One of the downsides of being a holistic vet is that I think very differently, very holistically. And sometimes I come across articles that literally show me everything about what I think is wrong with Western veterinary medicine.
Looking at the big picture
Recently, I came across an article about a mediation that’s on the market right now. It’s not a new medication, but it’s being marketed a lot lately.
It’s an appetite stimulant primarily used for cats. And when we have a cat who is just refusing to eat, and we can’t figure out the problem, it can be helpful WHILE we’re working to figure out the source of the problem and therefore a more long term solution.
However, that wasn’t the goal of this ad.
The ad actually said that it was “the first […] FDA-approved medication for the management of weight loss in cats.”
Great! We’re helping cats not lose too much weight! Right?
Except, it doesn’t explain why the cats are losing weight. It doesn’t talk about getting to the root of the problem. It does talk about the fact that you can give it on the skin so that you can give it whether or not they’re eating. But even that doesn’t say anything about “until you can figure out WHY they’re not eating.”
See the problem?
This is endemic in the medical world, both human and veterinary.
We see a problem, we focus on the problem, we don’t always consider what might actually be causing the problem when we’re trying to figure out how to solve that specific problem. We also don’t think about what else is going on- if there’s a problem here, what’s going on in the rest of the body?
I’ll give you a hint.
Cats don’t just stop eating.
They stop eating because they have kidney disease so they’re too nauseous. They stop eating because they’re stressed, but then they lose weight and that sets of liver problems (fatty liver disease) which results in more appetite problems. They don’t eat because they have hyperthyroid disease that is making them throw up constantly and they think it’s the food.
Or a myriad of other reasons.
But they don’t just stop eating.
So when we focus only on getting them to eat again, we’re missing the whole point.
Now, of course, we need them to be getting enough nutrition WHILE we’re looking into what’s going on.
And that’s when medications like that really work well. They can help buy time for the kitty while we’re getting to the root of the problem.
But to look at the medication as only useful for helping a cat gain weight? That’s a recipe for disaster. You’re just going to be running into more problems down the road when the problem causing the weight loss continues to progress, and then suddenly even that medication isn’t helping but you still haven’t figured out the problem.
Does this make sense?
In order to truly help our pets heal, we need to figure out what’s going on inside. We can’t just use a medication as a bandaid and assume everything is better. (Ear infections and allergies are the classic examples of this!)
We have to look INSIDE.
We have to find the source of the problem. Which isn’t always simple because it can simply be the body being so out of balance that nothing is working well, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be working on the inside balance.
Does this make sense? Have you ever had to look beyond just a pill to heal your pet?