Dr. Julie Sheil

by Neal Sivula


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History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

I first became interested in Veterinary Medicine as a career when I was in college.  I attended a tour of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and I knew immediately that I wanted to become a Veterinarian.  The fact that I could combine my interest in medicine and my love of animals and make a career out of it was exciting for me.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

 After 15 years in private practice, I became frustrated with the limitations of Western Veterinary Medicine.  I was practicing the best medicine I could practice, yet there were still patients who needed more.  I had personally benefitted from holistic therapies, so I decided to further my training so that I could offer comprehensive care to my patients.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Dr. Neal Sivula has been a mentor and a source of inspiration and support.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I received my Veterinary Acupuncture Certification through the Chi Institute.  I also have certifications in Reiki (Level II) and NAET (Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique, Basic).  I plan to further my Holistic training to include Veterinary Chiropractic and Chinese Herbology.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

 I work in a small animal private practice with 3 other Veterinarians.  I am the only practitioner at our hospital with training in Holistic Medicine.  We have 3 Registered Veterinary Technicians and 6 Veterinary Assistants.

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What is your physical practice environment?  

My practice environment is a typical, busy small animal practice.

What is a normal workday like for you?

 I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “normal” workday in veterinary medicine, but I divide my time among surgery, outpatient care, inpatient care and acupuncture cases.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

My library is my favorite tool.  Much of what I love about being a veterinarian is that I get to learn something new almost every day.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

I am inspired by veterinarians who think outside the box.  The veterinary profession will continue to move forward as long as we veterinarians are willing to pave the way with hard work and open minds.  Also, the resilience of my patients and their acceptance of the treatments I provide boggles my mind and will always provide inspiration for me to do the best that I can for them.

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What are your favorite conferences?  

I routinely attend the Central Veterinary Conference in Kansas City.  I look forward to becoming a regular attendee at conferences held by the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association and the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

When it comes to my personal health, I am open to exploring Holistic therapies. I have gained much insight and inspiration (and health benefits!) from the professionals who provide these services to me.  I have received treatments and have been inspired from discussions with my acupuncturist, chiropractor, and Reiki practitioner.

Do you have any other professional activities?

No

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I have a wonderful husband and a great network of friends with which to share my free time.

What do you like to do away from the office?

In my personal time, I enjoy cooking and exploring the food culture of Cleveland (where I live).  I also play acoustic guitar and sing lead vocals in a band.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I anticipate the future of Holistic Veterinary Medicine to be one of greater acceptance.  That is, as talented holistic practitioners become more prevalent so does the willingness of veterinarians who accept and offer non-traditional therapies.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

My advice to those just starting out is to work hard and always strive to do your best for your patients; always be willing to consider new forms of treatment; be rigorous in your evaluation of new therapies and “first, do no harm”; enjoy what you do as it is such a privilege to be able to do it; and educate others as to the benefits of what you do.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

I am happy to see the continued acceptance of Holistic Veterinary Medicine by the veterinary profession. 

 


Dr. Mushtaq Memon

by Neal Sivula


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History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

At age 17, after my older brother (an engineer) convinced me of the advantages of being a veterinarian. 

There is a cultural twist to the answer.  In Pakistan (my birth place), as in many other developing countries, Vet Med is not the first choice for students or parents to send their kids.  During late 1960's in Pakistan, Vet Med was probably the third or fourth choice after human medicine, engineering and business.  It is changing, and Vet Med is gaining some ‘respect’ in societies of developing countries.  During my MS in Animal Reproduction in Pakistan, Dr. Manzoor Ahmed (a US/Sweden-trained teacher) inspired me to become Theriogenologist.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

A long story  --- I was chair of the WSU-Vet College Curriculum Committee.  Our vet alumni survey came back showing ~70% of the survey respondent vets mentioned their poor education in Holistic/CAVM.  The practitioners wished to see the subjects taught in vet college.  Our college administration at that time wanted to ignore it, but I took upon myself.  With the help of a private company, we were able to invite Drs. Xie, Beebe, etc., and they gave a day-long course in CAVM.  I became curious, and at Xie’s advise took acupuncture (ACP) training and became certified.  Since last 4 years, I have been trying to incorporate CAVM in our curriculum with limited success. 

