quine veterinarian Dr. Donald J. Baker, DVM, CA,
(Certified Acupuncturist), practices both holistic
and Western veterinary medicine in his private
practice and has been doing so for over 30 years.
Hamptons Pet chases him down for advice for novice horse
owners and insight into holistic veterinary care.
What is the most important thing a horse
owner needs to know about equine veterinary care?
One must have proper preventative care
in place. Routine, common sense care for the horse [helps] to
keep veterinarian visits to a minimum. Have good hoof care, a
blacksmith, nutrition, a de-worming program, periodic dental
care and necessary vaccinations.
As a holistic equine veterinarian, what can patients expect
that is different?
Holistic veterinary medicine must consider everything; I
use complementary techniques to both diagnose and treat.
Acupuncture and trigger points can be used for diagnostic
purposes, and those same points may be used for treatment
and therapy. Depending on the condition, we may use herbs and
As one of the first to offer acupuncture on Long Island,
what difference can be seen after treatment?
Generally, a difference can be seen after the very first
treatment. The gait may have been off or a horse had an ailment
prior to the acupuncture treatment. After the treatment, a rider
will often tell me, “What I was feeling is gone.”
What is currently happening in integrative equine medicine
that excites you the most?
Westernized herbs that have been critically evaluated by
scientific methods [and] have now been proven to have real
pharmaceutical impact on the health of the horse without side
effects, and are shown to be as effective as traditional
What ailment do you see most that is treatable using herbs?
Chronic musculoskeletal problems like arthritis, dermatitis,
allergies and autoimmune diseases. With colitis, herbs like the
System Saver are effective at quieting down the gut. Herbs can
even be used for preventative maintenance in horses by
preventing enzymes from breaking down cartilage.
What do you recommend as the best diet?
The foundation of any horse’s diet is good quality hay. They
only need grain when they are in heavy work and the hay itself is
not providing enough calories. Poor quality hay requires
supplementation; good quality hay requires minimal
supplementation. I recommend sweet feed over pellets.
For more information on Dr. Baker, visit caninesystemsaver.com. PH
A Horse Is a Horse, of Course
Equine expert tackles ailments from an integrative and holistic perspective.
BY NANCY E. HASSEL
HERBS CAN EVEN BE USED FOR
AMARYLLIS FARM EQUINE RESCUE PRESENTS
Dr. Don Baker administers a supplement
while his daughter, Rebeca, assists.