What is holistic veterinary care?

Cat getting Reiki

Reiki often helps soothe distressed animals.

The practice of holistic veterinary care involves integrating conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease.

Dr. Kassell is passionate about preventive health care.  Working with her clients, she creates unique well-pet plans for each pet based on nutrition, vaccination, flea and tick control, heart worm prevention, fresh air, sunshine, exercise, and love. In treating her patients for specific conditions, Dr. Kassell utilizes nutrition, nutraceuticals, herbs, homeopathy, Reiki, and conventional medications and therapies if she feels they will best serve the patient.

You can get additional information about holistic veterinary care at the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association’s website.

Nutrition, nutraceuticals, and herbs

There are many options in feeding pets ranging from kibble to dry to home-cooked to raw.  Dr. Kassell prefers that clients feed their pets diets based on whole, fresh foods in their naturals forms whenever possible, including raw meaty bones, muscle meat, organs and vegetables. (For more information, see Dr. Kassell’s helpful article about the whys and hows of raw foods.) However, she recognizes that for reasons ranging from health to logistical to financial, raw feeding is not for every dog or cat, at least not for every meal. Dr. Kassell’s goal is to educate her clients about feeding options and to help them establish nutrition plans that work for them and their pets.

In addition to the daily diet, or in treating specific health condition, Dr. Kassell may recommend nutraceuticals, which are nutritional supplements such as vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, glandular extracts and probiotics.  Examples of herbs are calendula to assist with wound healing and milk thistle for liver support.


Reiki is a Japanese method of stress reduction and relaxation that can also promote healing. Dr. Kassell has found that some dogs and cats seem to benefit from the soothing effects of weekly, biweekly or monthly Reiki sessions.

For specific information about Reiki and animals, please refer to Animal Reiki Alliance’s website. For general information about Reiki, check out The International Center for Reiki Training.

Homeopathic kit

Homeopathy plays a vital role in Dr. Kassell’s practice.


Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine in which minute doses of substances from the plant, mineral or animal kingdoms are used to stimulate the body in a way such that health and balance may be restored without suppressing symptoms or causing unwanted side effects.

In choosing a homeopathic remedy, Dr.Kassell takes into account the physical, mental and emotional symptoms of her patients, as well as any factors that may contribute to disease.  For chronic conditions, she typically gives a single dose of the indicated remedy and reevaluates the patient’s condition 3 to 4 weeks later.  Some patients require very few or only one remedy, while others may benefit from repeated remedies or a change of remedy.  In each case, the patient is evaluated as an individual and a treatment plan is based on the patient’s unique condition and response.

For more information about veterinary homeopathy, please see the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy’s website.

Additional options

If Dr. Kassell feels it would be in your pet’s best interest, she may recommend that you make an appointment with a veterinarian who specializes in alternative therapies.  Examples include acupuncture and chiropractic care, which can be useful for treating arthritis and pain.