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Holistic Veterinary Clinic

Holistic Vet Dublin is housed within Portmarnock Vet Clinic. This makes Portmarnock Vet Clinic the first fully integrated veterinary practice, combining scientific methods with holistic, natural therapies in the treatment of animals. Holistic treatments come into their own when there is no conventional treatment available or where the side effects of pharmaceutical treatments affect the animal's quality of life adversely, such as the use of long term steroids or immune-suppressive drugs. We have found that many chronic illnesses can be effectively treated holistically and it can also be useful in improving recovery from surgery, speeding an animal's return to full vitality.

As we are skilled in both conventional and holistic practices, we can identify cases where conventional medicine is in the best interests of the pet or where a holistic approach will produce the best results. Often we use a combination of both.

Integrative Approach

All of the practitioners at Portmarnock Vets are fully trained, licenced veterinary surgeons. They are experienced in conventional medicine as well as the less widely available but increasingly popular holistic approach so they are in a good position to advise which is the correct, more effective form of treatment for your pet, whatever their problem, from a broken nail to a terminal illness and everything in between. We always consider your animal's welfare to be paramount and have the means to resort whichever form of treatment fits you and your pet at that point in time, whether it be a course of painkillers or antibiotics, a homeopathic remedy or a series of acupuncture sessions or major orthopaedic surgery. This is known as an integrative approach.


This is an ancient form of medicine based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe and the body in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance the body is healthy. Energy called "Qi" (pronounced "chee") flows along specific pathways called meridians throughout the body. This constant flow keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the energy gets blocked, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function or illness. Acupuncture can release the blocked Qi in the body stimulating a natural healing response through various physiological systems. It works in the same way for animals as it does for people and is particularly effective for controlling pain in musculo-skeletal problems such as arthritis and spinal problems, reducing the requirement for pharmaceutical painkillers.


Homeopathy is a natural, gentle and effective system of medicine which uses remedies derived from the natural world ie plants, animals and minerals to stimulate the body to heal itself. It works on a principle of like cure like and can effect a permanent cure. The important part of the process is to match the remedy to the patient. In order to do this a detailed history must be taken so the first consultation can last for up to an hour. In this time we talk about your pet, their personality, likes and dislikes. We examine your pet and go through the medical history. We discuss diet and can advise supplements. The first consultation is just the start. The response of your pet to the first remedy influences subsequent remedies as we slowly progress towards a healthier happier pet. It is non invasive and highly cost effective.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

TCM is linked closely with the acupuncture we provide. It is part of the traditional, more deeply healing form of treatment. It is a type of holistic medicine which has been used successfully for 3,500 years in China. It utilises the body's vital energy or chi, which is out of balance when an animal is unwell. It is safe and natural and can be used to treat animals which fail to respond to conventional medicine of for conditions which there is no conventional treatment available or the drug side effects are too severe such as in cancer or chronic skin conditions.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine is the dispensing and prescribing of natural remedies derived from plants and botanical sources. Many modern drugs are derived from plants and botanicals. We prescribe them in a simailar fasion to pharmaceuticals but in the form nature intended them to be taken, along with the nutrients in the whole plant, making them often more effective and with fewer side effects than the more synthesised pharmaceutical versions. They are used for long term control of conditions such as IBS, cardiac failure and arthritis. They are effective in treating cancer and are used for natural parasite prevention.

Detoxifying From Pharmaceuticals

Many of the patients we see for long term illnesses have been on pharmaceutical medicines for prolonged periods of time, suppressing their immune systems. Sometimes a particularly sensitive animal can be affected by just one dose of a certain drug and has never been well since. Our holistic approach gives us the tools to boost the immune system and stimulate the liver, kidneys and other detoxifying organs in a way which is not possible with conventional medicine. This can help the animals to recover as well as treating the underlying cause of the illness that called for the use of the drug in the first place.

Bach Flower Remedies

Developed by Dr Edward Bach in the 1900s, these remedies are similar to homeopathic remedies. They focus more on an animal's emotional issues. The most famous version is "rescue remedy" such is a combination of several of these plant remedies and is widely available and used on humans and animals today. They can be used as an adjunct to homeopathy where required.

Australian Bush Flower Remedies

Similar to Bach Flower Remedies these essences are made from plants and are used for emotional and behavioural problems in adjunct to homeopathy. They are becoming increasingly popular amongst human naturopaths and holistic practitioners and like all holistic approaches they work as well on animals.

Natural Feeding

We are what we eat. Nutrition is key to a healthy, well pet and it is important that your pet is on a healthy natural diet so that he or she can heal. We stock natural, fresh and raw foods at Portmarnock Vet Clinic as well as the usual veterinary diets. We can advise where to buy good quality, cost effective pet food or how to make a healthy, balanced diet at home. Different dogs and cats have different requirements, based on species, breed, age and disease conditions, we are experienced in advising and we know what works. As vets we are also familiar with prescription and veterinary marketed formulations and can advise accordingly.

Natural Parasite Control

We stock a range of products which are used to control fleas, ticks, worms and mites, both chemical and natural. Whilst it is sometimes necessary to use chemical products we feel that blanket use of parasiticides is not healthy for your pet or the environment. We are aware of their potential effects on the bee population. Many of the products we use, although safe have not been tested for efficacy but anecdotal evidence proves that they work. They are generally cheaper than the chemical options. We can advise on all forms of parasite control as our experienced vets are familiar with all of the products on the market. We advise sending your pet's faeces for a worm count on a regular basis if you are not using pharmaceutical products, especially if you live in an area where lung worm is prevalent.

Prebiotics & Probiotics

It has been widely known for some time that gut health is a key to general health and wellbeing. Recent research into the gut biome shows that an imbalance in the bacterial flora (bacteria and yeasts in the intestine) can lead not only to digestive disturbances and cancer but to emotional and neurological problems. The gut is being referred to as a second brain where the bacteria in the bowel can directly influence emotion, appetite and feelings of stress and vice versa. The holistic approach has taken this into account for centuries with bowel nosodes being developed by homeopaths at the turn of the 20th century. Diet is paramount in this holistic approach and we can also advise on and recommend the use of reliable and effective prebiotics (which induce the growth of healthy bacterial organisms) and probiotics (live bacteria and yeasts to replace the lost ones).


A neutraceutical is a supplement derived from food which is held to have health benefits in addition to its nutritional value. They have been popular in the veterinary market for some years. Products vary in efficacy and quality as there is very little regulation. The vets at Portmarnock have been using these products since they first hit the veterinary market 30 years ago and know which ones to dispense. Many of these neutraceuticals such as glucosamine and essential fatty acids can be as effective as the pharmaceutical options but are lacking in side effects.



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