Holistic Animal Care Schools: How to Choose

Veterinary students interested in combining conventional treatment with an alternative approach to animal health may study a holistic approach. This involves considering an animal's behavior, diet and environment. Although holistic animal care schools are rare, several veterinarians have developed programs and courses that focus on holistic methods.

There are few degree-granting programs in holistic animal care, but veterinarians can take continuing-education classes at schools with diverse techniques and emphases. Some holistic programs require that students be licensed veterinarians, while others can accommodate students still completing a degree.

Schools with Holistic Animal Care Programs

These schools offer opportunities to study holistic animal care:

College/University Location Institution Type Programs Offered* Tuition (In-state, 2015-2016)*
Front Range Community College Westminster, CO 2-year, Public Associate's $3,527**
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, Wisconsin 4-year, Public Courses $285 (for course series)
The Healing Oasis Wellness Center Sturtevant, WI Private for-profit Certifications and Courses $6,175 (for certificate)
Maryland University of Integrative Health Laurel, MD 4-year, Private Courses, Certificates, Master's, Doctoral $572-814 (per credit)
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona Pomona, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's $7,016**
Penn Foster Career School Scranton, PA Private for-profit Certificate $499 (for certificate)
College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies Online Private for-profit Diploma, Courses $195 (per course)
Michigan State University-My Horse University Online 4-year, Public Courses $200 (per course)
Kansas State University Manhattan, KS 4-year, Public Course within DVM $562.80 (per credit hour)

Sources: *School websites, **National Center for Education Statistics

School Selection Criteria

Consider the following when selecting a program in holistic animal care:

  • If you are looking to expand on your university veterinary science coursework, look for schools that offer continuing education courses and certificates.
  • If you are choosing between medical schools, try to find one that offers classes with homeopathic emphases in animal neurology, animal behavior, environmental medicine or pet nutrition; schools may also offer lectures or symposiums on alternative veterinary medicine.
  • If you have a specific area of interest, such as rehabilitation therapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, natural foods or other aspects of animal care, look at the program's curriculum to make sure it includes a class or concentration in that area..

Student Holistic Veterinary Associations

Veterinary schools often have active student organizations focused on holistic medicine. These organizations may provide speakers, educational forums, externship opportunities, and laboratories to practice integrative medicine techniques.

Continuing Education in Animal Therapy

Consistent with holistic medicine's approach to the whole animal, they also offer classes on animal behavior and neurology. Programs that emphasize physical therapy may include courses in massage or acupuncture.

Continuing Education in Herbal Medicine and Treatment

Several programs focus on combining Eastern and Western botanical medicine. Aromatherapy and natural food-based diets are also included in these treatment approaches.

Continuing Education in Veterinary Homeopathy

Holistic veterinary medicine has many different aspects. These programs often require students to monitor treatment schedules and patients' responses to medicines. General homeopathy programs cover a broad array of topics, ranging from hydrotherapy to ethnomedical systems.

Students who want to explore holistic animal care can find courses and programs and classes that cover alternative approaches to treatment.

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