According to statistic from the National Center for Health Statistics, almost 40 percent of Americans in 2007 utilized holistic medicine (also referred to as integrative/complementary/alternative medicine).
The trend is growing in an increasingly health-conscious society wading in uncertain times in the healthcare industry. It makes logical sense to wonder if the holistic medicine interest will expand to a society that deeply cares for its pets (a recent survey conducted by qSample, as an example, detailed that pet owners spent $27 billion on animal medication and visits to the veterinarian in 2013).
Holistic medicine would likely be attractive for pets as why it is attractive to their owners: It is a natural, nonintrusive, and often affordable wellness modality that focuses on preventative treatments and the mental/emotional wellbeing of the patient in order to maximize healing. It is mainly a complement to traditional medicine. For both humans and animals it may include such treatments as herbology, acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic.
The interest and research for holistic pet healthcare are only at the alpha stages, though. Onsite statistics from The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Associate reveal it has approximately 808 members in the U.S. This may seem like a healthy number, but one must note that a 2013 American Veterinary Medical Association report placed the number of active veterinarians at 92,000. This puts veterinarians offering holistic medicine at considerably less than one percent! (.8 percent to be exact).
Certainly the AHVMA does not include all holistic veterinarians, as there is no regulatory body, but it is evident that holistic medicine has not translated into the pet healthcare in any impactful manner.
Again, this does not mean that pet owners are lagging in love or funds for their animals. According to a 2014 survey by Kroger Co., 61 percent of pet owners admit they would spend between $100 and $1,000 for life saving medical treatment. Another 15 percent would be willing to pay between $1,000 and $3,000 for treatment. Ten percent of owners said they would be willing to pay $3,000 or more for medical care if their pet required it.
So why the discrepancy? Why have nearly half of Americans embraced holistic medicine, but not done so when it comes to their animals?
These are questions that presently have no answer, only speculation. Yet in marketing where there are murky horizons it often means there is undiscovered fertile territory just waiting to be harvested—with the right research and tools. This is certainly the case with qSample, in this instance, as one of our specialties is managing and developing veterinarian panels.
After all, there was a time when the idea of holistic medicine was mostly alien to consumers, not more than a California dream or an Oprah rerun. Now it is a $34 billion annual industry, and that does not include yoga pants and other accessories!
Even an individual with his or her head lowered in downward dog can see the potential of holistic medicine in pet healthcare.