There’s been an advertisement making the rounds on Facebook lately for a “certification” in animal naturopathy. For only $97, you, too, can improve animal health!
At the bottom of the ad are an impressive number of logos from official-looking organizations. If you look closer, though, each logo represents an organization that is either completely unrelated to animal health, or is nothing more than a diploma mill: pay your money, we’ll give you accreditation.
What’s worse is that the ads suggest you’ll be able to work as an animal naturopath, helping people with their animals.
Spoiler alert: that’s illegal. In the United States, anyway, only licensed veterinarians can diagnose and treat animals—with herbs, acupuncture, or anything else.
I was once tempted by something similar when I was considering going to vet school. Vet school?! So expensive! So much effort! And I didn’t want to practice Western medicine. I wanted to learn to use acupuncture and herbs.
I’d Googled “animal naturopath” and gone down a rabbit hole trying to find out who was behind the impressive sounding “American Council of Animal Naturopathy” and who was giving out “Doctor of Animal Naturopathy” degrees. A diploma mill on Guam, it turns out.
I went to vet school.
While it’s possible that the $97 course contains some useful information, who would you rather have treating your pet:
Someone who’s taken a $97 course?
Or someone who’s gone to four years of college, and then four years of veterinary school, then passed a national board exam, and then taken extensive coursework in herbal medicine or acupuncture or chiropractic or homeopathy?
Please don’t fall for these scams. If you employ the services of a “canine nutritionist” or a “pet health expert” or an “animal naturopath,” be sure to look into how much training they actually have, and where it comes from.
The only true animal naturopaths are licensed veterinarians who have ALSO taken additional training to become skilled in the same modalities that human naturopaths use.
Professionally, we tend to refer to ourselves as holistic veterinarians or integrative veterinarians, but most of us employ the basic philosophies of naturopathy, such as treating the whole animal, looking for root causes, and recognizing the healing power of nature.
If you’re looking for an animal naturopath, please use the links below to find a qualified veterinarian.