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Training Programs in Holistic Animal Care with Career Information

Holistic animal care training programs teach students how to provide health care for animals through the use of natural remedies and rehabilitation therapies. Holistic animal care professionals use herbs, acupuncture and comprehensive health and wellness strategies to heal animals' diseases, conditions and ailments. With proper training and certification, veterinarians and veterinary technicians can find careers in holistic animal care.

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Training in Holistic Animal Care

A high school diploma or GED certificate is required to work in the holistic animal care field. Those looking to become holistic veterinarians begin their training by enrolling in an undergraduate degree program, followed by completion of a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). Veterinarian technicians typically complete a 2-year degree program in veterinary technology and by receiving additional training in holistic animal care.

Holistic animal care professionals should have the interpersonal and communication skills needed to work with animal owners and other medical personnel. They should be comfortable working with a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, horses and small animals. They should be knowledgeable in homeopathic remedies, traditional veterinary medicine and therapies that incorporate the spiritual, mental and physical aspects of animal health.

Formal Education

In order to practice, holistic veterinarians are required to obtain a bachelor's degree and complete a DVM program. Holistic veterinarian technicians and assistants are typically required to have an associate's degree in veterinary technology.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

Before enrolling in a DVM program, students complete a bachelor's degree program in biology, animal sciences or a related field. The DVM curriculum includes advanced courses in animal biology, anatomy, physiology and behavior. Students learn how to provide medical care for animals by performing surgeries, administering medications and suggesting diets or behavioral modifications. Most programs offer courses on holistic animal care. Programs require four years of intense study and include courses in:

  • Veterinary anatomy and histology
  • Animal biochemistry
  • Veterinary immunology
  • Ethology and animal husbandry
  • Holistic and homeopathic care strategies
  • Veterinary pharmacology
  • Clinical nutrition

Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology

An associate's degree program is ideal for veterinarian technicians and assistants interested in working in holistic animal care. Students learn traditional methods of veterinary science, while some programs may also include homeopathic care techniques. With this degree, students can find holistic animal care positions with veterinarian practices, animal clinics and animal rehabilitation centers. Programs commonly include courses in:

  • Basics of animal science
  • Physiology and anatomy of domestic animals
  • Veterinary terminology
  • Clinical practices in veterinary technology
  • Animal behavior
  • Veterinary radiology

Job Experience

Prospects are best for holistic animal care professionals with at least two years of experience. Because holistic animal care is often combined with traditional animal health care, veterinarians and technicians should have experience with traditional veterinary sciences and holistic approaches.

Licenses and Certifications

State licensure is required to practice as a holistic veterinarian. To become licensed, veterinarians must obtain a DVM and pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, an intensive 8-hour exam that addresses all areas of veterinary medicine and animal care.

After obtaining licensure, holistic veterinarians can seek certification from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS), which offers specialized training in acupuncture, herbal remedies and other holistic practices. Holistic veterinarians must complete four training courses and pass an exam to receive IVAS certification. Although certification is not required, it demonstrates competency in holistic and homeopathic animal care practices.

Holistic veterinarian assistants and technicians must pass the National Veterinary Technician (NVT) exam in order to assist veterinarians. Licensure and registration requirements vary by state, but technicians are typically required to complete a formal training program and pass the NVT exam to become licensed or registered.

Workshops and Seminars

Colleges and animal organizations may offer holistic care workshops and training seminars. Workshops are available from IVAS and may be used for certification purposes. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) provides information on continuing education opportunities that include conferences, workshops and courses.

Professional Development

The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) provides industry information for holistic animal care professionals. The AHVMA is currently the only organization dedicated to the advancement of holistic animal practices. Membership in the AHVMA provides veterinary professionals with career opportunities, industry research and statistics and trends in holistic animal care. A comprehensive database of holistic veterinarians allows members to contact other professionals for networking and continuing education purposes. The AHVMA provides access to journal articles on various aspects of holistic animal care, as well as contact information for organizations with similar interests.

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