Holistic veterinary medicine is a type of veterinary medicine that uses alternative medicine in the treatment of animals. The philosophy of a holistic veterinarian emphasizes empathy and minimal invasiveness. Alternative therapies offered by a holistic veterinarian may include, but are not limited to, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, ethnomedicine and chiropractic.
Many veterinarians use different terms to convey what is meant by holistic. Alternative veterinary medicine, complementary veterinary medicine, and integrative veterinary medicine may be used as synonyms. All veterinary medicine may be considered holistic in that it considers all aspects of the animal patient in the context of its environment. The task force for complementary and alternative veterinary medicine for the American Veterinary Medical Association stresses that “There is only one veterinary medicine and only one standard by which it should be assessed. All treatments and modalities should be judged by the same criteria and held to the same standards. Descriptive terms such as holistic, conventional, traditional, alternative, integrative, or complementary do not enhance the quality of care provided and should not receive special consideration when judging the safety and efficacy of those treatments.”