Holistic Medicine
Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre

Welcome Main Menu Contents FAQ Contact us Map & Directions AVMC Services About us Office Hours Research Feedback Cases Therapies Species Various Articles Testimonials Issues Definitions SARSS Links Vacancies Recipes News & Noticeboard Search


Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre

Holistic Vet - Homeopathic Vet - Acupuncture Vet - Herbal Vet - Natural Vet

Holistic Medicine for Animals

Veterinary Holistic Medicine

with notes on reductionism


Holistic, Alternative, Natural or Complementary?

The Holistic vet

FAQ Holistic Medicine

Holistic Cure

or follow the links in this table:


Holistic Horse

Holistic Pony

Holistic Dog Holistic Cat Holistic Farm

The word holistic has been mentioned a great deal on this site and you are bound to encounter it elsewhere. Not everyone understands what it means and not everyone who would purport to be using holistic medicine (holistic veterinary medicine) really is doing so. There is, in fact, nothing mysterious about the word 'holistic' and its application is simple. It does, though, require scrupulous attention to detail and due diligence and to understand the term and its implications is important to an understanding of the work of a real holistic vet.

Holism or holistic treatment involves treating the body as a whole, including the mind and spirit and including a study of the diet, the lifestyle, the environment and the circumstances in which that body operates. It also recognises and works with the two-way interaction between the body and its environment. The holistic vet must take all this into account, to fit the description.

Jan Smuts (1870 - 1950) is credited with coining the term 'holism'

Nature tends to form systems. In any system, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The whole is not entirely explicable in terms of its parts. Each system has others within it. Within each system, each part interacts with every other part and is, in turn, acted upon by each other part. No part can be independent of the others and no part can be independent of the whole. Each part is unique, and cannot be compared with another, yet is essential to the functioning of the whole.

Each system in turn interacts with every other system. No system is independent of any other. Some may hear echoes of De Morgan’s parody of Jonathan Swift’s eloquent and elegant observation on fleas:

“Big fleas have little fleas
Upon their back to bite 'em
And little fleas have lesser fleas
And so ad infinitum.”

All things are connected, as in Seathl’s words, whence came the Gaia Theory of our earth as a living organism.

Because holism knows no boundaries, we need to define a context, before we can communicate and discuss any ‘system’. In holistic veterinary medicine, we are referring to the animal patient 'system'. We must then look both inwards and outwards, from our visual image of the animal, in order to understand the meaning of this system.

Looking outwards, the holistic vet finds that the animal operates within his environment and cannot be independent of it. Each part of his environment acts upon him and he, in turn, impinges upon it. He cannot usefully be considered outside this context. This explains why an animal may appear differently in a veterinary consulting room than at home and why he may appear to be ‘cured’ in hospital, for example, but not when sent home. The environments are wholly different and exert massive effects. This is also a possible explanation for one aspect of the scientific failure of laboratory animal experimentation. For any given patient, we must observe how his environment, circumstance and lifestyle play a part in his disease and in his health. In a working horse’s case, for instance, this necessarily also includes saddling, shoeing, stabling, feeding, riding etc.

Looking inwards, the holistic vet finds that each part of the animal interacts (two-way) with every other part and that no part is independent of any other, nor of the whole. This means that we cannot usefully consider one part of the animal in isolation. Although an organ has an existence and can be removed from the body and viewed in isolation, there is no such independent functional entity. As ‘specialisms’ develop in human and animal medicine, so there is a tendency for the patient to be broken down into more and more 'separate' components (reductionism - see below), with a tendency to ignore the other parts of the body. This can lead to great misunderstandings of the body, because it is not a machine. The patient is a living entity, following the laws of holistic nature. The individual components have no independent function and no meaning, without the others and without the whole.

For this reason, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (including Acupuncture), Herbal Medicine (herbs) and some other systems of natural medicine (e.g Ayurveda), which consider the body as a functional whole, within its environment (i.e. holistic), are often able to produce results, when a more conventional and 'reductionist' approach has failed.

Homeopathy Acupuncture Herbs Chiropractic Natural Feeding

Christopher Day, practising at the Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre, is a holistic vet of more than 40 years' experience in holistic medicine, especially homeopathy and is willing to share experiences, understanding and ideas with veterinary colleagues, veterinary students and animal 'owners' on any aspect of vet holistic medicine. The AVMC was the first dedicated holistic veterinary practice in the UK, founded in 1987. He offers holistic vet advice for each and every patient.

N.B. Many of the therapies used at the AVMC are restricted to use by a fully-qualified veterinary surgeon (Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966). On this site, each page describing a therapy has a note, explaining this.


Reductionism may be the opposite of holism. It is anyway very foreign to the methodology and reasoning of a holistic vet.

Reductionism has been explained as: a doctrine that maintains that all objects and events, their properties and our experience and knowledge of them are made up of ultimate elements, indivisible parts (Ackoff 1974).

