Pluralism in veterinary medicine, with each other instead of against each other

For years we have been trying to promote cooperation between conventional veterinary medicine and complementary veterinary medical directions.

The trench warfare between so-called conventional medicine and so-called complementary medicine should finally be overcome in favour of integrative veterinary medicine.

The role and task of the ÖTK and also my task is not to polarize, but to promote togetherness, to support and also to represent the common from several worlds. The ÖTK as a legally established representative body and interest representation of its members is virtually obliged to deal with the diversity of different areas of interest and to pay attention to the implementation of legal and enacted requirements.

The corresponding recognized FTA areas (homeopathy, acupuncture and neural therapy, chiropractic, etc.) and established ÖTK diplomas bear witness to how these areas are anchored in professional law.

In 2018, a statement on integrative medicine was written. The methods encompassed by the term integrative medicine/complementary medicine are named in the statement and are also intended to help draw the dividing line between them and esoteric or occult methods, which must not be confused with the approaches of integrative medicine.

Especially in the field of complementary medicine, veterinary medicine has done pioneering work, we should be proud of this and should also build on it.

Fact is: “Holistic” is in demand and at the beginning is the medically sound diagnosis.

Especially in veterinary medicine similar to human medicine, the demand for a gentle, understanding, humanly participating medicine has also become inevitable.

Also we veterinary surgeons must regard our patients “holistically”, finally they cannot express themselves or describe their complaints and/or are made by their owners completely different data, certainly a large challenge and responsibility. It is necessary to evaluate all information or findings in order to bring them back to our patients. All our actions, our decisions and our certainties are undoubtedly based on our sound training, our experience and also on the knowledge to be able to consult complimentary healing methods.

The Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection also favours the term complementary medicine to indicate that the methods should not be regarded as alternatives to conventional medicine.

Complementary medicine methods should be complementary – in the sense of integrative medicine – and not instead of “orthodox” medicine. Thus, their aim is to support the treatment success of a classical therapy.

Nevertheless, it is important to draw clear dividing lines. Interested groups of people, so-called “therapists”, often without knowledge and training, are making intensive efforts in these areas, which ultimately also leads to the fact that our customers are leaving more and more. Veterinarians who have no knowledge and too little to no training in these areas is often given as justification when it comes to complaints.

Keyword: professional and activity reservation. We permanently point out and also advocate that according to § 12 of the Veterinary Surgeons Act in Austria, diagnosis and therapy of sick animals are reserved exclusively for veterinarians, also in the sense of patient safety and consumer protection. Animal welfare practical men do not belong in Austria to the recognized and certified occupations, presumably one missed in Germany here some.

Recognized integrative methods belong in the hands of veterinarians.

Therefore, I personally advocate a better linkage of conventional and complementary medical approaches. Veterinary medicine is also not a pure natural science, but “also an empirical science that can make use of many other sciences”. For the vast majority of veterinary services, the expertise of the treating veterinarian, his personality, experience, but also the use of integrative methods, is what counts for the benefit of the patient.

Kurt Frühwirth, president of the österreichischen Tierärztekammer


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