  • Next, holistic veterinarians promote the health and overall well-being of animals through holistic care.
  • Another precept is that holistic veterinarians do the above, all while making the benefits of holistic care clear to the public.
  • The next precept is that holistic veterinarians are committed, as a group, to explore further modalities and techniques of holistic wellness for animals, all in an effort to create the best, most effective, and least invasive health approaches possible.

And last but not least, holistic veterinarians are committed to acting as the bar-setters of veterinary medicine, and to encourage the continuing education of veterinarians everywhere, holistic and traditional alike.

Holistic Vs. Traditional – The Big Difference

Why are more and more pet owners opting for holistic care for their pets over traditional medicine? The main reason for this comes down to the primary difference between holistic care and traditional care. This can be summed up as easily as:

1). Holistic medicine deigns to focus on the entirety of the animal, including the body and psychological state of the pet as one, cohesive unit.


2). Traditional veterinary medicine seeks to only address the symptoms of an illness or health condition, rather than addressing the entire body and psychological state of the pet as one, cohesive unit.

A lot of times, pet owners will become quite frustrated with traditional veterinary medicine because such approaches never get to the bottom of their pet’s ailment. And usually, the reason for that is because the traditional approach continues to only address certain, specific, key areas of the pet, as opposed to addressing the entire pet’s body and overall wellness as a whole.

Holistic care differs from traditional medicine because it adopts the belief that when one area of the pet’s body or mind is affected, all other areas are also affected. Therefore, the only way to overcome such medical hardships will involve addressing the affected area while also addressing the pet’s body as a whole.

Results Obtained from Holistic Practice

A pet with hip dysplasia could easily be helped with holistic methods. A holistic veterinarian could utilize nutritional remedies, acupuncture, an exercise regimen, and therapeutic techniques for emotional soothing. Because holistic techniques are not invasive or heavily impacting, the veterinarian is able to utilize multiple approaches at once, effectively addressing the entire pet’s body as a whole and the pet’s mental state in tandem. In this way, not only does the pet’s hip dysplasia recede, but the overall health and wellness of the pet also improves as a result.

The results obtained in this scenario are quite different from what would have been obtained had the pet been taken to a traditional medicine veterinarian. In that scenario, the pet would have likely undergone some form of surgery, which would have been followed by a good amount of physical therapy and follow-up medications for pain. Such an invasive procedure always creates extensive risks for the pet, especially in voluntary surgeries like in this case. Furthermore, because the pet’s entire body and overall wellness were not being addressed, other areas of the pet’s health may suffer from such an invasive procedure, creating other health conditions that will also need to be addressed.

These paragraphs are not meant to denounce or defame surgery in traditional veterinary practice. Such procedures absolutely have their place and their value under certain circumstances. But more often than not, a holistic approach to our pets’ health would be more than sufficient and far safer for our pets in the long run.

Veterinary Acupuncture – Bringing Thousands of Years of Chinese Medicine to Our Pets

Veterinary acupuncture is probably one of the most common and well-liked approaches to holistic veterinary medicine. Veterinary acupuncture is quite popular and used frequently in Louisville, Kentucky as well as across the country. We’ll take some time in the following sections to define veterinary acupuncture and explore how this ancient method of Chinese holistic medicine can work wonders on our beloved, furry companions.

Veterinary Acupuncture Defined

The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society defines veterinary acupuncture as:

“The insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response.”

Veterinary acupuncture uses these needles to stimulate certain acupuncture points that reside at certain locations on the body. So stimulated, these points then serve to open up the flow of energy through the body. Once the flow of energy is able to resume across all areas of the body, the body can heal itself naturally by providing energy, proper blood flow, and nutrition to the area that had been previously unreachable due to blocked energy pathways.

Veterinary acupuncture is most commonly used to address physical pain problems and debilitating muscle or joint conditions, such as osteoarthritis or musculoskeletal pain. Acupuncture stimulates nerves, relieves muscle spasms, caused necessary hormone releases, increases blood circulation, boosts endorphins, increases cortisol, and offers a host of other, positive effects. All of these effects are conducive to relieving and even curing osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal conditions.

Ancient Chinese Medicine – Where it All Began

Acupuncture is one of the oldest approaches to medicine that there is. Acupuncture originated from Ancient China, the Daoist Era, dating all the way back to 6000 B.C. Throughout the history of China, references to acupuncture and information about its processes have been found by archaeologists examining ancient Chinese ruins.

The “Nei Jing” which is also called the “Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine” is a book written on all of the forms of Chinese medicine at that time, including significant information on acupuncture. The book is almost two-thousand, five-hundred years old.

Those who doubt acupuncture and its benefits wonder about the scientific provability of this method. Some seem to think that because acupuncture was invented in a time period where there was no technology that could prove that acupuncture works, that there was no way to actually know if it did work.

But modern science has brought us the proof through MRI scans and consistent scientific analysis of patients before and after acupuncture. With MRI scanning, we have been able to examine the “acupoints” which are the points along the flow of energy (also called meridians) where acupuncture needles are placed. MRI scanning can show increased activity at such acupoints after the use of acupuncture needles, as well as increased blood flow, better nerve traffic, better white blood cell movement, etc.

The Benefits of Veterinary Acupuncture

Pet owners in Louisville, Kentucky and the surrounding areas will want superb care for their pets, and that’s what we want too. We can achieve this through the use of veterinary acupuncture. We can use acupuncture to remedy a host of ailments such as:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as back problems, aches, downer cow syndrome, intervertebral disk disease, traumatic nerve injury, arthritis, soreness, muscle and joint problems, hip dysplasia, etc.
  • Gastrointestinal difficulties such as extensive food allergies, diarrhea, poor digestion, nonsurgical colic, overactive anal glands, etc.
  • Neurological problems such as partial paralysis in parts of the body or partial facial paralysis.
  • Respiratory problems such as difficulty breathing, feline asthma, etc.
  • Reproductive blockages or difficulties in fertility for both male and female pets.
  • Skin problems such as skin allergies, rashes, hot spots, sores, lick granulomas, or overall allergy dermatitis.

These are just a handful of some of the issues and medical difficulties that holistic veterinary medicine can address.

Making the Best Health Decisions for Your Pet

Holistic veterinary medicine is a rapidly growing field of interest for pet owners everywhere. All across the country pet owners are turning to holistic methods to offer a calming, relaxing, even pleasant experience to their pets in the form of a visit to the vet. People are seeing the value in holistic care, in noninvasive approaches, in methods of health and wellness that address the pet as a whole, not just addressing a part of them. People are starting to desire less risky care for their pets, treatments that can be combined with multiple, other focuses, methods that can be utilized to endless benefit for pets.

Holistic veterinary medicine is also becoming more popular in Louisville, Kentucky, a city where pet ownership is prevalent in about sixty-eight percent of homes. If you are considering taking a different route for your pet or pets, reach out to Countryside Animal Hospital, the state’s top choice in holistic veterinary medicine. You can call us today at (502) 222-4663. Or you can come by our facilities for a free tour at 2410 N. Highway 53 La Grange, KY 40031.


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