Did you know that your pets can benefit from holistic heathcare? Local Vet Susan Andresier tells us more:

I qualified as a vet in 2002 and worked in small animal practice for ten years. During this time I began to feel quite disillusioned about my job.

I felt passionately about helping the animals under my care and doing my very best for them, but I only had 10 minutes for each consultation and this was not enough time to look at the whole animal. All I could treat was their leg or skin or teeth and not take in the whole picture. Even when I did have the time to discuss diet and lifestyle many pet owners were just not interested in making the changes I suggested that would benefit their pets.

I remember one particular over weight and arthritic Labrador, I asked the owners to tell me about the dog’s exercise and they looked down at the floor and mumbled something about it being a bit rainy recently – what they actually meant was they didn’t take their dog for a walk. I found some peoples attitude towards their pet’s health very depressing.

First I trained in acupuncture and this was the turning point for me, even to this day I am still amazed at the huge effects tiny needles can have. As the effects build up after a few sessions I can see my patients energy building up, their ‘spark’ returning and their movement becoming easier. I mainly use acupuncture to help ease musculoskeletal problems. Many of my clients are amazed at how relaxed their animals become during a session, some even fall asleep!

I have also trained in veterinary herbal medicine, this is using tinctures made from the whole plant or a part of it rather than an extraction of one specific chemical. Often the whole plant has more effect and less side effects than the individual bioactive chemical on its own. I use herbs alongside acupuncture or homeopathy and am often asked to’ make up some more magic potion’ for my patients! I use herbs to help ease symptoms in all sorts of diseases from bladder issues to skin problems.

I am ashamed to admit that for many years I was a complete homeopathy sceptic. It was only when my clients kept asking me about it and telling me the effects that it had on their animals that I thought I had better look into it. I initially did a brief introductory course and when I saw how my children responded to the remedies I wanted to learn more. At this time our rescue Labrador Fudge had terrible skin problems, I was on the verge of having to put her on some very unpleasant long term medication and decided to give homeopathy a go. That was 8 years ago and Fudge has barely had an itch since then! I was converted and began my training as a veterinary homoeopath.

I use homeopathy alone or alongside acupuncture, herbs, and conventional medications. The effects can be amazing and I use homeopathy for a wide variety of health issues (pretty much everything actually)!

When I see a patient for the first time I no longer have to rush through everything in ten minutes, I have time to get to know them and their owners. I can ask about their diet, exercise, fears and anxieties as well as any physical symptoms that they have. I am able to advise what changes could be made to benefit the animal and whether acupuncture, herbs, homeopathy or all three could be used.

I firmly believe that a holistic approach is best for our animals and I feel that I am truly improving the lives of my patients. I feel privileged to know such dedicated pet owners and am frequently humbled by their kindness and care of their animals.

Dr Susan Andresier BVetMed LFHom(vet) MRCVSAcupaws – referrals in veterinary acupuncture, herbal medicine, and homeopathy. Consultations available in Dorset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.