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Drs. Xie and Beebe would qualify to be mentors in ACP/TCVM.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

ACP at WSU-Vet Teaching Hosp.  Chi Institute. 

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Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

A typical Vet Teaching Hospital (VTH) with numerous specialties.

What is your physical practice environment?  

I work in a typical VTH. 

What is a normal workday like for you?

~10hrs/day

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I can’t live without my computer anymore!

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Curiosity, the unknowns, and above all, working with people – students, clients, etc. and making a difference.

What are your favorite conferences?  

 I am in transition --- from Theriogenology conferences to Holistic, etc.  I am also involved in Fulbright Program, and as an Ambassador of the organization, I attend quite a few meetings related to the program. 

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

How can I change the world!

Do you have any other professional activities?

 Global Vet Med.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

With age, I am becoming aware of the real important things in my life.  Family has become a central part of my activities.  I also have come to accept – ‘you win some and you lose some’! 

What do you like to do away from the office?

Travel, physical exercise and involvement in various civic activities.

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The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

Excellent!  The public is realizing that Western medicine doesn’t have all the answers for their/their pets health.  That Holistic medicine has a role to play in keeping humans and animals healthy.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Don’t get discouraged.  As soon as you see some successful outcomes of your diagnosis/treatment, you would become believer and stay with it.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

New emphasis on disease prevention.  Global Health.  


Dr. Rob Silver

by Neal Sivula


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History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

As clichéd as it sounds, I’ve always had a huge interest in animals, and have always felt like I had a “connection” with them, that I could understand what they were up to. Sometimes I felt that I could actually “communicate” with them.  I can remember as a young boy, growing up in suburban Philadelphia, “trekking” through the local parks and wooded areas and creeks in search of song birds and wildlife. I would sit still for hours in a hidden spot and just watch them and imagine that I was off in the wilderness somewhere in prehistoric times before humans populated the planet.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

When I was 19 years old (I’m in my sixties, now!) I spent some time with an older cousin of mine who was quite active in the macrobiotic community. He introduced me to Chinese medicine, face and hand diagnosis, and the concept that food was medicine, and could be individually modified to each individual’s needs.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

One of my classmates from veterinary school at Colorado State became disillusioned with the harsh and violent way that conventional veterinary medicine can sometimes be, and studied in Santa Fe to become a human acupuncturist.

She introduced me to Jake Fratkin, OMD, an expert in the use of Chinese herbal formulas (for people), who lived in Boulder. Jake is a published author and an international expert in the Chinese herbal medicine community. I moved to Boulder in 1993, and learned a lot from Jake.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

1. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine: Acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapies; Food therapy both TCVM-based and clinical nutrition using home prepared diets, nutraceutical and botanical therapies.

2. Conventional veterinary medicine: Colorado State University and the crucible of practice.

At the time I became interested in learning more about holistic modalities (early to mid 1980’s), there were no veterinary-specific training courses available, except for the IVAS Basic course in acupuncture, which I took and became certified in 1993.

I took a lot of courses designed for human practitioners, and transposed that information in my veterinary practice to benefit my patients. I had the honor, and pleasure to co-teach for years with Jake Fratkin, OMD and Huisheng Xie, DVM, PhD in what was an early attempt to establish a Basic Course in Chinese Herbal medicine for IVAS from 1996 to 2001. This was before Dr Xie established his amazing Chi Institute in Gainesville, FL.

I cooked professionally in a macrobiotic restaurant in the Village in NYC in the late sixties, after I left Columbia University during the student unrest, and, from that experience with food prepared according to TCM principles, was able to adapt my cooking experiences to my patients. I have taken advanced training in conventional veterinary nutrition, although not for certification or advanced degrees.

