Integrative veterinary medical education and consensus guidelines for an integrative veterinary medicine curriculum within veterinary colleges
Integrative veterinary medicine (IVM) describes the combination of complementary and alternative therapies with conventional care and is guided by the best available evidence. Veterinarians frequently encounter questions about complementary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM) in practice, and the general public has demonstrated increased interest in these areas for both human and animal health. Consequently, veterinary students should receive adequate exposure to the principles, theories, and current knowledge supporting or refuting such techniques. A proposed curriculum guideline would broadly introduce students to the objective evaluation of new veterinary treatments while increasing their preparation for responding to questions about IVM in clinical practice. Such a course should be evidence-based, unbiased, and unaffiliated with any particular CAVM advocacy or training group. All IVM courses require routine updating as new information becomes available. Controversies regarding IVM and CAVM must be addressed within the course and throughout the entire curriculum. Instructional honesty regarding the uncertainties in this emerging field is critical. Increased training of future veterinary professionals in IVM may produce an openness to new ideas that characterizes the scientific method and a willingness to pursue and incorporate evidence-based medicine in clinical practice with all therapies, including those presently regarded as integrative, complementary, or alternative.
Keywords: Complementary and alternative veterinary medicine, Integrative veterinary course, Integrative veterinary curriculum, Integrative veterinary medicine, Veterinary education.