A natural approach to animal health
What makes a newly qualified veterinary student with two degrees under his belt, not just question what they're doing, but question everything they've ever learnt?
Holistic vet Nick Thompson MRCVS explains why he chose a natural approach to animal health and wellbeing:
"My dad was a GP, and my mother a (human) nurse and they met in Oxford and I was the result. I was raised in a very - I was going to say it was a medical environment, but actually it was an anti-medical environment. We never went to the doctor. My mother was very into alternative and homeopathic medicine and herbs as well as nutrition, and we were raised in that setting. My father studied acupuncture at one point and was always wanting to treat with a minimum of fuss and minimum of pharmaceutical. It's quite an old fashioned way of treating medicine. I think I gained something from both of them in that way. I got the medical side from Dad and I got the 'what else is there' from Mum to a certain extent.
I rejected that when I went to veterinary college. I thought I knew better than that. I studied for six years at Edinburgh to become a vet and I did an Honours degree in Pathological Sciences along the way (all the ologies in short: bacteriology, virology, immunology and parasitology). When I qualified I thought I knew it all.
It was only after about six months of practice that it suddenly struck me that there were so many cases where medicine was not enough to get the results that I was really looking for.
You'd see a problem in a patient. You'd jab them and give a drug, then see them a few weeks later. I was thinking, 'this is interesting. We're not curing the disease and moving it to a place where they don't need medicine. We're often just keeping the disease at bay with the medicine, suppressing it.' I was a little disappointed with that. I had to look at myself and say I'm doing what I was trained to do, and yet if I was ill these would be the last things I would use for myself. Having been raised and rejected the alternative side of things, I realised there was actually another way.
After six months of working as a vet, I began to study homeopathic medicine, went on to study acupuncture, then herbs , all the while with interest in nutrition. That has blossomed more recently to the microbiome - the gut bugs essential to health.
Where I find myself now; using herbs and diet to treat disease to minimalise the number of drugs we use."
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