Perhaps the 17th century French philosopher René Descartes (1596 - 1650) can be credited with the basis for this reductionist and mechanistic approach to the world and to living beings. However, it is not all down to him. The human brain appears to find it easier to think along mechanistic lines, rather than holistic lines. There is a desire to classify everything and to explain everything mechanistically. There is a fear of the wider and less explicable aspects of life. Reductionism is fundamentally opposite to the holistic way of thinking, in so many areas and has given rise to much of modern science.

Descartes formally declared that the mind was separate from the body. He attempted to apply certainty to philosophy and biology. His life was therefore close to being an oxymoron, in itself (it appears clear, in my work, that the only certainty is uncertainty - Chris Day, holistic vet).

In Rules for the Direction of the Mind (1625-28), he laid down the elements of 'rational analysis' which, combined with experiment and observation, became the basis of modern scientific method. In De Homine, he held that animals could be reductively explained as automata.

In reality, animals (and humans) do not function in parts, we function as a whole and mind, body (with all its individual organs and parts) and spirit are an inseparable entity. This is a fact and to think and work otherwise will inevitably lead to failure.

Holistic Horse Holistic Dog Holistic Cat Holistic Farm

Note: Sometimes, we have been asked just to treat one of a horse's problems and not to bother about whatever else may be wrong or that we might find at the examination. This is not possible, as a holistic vet using holistic therapies such as acupuncture or homeopathy, in that it is the horse (or cat, dog, pony or other animal) as a whole that we are treating, not one of the symptoms or signs of disease. The entire symptomatology builds the patient picture that a holistic vet needs before selecting a treatment. We treat the horse and the horse is the one who heals. Hippocrates is credited with saying that: 'The physician treats, Nature heals'. This means that we cannot target one specific part of the picture, nor should we, as holistic vets, leave correctible problems unattended (e.g. ill-fitting saddle, bad shoeing etc.), as these can significantly impede the healing process and potentially lead to problems further down the line. Avoidable problems should be avoided.

Synonyms: 'Holism' and 'Holistic' are sometimes written 'Wholism' and 'Wholistic'.

N.B.: When a case is referred to us, it is much more helpful to receive the entire medical history, rather than selected detail from it. The holistic methodology and treatment are more effective, when based on the full medical history.

P.S.: In the USA, it appears that a veterinarian who uses a spectrum of natural, alternative and complementary medicines is called a holistic veterinarian. This interpretation of the meaning of the term 'holistic vet' is well demonstrated by the article in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holistic_veterinary_medicine  (at the time of writing on 10th June 2010). According to the UK understanding, however, it is the methodology that makes one holistic, rather than the systems of medicine applied. One might only use one medical system but still practise it in a truly holistic way. This is simply a matter of varying definitions and common usage.

Holistic, Alternative, Natural or Complementary?

The Holistic Vet

FAQ Holistic Medicine

Holistic Cure


Holistic vet work



An information-only website drawn up to introduce readers to natural feeding for dogs, cats, horses & ponies



An overview of the work of a holistic vet & the therapies involved



The work of a chiropractic vet explained



The work of an acupuncture vet explained


Christopher Day was one of the first holistic vets in the UK, pioneering holistic care and methodology from the 1970s. He is among the most experienced holistic veterinarians - the practice is a no-frills, traditional, homely and caring enterprise. In the tradition of a holistic vet, Chris works on the whole animal, to try to stimulate a return to health and to study and to remove any possible obstacle to recovery. This holistic vet approach is applied to farm animals, horses, dogs, cats, ponies and any other species that may be brought into his care.


The Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre (AVMC) offers Holistic Veterinary Medicine for horses, ponies, dogs, cats and other species.

Main Treatments offered (see Therapies):

Homeopathic treatment

Acupuncture treatment

Herbal treatment (Phytotherapy)

Aromatherapy treatment

Chiropractic treatment

Nutritional advice - Feeding advice

LASER treatment

Ultrasound treatment

Back manipulation - Back treatment

Bach Flowers

Holistic medicine - Holistic veterinary medicine

Flower Essences

Tissue Salts

Holistic therapy - Holistic treatment - Holistic care

Holistic advice

Anthroposophical medicines - Anthroposophy

Natural medicine - Alternative medicine - Complementary medicine


Integrated medicine (Integrative medicine)

Natural Feeding - Natural Diet


Holistic Horse Vetting - Holistic Pony Vetting

Holistic Horse Holistic Dog Holistic Cat Holistic Farm


These approaches represent a philosophy that is alternative to the current conventional norm but the use of alternative therapies does not do away with the need for a thorough examination and assessment. Nor does it preclude the use of modern diagnostic techniques where necessary. A holistic vet will take into account all these things, in addition to closely scrutinising lifestyle, diet, environment, riding, tack, shoeing, grazing, stabling, management etc., depending upon the species.


Holistic Medicine Lectures and Talks

Mr Day will give lectures or talks on many aspects of animal welfare, natural feeding, animal management, holistic medicine, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbs, integrated medicine etc. These talks are usually based on experience rather than theory and reflect a 40-year career in holistic medicine and veterinary practice.


