My guest is Linda Ferguson, Managing Director of VetLocator, an online directory of more than 40,000 veterinary and pet health care professionals including Emergency, Holistic and House Call specialty directories. VetLocator also helps pet owners get immediate dialogue with both pet professionals and other pet owners in the community in their very popular Q&A section called Ask A Pet Pro, which has 100s of pet owner questions and answers covering a wide variety of topics related to pets. Raised from an early age by a mother who embraced holistic solutions and a natural lifestyle, Linda knows the negative impact industrialized living has on the health of all living things, which is why having holistic alternatives for pet owners while serving all pet owners is important to her. In 2002, she used her skills as an internet marketing maven to to help launch VetLocator after seeing the need for pet owners to have choices on who to choose to take their pets to. We’ll be talking about holistic choices for pet care, why choose a holistic vet, how to choose the best holistic vet for your pet, and more. www.debralynndadd.com/debras-list/vet-locator
TOXIC FREE TALK RADIO
How to Choose and Find a Holistic Vet for Your Pet
Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Linda Ferguson
Date of Broadcast: June 27, 2014
DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world even though there are toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products and in the environment and in the air we breathe and the food we eat. It seems like, every day, we turn on the news and find out about yet another toxic chemical.
There are some places in the world where there are not toxic chemicals. And there are a lot of things that we can do to remove them from our homes and from our bodies and be happy and well and productive and do whatever we want to do with our lives.
So, today is Thursday, June 27th 2013. And I’m here in Clearwater, Florida. And we’re not having a thunderstorm. But I think we will later. Yesterday, oh, my God, we had a thunderstorm. I think this is actually one of the most extreme weather places in the world. We had a thunderstorm yesterday. I was in the middle of it. The wind was blowing so hard that the rain was horizontal. I was driving, and I couldn’t see two inches in front of me. The rain was really coming down. We’ve even had this week some tornadoes and water spouts. So it’s been a lively week for weather in Clearwater, Florida.
Today, we’re going to talk about how to choose and find a holistic vet for your pet. And my cats must know that’s what we’re talking about today because they’re romping all around and making a lot of noise in the background. I don’t know if you can hear it or not, but they’re here right with us. I got kittens a couple of months ago, and now they’ve already turned into cats.
But before I introduce my guest, I want to just talk for a moment about sweat. Now, this is the hottest time of the year—or I should say the sun is at its peak. And it’s hot (though it might not be the hottest). But what happens when we’re out in the heat is we sweat. And it’s a natural thing for our bodies to do to remove waste.
Sweat does two things. it removes waste. And it cools your body off. And in pre-industrial times, our bodies went through this natural cycle of not sweating in the winter, and then sweating in the summer. So it was like your body is like giving itself its own sauna.
And nowadays what we do is that we wear antiperspirants and go sit in air-conditioned buildings. And so our bodies don’t have the opportunity to do that seasonal sweat. And so then we need to go sit on a sauna or a steam room. But it’s absolutely free to go outside and sweat!
So, I want to encourage all of you to become accustomed to being a little warmer than maybe you’re comfortable with and get your body sweating. Have a little moderate exercise so that you get hot. And make sure that you drink some pure water and take a little full spectrum salt to replace the liquids and the minerals that gets lost in the sweat.
This is the ideal time to gently be removing toxic chemicals from your body by a vey natural process. And if you want to read more about that, you can go to my website, ToxicFreeNutrition.com. And there’s a blog post that I just put up there today. You could read more about it.
So, my guest today is Linda Ferguson. She is the managing director of Vet Locator, an online directory of more than 40,000 veterinary and pet healthcare professionals including emergency, holistic—which is what we’re interested in—and house calls specialty directories.
LINDA FERGUSON: Hi Debra! Thanks so much for having me on.
DEBRA: Well, thank you for being here. Tell us how you got interested in making, of all things, a pet directory, and why holistic.
LINDA FERGUSON: Well, it’s interesting. I was raised by a mother who embraced health foods and healthy living early on.
And in our household, we had a lot of animals. So I experienced eating health foods, doing regular cleanses and sharing that experience with our animals.
