Can You Spare $1 a Month?

Story at-a-glance -

  • Dr. Richard Palmquist, Research Chair of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation, talks about the critical need for research funding for integrative therapies
  • The foundation needs $20 million to conduct the clinical trials necessary to put integrative medicine tools into the hands of veterinarians
  • If one million people gave just $1 a month to the foundation, it could fund $12 million a year toward the research and growth of alternative healing therapies for animals

By Dr. Becker

My guest today is Dr. Richard Palmquist, Chief Medical Officer in charge of integrative medicine at Centinela Animal Hospital in Inglewood, California.

Dr. Palmquist is also past president of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation (AHVMF), and is the current Research Chair, in charge of the foundation’s research efforts.

Pet Parents and Veterinarians Alike Are Interested in Seeing More Research into Integrative Therapies

Dr. Palmquist explains that consumer demand for integrative veterinary care is massive because people realize its benefits. Pet guardians are actively seeking alternative care for their animals, and finding relief where none existed before.

In addition to pet parents, members of both the conventional and holistic veterinary community are interested in seeing more research into complimentary and alternative veterinary medicine (CAVM).

The problem isn’t a lack of interest, that’s for sure. The problem is a lack of funding for CAVM research.

The AHVMF Needs $20 Million to Transform the Practice of Veterinary Medicine

There is plenty of funding available for basic scientific research (bench or developmental research), but there’s not much available for clinical trials. “We change medicine by doing clinical trials,” says Dr. Palmquist.

The AHVM foundation is interested only in clinical trials that are valid and unbiased, and also humane. They don’t want to induce disease to perform a study, so they must look for existing conditions in veterinary patients and insure there are enough clinical cases to conduct a trial. They also must find researchers to oversee each trial.

All those qualifiers are more easily met than finding funding. Dr. Palmquist estimates the foundation needs to raise around $20 million to conduct the studies necessary to transform the practice of veterinary medicine. About $1.1 million has been spent so far, and preliminary study results are very favorable.

That $1.1 million took three years to acquire, but according to Dr. Palmquist, it was 20 times the amount people thought the foundation could raise when they began their fundraising efforts. In his view, the $1.1 million is a testament to the love and affection people have for their animals, and the real need in the world for integrative veterinary therapies.

Imagine If One Million People Donated Just $1 a Month …

The AHVM foundation needs both large and small donors to meet their fundraising goals. If one million people donated just $1 a month, it would add up to $12 million a year in funding. There are researchers ready and waiting to conduct studies, and there are many important research projects ready to go if they get funded.

The foundation is receiving research funding requests from all over the world, but even though it can be more cost effective to conduct certain studies in other countries, oftentimes research isn’t valued unless it’s done here in the US. Currently the foundation has projects underway at Cornell University and at the integrative veterinary medicine department at Louisiana State University.

Laser Therapy: One Example of an Alternative Healing Tool with Little Research to Back It Up

A good example of an integrative treatment that needs research funding is laser therapy. Lasers are in wide use in the veterinary profession, yet there’s very little scientific evidence to back up their use.

Dr. Palmquist makes the point that, “Twenty years ago, if we’d said we want to heal animals with light, it would have been like someone talking about witchcraft.”

But we know that cells emit biophotons, and that biophotons are involved in the regulation of vital functions within an animal’s body. And we know that small changes in light can promote healing.

Dr. Palmquist learned about laser therapy at an American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association (AHVMA) conference 25 years ago, and even healed a problem with his knee with lasers at the same conference. Yet all these years later there is still very little scientific evidence to substantiate the use of laser therapy.

The goal of the AHVM foundation is to benefit all veterinarians – traditional, holistic, and integrative – by providing them with more tools to use to improve and maintain the health of their patients.

How You Can Help

To donate, go to the AHVMF website, click on Ways to Give on the top menu, and there you’ll find a number of different ways to make a donation. If you’re not comfortable donating online, scroll down to the bottom of the Ways to Give page, and you’ll see a Ways to Donate Online and Offline link.

At, you can also read amazing stories of animals who have been healed with holistic medicine, as well as stories of animal teachers. There’s also a blog that reports on some of the projects the foundation is working on. If you have any questions while visiting the site, you can send the foundation an email at [email protected].


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