We have a deep respect for Nature and we work with Nature

Homeopathy Acupuncture Herbs Chiropractic Natural Feeding

N.B.: At the AVMC, we try not to be 'bogged down' by terminology or ideology. Much argument accompanies discussions on nomenclature. We do not mind whether we are called holistic, complementary, alternative or natural. Likewise, it does not matter whether we are described as a holistic, natural, herbal, homeopathic, chiropractic, acupuncture or integrated veterinary practice. The medicine we practise is the best we can offer, providing sympathetic care for each patient and it matters not whether it is perceived as holistic medicine, alternative medicine, complementary medicine, natural medicine, complementary and alternative medicine (CAM - CAVM) or integrated medicine. We offer traditional standards of professional care, in an integrated package. Although we almost exclusively use alternative therapies, seeking alternatives to conventional drug therapy, we do not shun conventional therapy, per se, considering its worth in each case.

Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre

Holistic Vet - Homeopathic Vet - Acupuncture Vet - Herbal Vet - Natural Vet


AVMC - 25 years old in March 2012!

Having used alternative medicine since 1972, Chris Day established the AVMC as a dedicated Holistic Veterinary practice in March 1987.

Chris Day is the UK's longest serving homeopathic vet and holistic vet.







Copyright © AVMC - April 2007

Associated websites: www.veterinary-homeopathy.co.uk/user/htdocs (new blog) - chris-day.live-blog.net/ - www.acupuncture-animals.co.uk - www.holistic-vet.co.uk - www.homeopathic-vet.com - www.veterinary-acupuncture.co.uk - www.veterinary-homeopathy.co.uk - www.veterinary-herbal.co.uk - www.veterinary-holistic.co.ukwww.alternativeveterinarymedicine.co.uk - www.alternativeveterinarymedicinecentre.co.uk - www.avmc.co.uk - www.naturalfeeding.co.uk - www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~avmc - www.chinhampublications.co.uk - www.equineacupuncturevet.co.uk - www.christopherday.co.uk - www.holisticvetmed.co.uk.

Holistic vet at AVMC - Putting the patient first


Page refers to: holistic - holistic medicine - holistic veterinary medicine - holistic medicine for animals - veterinary holistic medicine - veterinary holism - holistic vet - homeopathic vet - acupuncture vet - herbal vet - aromatherapy vet - chiropractic vet - alternative vet - complementary vet - natural vet - alternative therapy - holistic vet Oxfordshire - holistic vet UK - holistic vet med - holistic vets - holistic veterinary medicine - holisticvetmed - holistic medicine for dogs - holistic medicine for cats - holistic medicine for horses - holistic medicine for ponies - holistic medicine for goats - holistic medicine for donkeys - holistic medicine for ferrets - holistic medicine for cattle - holistic medicine for sheep - dog - cat - horse - pony - dogs - cats - horses - ponies - vet holistic - veterinary holistic - veterinary holistic medicine - vet holistic medicine - holistic vet practice - holistic veterinary practice - veterinary holistic - holistic medicine for pigs - farm holistic vet - holistic vet farm - holistic farm vet - holistic vet cat – holistic vet cats – cat holistic vet – cats holistic vet – feline holistic vet – holistic vet dog – holistic vet dogs – dog holistic vet – dogs holistic vet – canine holistic vet – holistic vet horse – holistic vet horses – horse holistic vet – horses holistic vet – equine holistic vet – holistic vet pony – holistic vet ponies – pony holistic vet – ponies holistic vet – equine holistic vet – holistic vet advice - holistic veterinarian - holistic veterinarians - holistic veterinary advice - holistic advice - veterinary homeopathy - veterinary acupuncture - nature vet - acupuncture vets - homeopathic vets - holistic vets - herbal vets - holistic medicine for deer - holistic medicine for buffalo - holistic medicine for poultry - holistic medicine for domestic fowl - holistic medicine for birds - holistic medicine for reptiles - holistic veterinarian - holistic veterinarians - holistic veterinary surgeon - holistic veterinary surgeons - holistic vets

Holistic Vet - Holistic Vet - Holistic Vet - Holistic Vet - Holistic Vet - Holistic Vet - Holistic Vet

Welcome ] Up ] Holistic Pony ] Holistic Horse ] Holistic Dog ] Holistic Cat ] Holistic Farm ] Alternative/Complementary etc. ] Holistic Cure ] The Holistic Vet ] Herb Vet* ]

[Main Menu] [FAQ] [ Map & Directions ] [Books etc.] [Contact us ] [Feedback] [Contents] [News & Noticeboard]

This site is subject to frequent ongoing development and expansion
- please revisit frequently, to view new material

Copyright © 2007 Alternative Veterinary Medicine Centre
Chinham House, Stanford in the Vale, Oxon SN7 8NQ (UK)
Tel.: #44 (0)1367 710324 - Fax: #44 (0)1367 718243

holistic vet - homeopathic vet - acupuncture vet - herbal vet - chiropractic vet - natural vet
Created and maintained by AVMC