Are Non-Veterinary Animal Health Practitioners Being Unfairly Banned?

Struggling for Alternative Pet Care

I’ve recently learned that veterinary governing bodies are imposing restrictions on pet owners’ ability to seek alternative animal health practitioners, such as chiropractors, Chinese medicine practitioners, homeopaths, and even non-veterinary animal dentists. It’s become illegal in many places, including where I live in British Columbia, Canada. The Veterinary Act here prohibits non-veterinary animal health practitioners from treating or seeing any animal unless under the direct supervision of a veterinarian. This has led to a significant decrease in access to many non-veterinary animal therapies, causing frustration among pet owners who prefer alternative veterinary medicine for their pets.

Legal Risks and Limited Access

The legal implications for veterinarians who refer to these alternative practitioners are severe, including lengthy proceedings, hefty fines, and the potential loss of their practice. This legal liability risk makes many veterinarians hesitant to supervise non-veterinary animal health practitioners, further limiting access to alternative therapies. Unauthorized practices include massage, Reiki, acupuncture, physiotherapy, chiropractic, Tellington TTouch, traditional Chinese medicine, dentistry, homeopathy, herbal medicine, nutritional medicine, and cranial sacral therapy. Practitioners of these therapies face serious legal actions and fines, which has led to a decrease in the availability of these treatments for pets.

The Case for Alternative Care

Despite these restrictions, many pet owners, including myself, believe that alternative care can be highly beneficial for pets, especially for chronic conditions that may not respond well to conventional treatments. Skilled complementary practitioners, who have spent years honing their craft, are often better suited to provide certain therapies, such as acupuncture, than veterinarians who may have only taken a short course. With the rising costs of veterinary care, alternative options like non-veterinary animal dentistry could provide more affordable solutions for pet owners. However, the current regulations prevent pet owners from accessing these potentially beneficial services.

A Call for Change

In response to these restrictions, a group has formed the BC Animal Owners Association to advocate for the right to choose alternative care for their pets. They argue that part of the veterinary oath is to relieve animal suffering and that the mandate of veterinary colleges should be to protect the public. However, if pet owners cannot access or afford veterinary care, or if they prefer alternative treatments, they should have the right to choose what they believe is best for their pets. The association aims to create a place in the law where non-veterinary practices are considered outside the scope of veterinary medicine, allowing for more freedom in pet care choices.

My Take on Alternative Pet Care

I believe that it should ultimately be the pet owner’s choice how to best care for their pets, without being restricted by governing bodies. While it’s important to ensure that treatments are safe and effective, pet owners should have the option to explore alternative therapies that might benefit their pets. On this channel, I aim to share information about alternative home remedies, herbs, homeopathy, acupressure, and massage, empowering pet owners to make informed decisions about their pet’s care. Although regulations currently limit what can be done outside the home, I hope that with increased awareness and advocacy, we can work towards a future where pet owners have more freedom to choose the best care for their beloved animals.

Dr Andrew Jones’ ‘Veterinary Secrets’ Will Help Keep Your Pet Healthy, and Extend Your Pet’s Life

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