Then as I grew up, I got interested in the Internet. I married someone who is a programmer. And we put together a website for veterinarians when we moved to a new area and discovered that there was no easy way to find a holistic vet.
So, VetLocator.com is a directory. It actually has over 67,000 different veterinarians. But a lot of them will be two or more to a practice. And we divided those into specialties so it would make it easy for a pet owner to find just what they were looking for because when I looked—it’s been over 12 years now—I couldn’t find what I was looking for.
DEBRA: I think that’s the way a lot of people get started doing what they’re doing. I started doing what I was doing because there was no place for me to find non-toxic products.
And today, I think I am the leading directory of non-toxic products. If you want to find something non-toxic, I’m the person to come to—not that nobody else is doing it, but I think that I have more than anybody else. And I think you have more than anybody else too. If somebody is looking for a holistic vet in your area, they’re likely to find it on your website.
LINDA FERGUSON: Well, it’s interesting. There are different sites that have holistic vets. And there’s an association of holistic vets. Sometimes, going to different sites, you’ll find that it’s either hard to find exactly what you’re looking for, or in the case of googling keywords, they’re usually location-specific, but you don’t get the variety that you might want when you’re looking for a specialty, which is you want everything. You want everything and everyone that’s around you wherever you’re sitting.
So, I’ve used your site before. And I have to say, one of the things that most impressed me about it was how aesthetic it is and how easy it was for me to find things.
DEBRA: Oh, thank you.
LINDA FERGUSON: And I’ve used other sites to look for holistic things for pet owners. One of the unique features about our website is, if we don’t have an answer for a pet owner, well, actually, one of our team members will try and find that answer because I know how important it is as a pet owner, when you’re stuck trying to figure out exactly what to do with an ill animal who may not be able to communicate to you well, and you need help now, where do you turn?
So, we try and have an answer. If we don’t have an answer, we’ll try and help you get that answer which is to find a professional that fits your needs.
DEBRA: I do that too. That’s why I have my Green Living Q&A, so that people can write in and people can call me for a consultation. But even people who don’t want to pay for a consultation or can’t afford it, they can still write in to my Q&A and get answers about all kinds of things—including pets actually.
Linda, do you have pets?
LINDA FERGUSON: I do! I happen to have two cats. They are office cats.
You know how sometimes, in the way of the universe, you get something that is life-teaching for you?
DEBRA: Yes, yes.
LINDA FERGUSON: So, we have two cats that are part of our office. And it’s a brother and sister that looked nothing alike.
They’re both rescues. The sister is a runt, the runt of the litter. And so even though I had great experience helping other pet owners with pet issues, I’ve always had extremely healthy animals until now.
And so my approach to healthcare has always been a very simple one which is, if at all possible, don’t go to a doctor. Most things can be handled by diet, exercise, staying away from toxins, and a lot of liquids. And it left me a little less sensitive to people who really arrive with problems.
So, the cats, I have two cats. One is healthy, big and does great. And the little one has an immune deficiency. And so she’s extremely sensitive to fleas or anything that bites her. And she’ll get a histamine reaction that just drives her insane.
DEBRA: Well, you can tell us more about that after the break. We’re talking with Linda Ferguson. She’s the managing director of Vet Locator at VetLocator.com. And after we come back, she’s going to tell us more about the different resources that Vet Locator has to offer as well as what’s going on with her cat. And we’ll probably talk about my kittens too.
I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And this is Toxic Free Talk Radio.
And in order to give you full disclosure, Linda and I actually both live in Clearwater, Florida, and we’re friends. We know each other. And during the break, we were talking about Linda going for a walk in the beach this morning and how beautiful that was.
Linda, why don’t you tell everybody about what you saw this morning? And then, I want to say something about that.
LINDA FERGUSON: Alright. We had dramatic storms yesterday (which Debra alluded to). Our sky would go from blue sky, maybe a few scattered clouds, to a raging thunderstorm, black with tornado warnings within literally 10 minutes or something.
