…says city-based Belgian veterinarian Dr Juliet Decaestecker, who recently authored a book for Indian pet parents on how to truly care for their dogs.
Having grown up along with animals on her grandfather’s farm in Belgium, the veterinarian says she was always sure she wanted to work with animals. Gathering knowledge on animal health from more than 52 countries over a span of 18 years, she says holistic medicine — that includes Ayurveda, traditional Chinese medicine, food therapy, phytotherapy (use of natural herbs) — is required to keep an animal healthy. “In the modern world that we live in, there is a loss of touch with the traditions. Our ancestors have always been using what was around them to keep animals healthy and heal their diseases. So, more than 70 per cent of my treatment is done using traditional ways – food, massages, needling — it’s a combination of all these elements. I believe that healthy diet can prevent most of the diseases and I wanted to share this knowledge with everyone,” recollects Juliet on what led her to pen the book.
Principles of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine, that have been around us for hundreds of decades, also apply to animals, she asserts. “I do use X-rays and other medical tests, but it has to be combined with traditional integrative medicine. I use anecdotes and experiences from my three years of working in Chennai with several pet owners in my book,” adds Juliet, who also trains veterinarians on a holistic approach towards pets. The book deals with subjects like what a pet owner must be aware of before getting home a dog, what kind of food to offer, and on how to keep the dog happy and healthy. The information is presented along with pictures of adorable pups and dogs from across the country.
“For me, allopathy —the Western, occidental medicine is alternative medicine, not the traditional medicine. Indian vets, however, look to the West as if it is the only correct way to treat animals,” the veterinarian notes in her book. “I love making people aware that most of the treatments for their pet can be found on their kitchen shelves or growing by their front door as ‘just a weed’ or ‘just a normal tree’,” stresses Juliet in the book.
With a mission to impact the lives of 1,00,000 dogs and their owners, Juliet hopes to work more on species-appropriate food and wants to train more vets on holistic medicine. “Pets are pure love, and we should be grateful for them because they give so much more than they take from us life,” she remarks.