Angel had the worst case of demodex mange ever seen at the College of Animal Homeopathic Medicine. Displaced during the California wildfires of 2008, Angel was treated homeopathically at the college’s Healing Place Vet Clinic. Within a week, her skin was improving. After three weeks, fuzz appeared as her hair started to grow back. She also received supplements and ate a raw diet. Because her skin was still hypersensitive, she was massaged with organic coconut oil and lavender to remove the dead skin while moisturizing the new skin. Now in good health, Angel has been adopted by Terri Stevenson, a homeopathic intern at the college.
Just two years old, the College of Animal Homeopathic Medicine (cahm.ca) in Vancouver was the brainchild of Julie Anne Lee. An overachiever and lifelong animal lover, Julie Anne helped at her mother’s animal shelter when she was growing up, and was a vet tech by the age of 19. Now she’s a homeopath, has 22 rescue animals at home, and is the driving force behind the new college. The first of its kind in Canada, the college offers a three-year program in animal homeopathy to veterinarians, professional homeopaths and veterinary technicians.
Bridging the gap
CAHM has a board of directors and an advisory board made up of nine veterinarians, homeopaths and other professionals. There are also over half a dozen teachers and faculty. Their goal is to get vets and homeopaths working together for the well being of animals. Homeopathy is largely unregulated compared to veterinary practices, and Julie Anne feels the best way to avoid controversy between veterinarians and homeopaths is through learning. “We have vets and non-vets practicing together as a team,” she says. “It’s amazing to see how much each learns from the other. The college promotes the integration of homeopathic animal medicine into traditional veterinary practice. It also aims to secure and advance the future of veterinary homeopathy by creating an alumni of like-minded qualified professionals to lead the way in bridging alternative and conventional medicines.”
In order to be accepted into the college, students must be a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), a Professional Homeopath (DCH, CCH, RCSHom, RSHom or equivalent) or a Veterinary Technician (AHT or equivalent). However, thanks to the large number of additional people interested in the courses, the college is in the process of expanding its program and admission requirements.
Hands on approach
The college is very hands on. Students work on cases, go into the field and have animals in class. The program is in now its second year and instructors come from England and the United States to teach. A fourth year of study is currently in the planning stages and will focus on research and proving what works. Homeopaths in training study anatomy, pathology and physiology as well as the drugs veterinarians use to treat animals. Are there side effects to these drugs? What remedies can counter or delay these effects? If surgery is needed, what can be done in advance to make healing easier and faster?
The Healing Place Vet Clinic associated with the college not only provides people with access to homeopathic and holistic care for their dogs, cats and other animals, but also gives students a chance to view cases and treatment plans. The clinic currently sees 15 animal families a day and has 4,000 clients overall. If you were to bring your own companion to the clinic, here’s what you could expect during a wellness exam:
• There are no examination tables. All exams are done on the floor, much to the relief of some dogs and cats.
• Your animal is not whisked away to a back room for procedures.
• Plan on a crowd. You and your animal will be seen by at least two people – the vet and the homeopath – as well as students and interns.
• The first visit will take between an hour and an hour and a half.
• A homeopath works alongside a vet, studies the animal’s history and suggests remedies, supplements and antioxidants.
• The routine is to ask everything and then put together a health plan. Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes play a big part in the health of any animal, including humans. Based on a study of the animal’s whole family, this plan is individualized to achieve the best possible results.
There are currently 26 students enrolled in the CAHM program, but given the interest the college has generated in just two years, the roster is sure to grow. “It’s becoming a bit of a force” says Julie Anne. An understatement from an overachiever.