So, this morning, after all that drama, it was very nice and cool. This time of year in Florida, it’s usually really hot, over 80° (80° to 85° when you first wake up). I went to the beach with my husband this morning. And it was very cool up because of the storm. It was beautiful. And we saw just a few feet offshore pods of dolphins. There were lots of new babies and they were jumping and frolicking, literally clearing the water which is unusual. And a lot of birds…
And it’s the time of year when sea turtles come in from the gulf and they nest. So there are areas that get roped off so nobody disturbs the nest. So it was just this strolling, cool air with lots of frolicking birds and dolphins and fish jumping out of the water and sea turtles nest dotting the sand for an incredibly beautiful morning stroll.
DEBRA: That sounds so wonderful! And I know the beach. I go walk on the same beach that Linda walks on. And so I can imagine everything that she’s saying. I’ve seen the dolphins. It’s wonderful to live in a place where dolphins are just jumping out of the water when you go to the beach. It’s not something that I ever saw in California. So, Florida is its own interesting paradise.
But what I was thinking when she was talking to me about that is that we have our pets that are domesticated animals, but we also have our own relationships with the environment, the wild animals. You may not feed them. And they may not come purr in our hands like my cats do. But we have a responsibility for them in the same way as we have a responsibility for our pets in that we have a responsibility to have a good, healthy environment, and that they can live and grow and flourish and be happy and healthy just like anything else.
When we use toxic chemicals in our homes, they go into the environment, and they cause damage to the animals that are in the environment.
A couple of days ago, I was talking about that they measured levels of lead in songbirds and found this ever dangerously high levels of lead in songbirds. They’re picking it up from a lead mine. There’s many things you can look up on the Internet about animals being affected by toxic chemicals in the environment, not the least of which is Silent Spring by Rachel Carson where she talks about the death of songbirds from pesticide exposure.
So, Linda, tell us the difference between holistic and traditional vets?
LINDA FERGUSON: Holistic and traditional. Well, traditional veterinary care is the same as traditional medical care where the veterinarian has been trained in a protocol that involves the use of a lot of drugs and vaccinations and so on as well as how to fix and set bones and other things. If the veterinarian is a surgeon, then how to perform surgery and so on.
And it really does pattern and align itself to the choices that we have for our own health all the way down to—traditional vets, very often, do not get along with holistic vets.
DEBRA: In the same way doctors don’t get along with alternative doctors.
LINDA FERGUSON: Uh-huh, exactly the same. But what I’ve seen over time—
Oh, one of the features on our site is called Ask a Pet Pro. It allows pet owners to do like your Q&A. They’ll ask a question.
And I used to have regular vets answering questions. And some would be very free with their advice. And others would say, “You know, you’re going to get sued if you give any advice to a pet owner. They’ll just come back and sue you if it doesn’t work out.” So, I saw that and thought, “Okay, that’s pretty interesting.”
But if a holistic vet would give advice and a regular vet saw that advice, it started this controversy. And I learned early on our website deals with both sides. And there are a lot more traditional veterinarians than there are holistic vets. And the training can be different.
So, what I did was I always just take that non-controversial point. And over time, I found that there is a way that both those things exist together, and that many traditional veterinarians were bringing holistic or complementary veterinary care into their office because it has a place.
DEBRA: I think that it does. I think it does. And I’ve seen that. I’ve been in this field for more than 30 years in also dealing with my own healthcare. I’ve seen, over time, from the point where complementary healthcare was just considered something that an MD wouldn’t touch to now there being much more integration.
I have an MD who tells me to take vitamins before he’ll give me a drug. And I think that that was not the case not too long ago.
So, there was something I wanted to ask you. And now I forgot what it is. But I’m sure I’ll remember.
LINDA FERGUSON: I do have something to say if that’s okay.
DEBRA: Oh, go ahead.
LINDA FERGUSON: I started talking about two cats. Animals teach us lessons. We just need to listen to them. So the youngest cat has an immune deficiency…
DEBRA: And now we have to go to break again. I promise, Linda, when we come back from the break, we’re going to talk about your two cats. I won’t talk about anything else until we talk about your two cats.
