Holistic animal care professionals use herbs, acupuncture and comprehensive health and wellness strategies to heal animals' diseases, conditions and ailments. With proper training and certification, veterinarians and veterinary technicians can find careers in holistic animal care. These programs can be studied at the associate's and doctoral degree levels, with a high school diploma or equivalent required for the former and a bachelor's degree in a related field required for the latter. Other requirements may include the successful completion of the North American Veterinary Licensing exam for veterinarians or the National Veterinary Technician exam for veterinary technicians.
Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology
Students learn traditional methods of veterinary science, while some programs may also include homeopathic care techniques. With this degree, students can find holistic animal care positions with veterinarian practices, animal clinics and animal rehabilitation centers. Programs commonly include courses in:
- Basics of animal science
- Physiology and anatomy of domestic animals
- Veterinary terminology
- Clinical practices in veterinary technology
- Animal behavior
- Veterinary radiology
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Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
The DVM curriculum includes advanced courses in animal biology, anatomy, physiology and behavior. Students learn how to provide medical care for animals by performing surgeries, administering medications and suggesting diets or behavioral modifications. Most programs offer courses on holistic animal care. Programs require four years of intense study and include courses in:
- Veterinary anatomy and histology
- Animal biochemistry
- Veterinary immunology
- Ethology and animal husbandry
- Holistic and homeopathic care strategies
- Veterinary pharmacology
Licenses and Certifications
After obtaining state licensure, holistic veterinarians can seek certification from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS), which offers specialized training in acupuncture, herbal remedies and other holistic practices. Holistic veterinarians must complete four training courses and pass an exam to receive IVAS certification. Although certification is not required, it demonstrates competency in holistic and homeopathic animal care practices.
Colleges and animal organizations may offer holistic care workshops and training seminars. Workshops are available from IVAS and may be used for certification purposes. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides information on continuing education opportunities that include conferences, workshops and courses.
The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) provides industry information for holistic animal care professionals. The AHVMA is currently the only organization dedicated to the advancement of holistic animal practices. Membership in the AHVMA provides veterinary professionals with career opportunities, industry research and statistics and trends in holistic animal care. A comprehensive database of holistic veterinarians allows members to contact other professionals for networking and continuing education purposes. The AHVMA provides access to journal articles on various aspects of holistic animal care, as well as contact information for organizations with similar interests.
Studying holistic animal care teaches students how to use alternative and traditional forms of healthcare in an integrative approach to treat sick animals. Students wishing to become veterinary technicians can opt for an associate's degree, while future veterinarians should pursue a doctorate.