Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) makes major strides forward!
Since the publication of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeon’s (RCVS) statement on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) two years ago, CAM4animals can report that there has been a significant upsurge of interest in these treatments as part of animal healthcare in the UK.
CAM4animals formed out of a need to safeguard and support the use of CAM within veterinary medicine and it too has grown in strength over the last two years. We have helped ignite an interest in what CAM has to offer not only to people whose animals may not do well under conventional treatment, but also to those looking for a wider range of options in addition to drugs or surgery. In effect, CAM is beginning to be seen as a normal and valuable part of integrated veterinary care.
Vets who practice a variety of CAM treatments, including homeopathy, have noticed a significant rise in client interest. Word has travelled rapidly as an increasing number of people have become aware of CAM. Many are prepared to travel hours in order to have their animal seen by a vet offering treatments such as acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, chiropractic care and osteopathy. The vet may be an owner’s regular choice. Others attend as a referral from the increasing number of local vets who have incorporated CAM into the range of treatments they can offer their clients.
This is fantastic news as CAM clearly has a role to play in integrated veterinary care. But there is a downside as there are only so many clients an individual CAM trained vet can see. With growing interest comes an increasing need for more vets and vet nurses to study and qualify in CAM treatments across the board.
So, what’s the situation? It is encouraging to note that there have been 5 vets completing their Faculty of Homeopathy studies this year and who are now able to add homeopathy to the expertise they can offer to clients. There also appears to be a growth in interest in acupuncture and the use of herbs but, this is not enough to meet the demand. Not only is there is a severe shortfall in the number of existing vets and nurses, but there is no overall academic system or encouragement to enable additional veterinary professionals to train for the future.
Veterinary customers find themselves in a dilemma. They know homeopathy and other CAM work because they’ve seen their animal get well. They know that they can travel, albeit a long way, to get to a vet. The problem is that it is getting harder to secure an appointment because of the increased interest and new clients. So, the loyal CAM customer has to wait longer for appointments. They also live in fear of their vet retiring because there are not enough younger vets coming through the system.
In response to this, CAM4animals is working to highlight the benefits of CAM and sends out a plea to increase the number of expertly trained CAM professionals. This will address not only customer needs, but will also provide vets in general with another income stream by augmenting the range of services they can offer.
In summary, CAM can offer animal patients and the vets who work on them a much larger range of options from which they can choose. And that is exactly what this is all about. CHOICE. Choice for the paying customer, and choice for vets to use their clinical judgement as they see fit.
If you want to explore options for your animals go to our Modalities and Practitioners page