I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. And my guest today is Linda Ferguson, managing director of VetLocator.com where you could find a holistic vet near you.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. And my guest today is my friend, Linda Ferguson, managing director of VetLocator.com where you can find holistic vets.
And I had promised Linda that she can tell us about her two cats…
LINDA FERGUSON: Well, I’m just going to finish this story on the two cats. The youngest cat has an immune deficiency. She was born with it being the runt. And the lesson that I learned from owning this particular cat is that pet owners who have a challenged animal, an animal that has a health issue, have choices. The choices can be all drug, all natural or a combination of both.
I’ve always leaned towards all natural, as I’ve said before. But in this instance, it did not help this cat. And she suffered. The alternative was all drug which is primarily Prednisone and other things that handle histamines and that I knew would shorten her life. So, what I opted to do was a blend.
Now, for this particular cat—and for all animals—she also have the choice of keeping them indoors 100% of the time (which just limits their exposure to things that might trigger problems), keeping them outdoors 100% of the time (which exposes them to a lot) or a blend of in and out.
I tried keeping her indoors, and she spiritually started to die. She started to waste away—and not because she wasn’t receiving adequate care, but because her soul needed to be outside.
DEBRA: I agree.
LINDA FERGUSON: Yes. And it was just remarkable. She was skin and bones and was losing fur. And then, I let her go in and out. She immediately put on weight. She started itching more. Her furs grew back quickly because she was in her natural environment. And what I need to do today is blend drugs—which I keep that at a minimum because drugs typically will shorten your animal’s life when they depend on them, but they can suffer too much otherwise.
And I keep pests off of her by dusting her with diatomaceous earth which she will lick off. It keeps the fleas off. I have to do it every couple of days. And she looks like [unclear 20:24] because she’s dusty. But then, that as a solution also is very good for internal and intestinal parasites as well. And so she’s doing well. She’s doing very, very well. So it’s a good thing.
DEBRA: Yes, I also use diatomaceous earth on my cats. And when we got these two kittens, they actually had a little bit of a flea problem. But I put on the diatomaceous earth, and it quit right up. They aren’t scratching or itching. No fleas around. It works very, very well.
I remember what I wanted to say. Well, I want to say two things. Now, I want to say about six things. Okay, let’s do this.
The other day, I had a guest on, Nathanael Johnson, where we were talking about his book, All Natural, which the conversation was about the difference between the industrial viewpoint of doing things versus the all-natural viewpoint. And our whole hour was devoted to that. I think that we live in a time where we want to be all-natural. But even if we wanted to do it 100%, we often can’t for two reasons.
One is that we’re tied to the industrial complex, most of us, in order to get things like food and water (although we could go off the grid. I mean, there are ways to do it). But if you want to have things like the Internet and the life that we have now, movies and cars and things, then that’s an industrial life. And you can’t do it 100%.
But there are many, many things that we can do to be moving in the direction of being more natural. And it’s really important that we do that because our bodies really are of nature. And I think that pets even more so.
They’re animals. They’re not thinking in the same way that we’re thinking as human beings. And they need those cues from nature. They get excited, the cats get excited by seeing the birds and the lizards or the grasshoppers. It’s like they belong with them. And I think that animals need to have a natural environment. They need to be able to go in and out. That’s my viewpoint.
But I also think that there’s a problem today with—this goes to the holistic vets. There’s a problem today with animals getting illnesses that they didn’t use to get that are human illnesses like cancer and thyroid problems and things like that. And I think it’s because of the toxic chemical exposure.
I don’t think that there’s been a lot of studies done. I know that there’s one book that used to be on print that I don’t think is any longer. But I don’t think there’s a lot of studies on what are the effects of toxic chemicals on the home on household pets.
There are studies on how household toxics will affect humans, but not pets. And pets are much, much smaller. We get into this when we’re talking about children and their exposures to household toxics versus adults in that their bodies are smaller. So the concentration of the amount of toxic chemicals compared to the ratio of their body size is much, much greater than an adult would have. And if you compare the size of an adult human body with the size of say a cat, it’s just so many times. I can’t even calculate how much more they’re getting in relation to their body size.
