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Sunday, April 17th, 2016 @ 2pm

Dr. Keith Weingardt from Animal Healing Arts of Portland covered some of the most important topics in holistic veterinary medicine.


Introduction to Holistic Veterinary Medicine from Animal Community Talks on Vimeo.


What we Learned

Keith Weingardt PhotoIt was difficult to stay inside on such a beautiful day here in Portland – 80 degrees and sunny, a rarity in April! But Dr. Weingardt’s talk on Holistic Veterinary Medicine was worth the sacrifice. While the study and practice of holistic medicine has developed over thousands of years, Dr. Weingardt gave us a solid introduction in just over an hour.

His presentation included an overview of the philosophy of holistic medicine, and offered insights into vaccinations, nutrition, traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, acupuncture, herbal medicine, homeopathy, and Reiki.

He began by sharing his own journey, from graduating Cornell School of Veterinary Medicine to working in San Diego as a critical care specialist. His awakening came when his own dog, Max, became ill and allopathic (conventional) treatments were no longer effective.

Like so many others, Dr. Weingardt sought help from a holistic veterinarian as a last-ditch effort to help his dog. It was very much an, “I’ve tried everything else, why not this?” situation. And, like many others, the miraculous change in his dog’s quality of life was enough to swing the “alternative” medicine door wide open.


The Holistic Ideal

TreeThe philosophy is startlingly simple: treat the whole being, not just the problem. Life heals itself, that is its natural course. But our pets, like us, can fail to heal if total wellbeing is not fully addressed. Many symptoms can be controlled with anti-this or that, but could be better managed or prevented altogether with individually tailored nutrition, herbal supplements, acupuncture, and other holistic modalities.

Suppressing symptoms is a temporary fix, and can force deeper, more serious diseases into manifestation. The key is to promote vitality, from one end of life to the other.

The ABC’s of Total Wellbeing

Avoidance – do not put anything in that is not absolutely necessary. This includes food, vaccinations, medicine, and supplements.

Build up – the immune system through good food and appropriate supplementation. There is no greater protection against disease than good health.

Commitment – to the process of healing. Often it takes as much time to heal as it took to get sick in the first place.


Championing a Healthy Vaccination Protocol Vaccine

While his clinical experience affords him an understanding of the importance of immunization, Dr. Weingardt also explained why over-vaccination is such a controversial problem. There is no doubt that vaccination prevents serious disease, he has treated enough parvo and distemper-positive puppies to be assured of that.

However, introducing vaccines into an already protected system can create new problems, sometimes even turning the immune system against itself, which may cause serious auto-immune disease or even cancer.

Now that reliable antibody titer tests are available to monitor disease resistance, there is no reason to repeat vaccinations every 1-3 years without testing first. In fact, it can be dangerous.


Why Pet Nutrition is Most Important

Dr. Weingardt emphasized that food is the most important and effective medicine we can give our pets on a daily basis. Kibble was invented out of desperation to feed pets cheaply after the Great Depression and World War II. It was meant to be a temporary solution, but the convenience and affordability of the product, coupled with an as-yet limited understanding of the dietary needs of dogs and cats, turned this act of desperation into a booming industry.

It’s no wonder that veterinarians are indoctrinated into today’s pet food culture while they’re still in school, and few find their way to a more enlightened view in practice.

However, the research is gaining ground, and evidence that kibble is the worst thing you can feed your pets is Dog and steakbecoming overwhelming. Not only is the carbohydrate content insanely out of balance (high carb content is necessary to make dry kibble), but the processing, synthetic nutrient additives, and non-transparency of ingredient sourcing makes dry pet food suspect, at best.

Compare a bowl of dog kibble to a fresh steak – “which has more vitality?” Dr. Weingardt asks. The answer is painfully obvious.


Reiki – What Else is Out There?

The final, or at least, the most recent, frontier for Dr. Weingardt has been to incorporate Reiki into his practice. He admits that, even long after his transition into holistic veterinary medicine, the idea of energy healing and the power of crystals was too far out, even for him. And then, when he was faced with disruptions in his own life, Reiki was the solution he had never expected, never believed in.

Now, he is a Reiki master, and he incorporates its rituals into his own daily routine, and that of his patients.


ACT extends a sincere thanks to Dr. Keith Weingardt for his time and expertise.