So if, for no other reason, people who love their pets should have a non-toxic home.
LINDA FERGUSON: I agree with you. There are a lot of regulations that require a pet owner to apply toxics and poisons to their pets.
DEBRA: What kind of regulations? Tell us about that.
LINDA FERGUSON: Vaccinations, vaccinations in the immune system.
In most city living areas where there are cities, you’ll find that there are requirements that you have your pet vaccinated for a particular stretch of time. And those vaccinations are toxic to your animal. And most animals will build up a level of vaccine in their system that doesn’t disperse. It just continues to build up.
So, one thing that pet owners do is they do—I think the term is “titer.” But it’s drawing blood to see what the levels of vaccine are as to whether they need a new one.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. We’re here with Linda Ferguson, managing director of VetLocator.com. And we’re talking about toxic chemical exposures that affect your pet and finding a holistic vet. And we’ll talk more of these subjects when we come back.
DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. And my guest today is Linda Ferguson, managing director of VetLocator.com where you can find a holistic vet, ask a question and get connected with the right professional.
Linda, in the last segment, we were talking about your choices with your cats about being part drug and part natural. And before we go on with another subject, I want a second thought. For me, personally, as a human body, I am always looking to be as natural as possible—and also with my pets. I think that’s the right thing to do because that’s our nature. Our bodies come from nature.
But we also live in an industrial world. There are illnesses that our bodies have that are industrial. And I think sometimes I find it necessary in my own life or with my pets to—where the natural thing doesn’t work.
And sometimes, the natural thing doesn’t work. And it’s not because nature fails in my opinion. It’s because we’re being exposed to all these toxic chemicals that are out of the realm of nature, and we can’t always use natural thing to handle the problem.
So, I just want to say that I’m totally in agreement with you, that if there comes a time where it’s a life-saving thing, or not even waiting until there’s a question about it being life-saving, there may come a time when we’re very grateful that those things are there. But we don’t want to take the risks of using them unless it’s absolutely necessary.
So, Linda, tell us some of the services that a holistic vet would offer.
LINDA FERGUSON: Here’s a list of things that you can search by on our website. You can search by acupuncture, aromatherapy, chiropractic, Bach flower essences, Gold Bead implants, herbal treatments, straight holistic (just a generalized term), homeopathy, hydrotherapy, massage therapy, NAET allergy treatment (which is a very extensive treatment using the allergen to cause someone to not be so allergic by a gradient approach), oxygen therapy, physical therapy, prolotherapy, reflexology, Reiki, T-touch or therapeutic touch, and then holistic pet workshops so that the owners learn how to apply some of the treatments to their pets, as well as a pet communicator (you can look up a pet communicator on our website).
DEBRA: Like the horse whisperer.
LINDA FERGUSON: Like a horse whisperer, yes.
DEBRA: Yes, yes. Well, I think you probably communicate with your pets really well.
LINDA FERGUSON: I do!
DEBRA: I do too. And my cats, I’ve had cats—all my pets. I’ve never had a pet that wasn’t a cat. But I noticed in the past that there are certain ways that my cats would communicate with me. If they wanted food, they’d kind of herd me over to the food bowl.
But these cats that I have now, they communicate with me with pictures. And so, all of a sudden, I’ve got a picture in my mind that “Oh, I better go feed them.” And I think that’s pretty cool. I like that.
LINDA FERGUSON: That’s interesting.
DEBRA: I just get an idea. There was one night—we have a cat door, so they can go in and out. And there was one night that one cat was inside, and the other cat was still outside. And this one inside just came and got me and brought me over to the cat door. And she was just really broadcasting to me “You need to find the other cat.” And it was very interesting to see how clearly I could get that intuitive message from her.
Okay, so what are the most popular treatments?
LINDA FERGUSON: It’s a blend. But I wanted to bring up something here because my experience in working with pet owners—and a lot of times, a pet owner will say, “Who do you recommend?” And just like working with a doctor, the very first thing that a pet owner needs to find is someone who has similar beliefs as they do, and yet knows a lot more.
DEBRA: I love that. Well, that would apply to choosing a practitioner as a human too.
LINDA FERGUSON: Sure!
LINDA FERGUSON: It’s challenging. And I have an interesting story again about the same cat, the same poor, little cat that I have. A friend was watching her. She got out over the holidays when we were gone. And both the cats got out. Someone took the brother and adopted him right away. And someone different turned the little one into the pound.
And so, we got both the cats back. But she was so traumatized that she immediately got very ill. It was still the holiday season.
And it was over the weekend. She started sneezing and wouldn’t eat. And I couldn’t find a regular vet that was open. But I did find one that was a homeopathist. I’ve never used that as a treatment, but I knew that this cat would die if she didn’t receive treatment.
And so, in she went. And the practitioner was formerly a veterinarian who chose to go a holistic route and voluntarily gave up his license to practice traditional veterinary medicine.
LINDA FERGUSON: Yeah, that was pretty interesting. He tended to be somewhat of an angry man person to person. But person to animal, he was incredible. And I could tell, the energy that he gave to my cat saved her life. She had to take drops and do a variety of things. But she almost immediately responded to the treatment.
And my observation was that he was certain he could save her life. And because he was certain, I was certain it would work as well. And because of both of our certainties, the cat responded in that same way.
The end shot was she’s still alive and doing well today. I have a huge respect for people who learn a challenging thing.
Homeopathy is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. And it definitely has a very good place for people who want to try it to see if it works. It’s an interesting technology and interesting application. I don’t use it that often. But when I need it, I’m glad it’s there.
DEBRA: Yeah, I had some homeopathy done on my own body. It’s a very interesting thing. I used to live in Marin County, California. So I think I’ve tried all the natural remedies, alternative remedies that exists in Marin County, California. I think I’ve experienced them all.
LINDA FERGUSON: Yeah, I have to make a trip out there. I like that area a lot.
DEBRA: So you mentioned some treatments that I’m not familiar with in that list that you gave us earlier. Gold Bead implants?
LINDA FERGUSON: Yeah, again, it just depends on the pet owner’s belief and who they’re working with. It’s one of the treatments that they may be offered. It’s not something that I have a whole lot of familiarity with. I think that acupuncture and putting certain metals that create an energy around a certain area of the cat’s body is what that is. But I’m not 100% certain what it is. I know that a number of our practitioners have offered it. And they’re the ones who swing very far to the left of alternatives.
DEBRA: Yeah, yeah. Well, I think that there’s a lot of different practices out there, all of which can be appropriate at the right time for the right person and the right pet. It’s just a matter of making your choice and getting a good match, wouldn’t you agree?
LINDA FERGUSON: I would absolutely agree. I wanted to really just validate you for your work with toxins.
DEBRA: Thank you.
LINDA FERGUSON: I think what a lot of people miss is that if you start out in a very toxic-laden environment, if you surround yourself with things that are toxic to you, to your pets, in the space that you’re in, you start out already having to solve problem […] And maybe they don’t affect you directly, but as in the case of me inheriting a very fragile pet, it affects the pet. And it can affect your children.
And if you would just take steps in your life to eliminate those things, you’re already so far ahead of the curb that, should you become challenged later, it’s a lot easier to fix the problem.
DEBRA: Yes, it is, it is. It’s like why get up every morning and have your life start by bottling toxic chemicals when it’s so easy to remove them.
We’re almost at the end of our hour together. I so appreciate you having been here, Linda. I want to just close by saying that I talk a lot about humans taking liquid zeolite as an easy way to remove toxic chemicals from your body. I’d love for people to know that pets also can take liquid zeolite. You can just put it in their water bowl, a few drops, and it will remove toxic chemicals from their bodies too. And since they’re exposed even more than we are, that’s something that I think is a good thing to do.
So, if you just go to ToxicFreeTalkRadio.com, look for the magnet and click there. It’ll tell you all about using zeolite.
And I think that that’s about all the time we have today. You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd.
LINDA FERGUSON: Thank you, Debra.
DEBRA: Thanks, Linda.