As there are currently no certification courses for nutraceutical and botanical therapies to address clinical diseases in veterinary patients, I gained my knowledge and practical experience in the use of these novel and emerging veterinary therapies, through my 25 years of day-to-day veterinary practice using them. This is still how I explore the clinical effectiveness of a nutraceutical I am evaluating. I start with published evidence derived from publications. I then apply this nutraceutical or botanical to the appropriate problems in my own patients, and, over the years, this has allowed me, through an evidence-guided, empirical approach, to develop highly-effective nutraceutical and botanical protocols for a wide variety of veterinary clinical complaints.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

My practice has varied between solo and having a full to part time associate. We’ve had usually about 4 support personnel, including a receptionist, and 3 technicians. My practice has been Integrative, with a strong emphasis on diagnostics and blending the best of both conventional and alternative therapies.

What is your physical practice environment?  

2800 square feet shopping center practice, lots of windows and natural sunlight with high ceilings and a bright color pattern make for a very appealing practice environment. We also keep it immaculate, using only natural and green cleaning agents to avoid those smells that are characteristic of a veterinary practice. Clients would always tell us how my practice didn’t smell or feel like a veterinary practice. I think the non-medicinal smells also helped to re-assure my patients and reduce their stresses at being at a veterinarian.

What is a normal workday like for you?

I sold my practice 2 years ago, so that I could work more with the animal nutraceutical and natural diet industries. I don’t miss the hassles of practice management and HR, but I do miss the hands-on and heart space that daily practice can offer. I plan on re-entering the world of practice as a part-time employee next year.

Currently, I work from my home office, consulting and providing technical support for the products I've designed. I am continually in the process of developing new and useful integrative products for veterinary use.

My typical day would involve getting my young daughter off to school, then either sitting down and writing, corresponding or researching information, or getting out of the house and doing something active. If I work in the morning, then in the afternoon, I get out and do something fun. That schedule is reversed if I work in the afternoon, then I'll be getting out to do something fun in the morning.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I love my Class 3 laser and my line of RxVitamins products. Most people don’t realize that this line of nutraceuticals developed directly as a result of my own practice needs. So, I love practicing with RxVitamins’ products, as they work so well for my own style of practice.

I also love my acupuncture needles. There is something so simple about being able to take six teeny little needles and be able to influence so much good in a patient!

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

That heart connection with our four legged, winged and slithering friends. The intellectual challenge of understanding a complicated case. I also find myself getting involved with my clients, learning about their lives as I work up their pets' cases, and often that human-human connection is a real driving force for me.

What are your favorite conferences?  

I attend a lot of meetings, speak at quite a few. AHVMA conference and AAVA conferences are a must for me to attend. This year I spoke at the Feline Practitioners Association meeting and was very impressed with the quality of the conference experience.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

Walk in nature. Spend some quiet time every day. Hug my dog. Hug my wife. Hug my daughter. Play music. Have fellowship with other holistic practitioners. Lately I've been speaking to veterinary students, and I love how fresh and new and exciting everything is to them. Seeing the veterinary profession through their eyes re-invigorates my own perspectives on practice.

Do you have any other professional activities?

1. I currently am Chief Medical Officer for RxVitamins for Pets, designing their products, testing them and providing technical materials to assist the vets with their usage.

2. I provide technical consultations with Nature’s Variety pet foods. They have me help with food safety issues and do some technical writing and webinars to their customers

3. I am developing a website for people whose pets have cancer, to provide educational information about how diet, nutraceuticals and botanicals can help to provide these pets who have been diagnosed with serious life-threatening diseases some quality of life, and to help the guardians through their decision-making process, and also, very importantly, to provide an on-line community where we will have discussion groups and blogs on the topics of pet-loss, pet hospice care and anticipatory grief, as well as other issues important to the family who has a pet with cancer.

4. Recently I've been involved in the formation of a professional organization of holistic vets in Colorado, using virtual meetings on the internet as the vehicle for our meetings. Unfortunately, its not been easy finding other colleagues who have the available time to help me with this process, so its been slow-going.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I try to schedule myself wisely, and block out special time for myself, my family, my pets, my work, and also some time just to do nothing. Those supposedly “non-productive” moments can be the biggest source of vision and inspiration for me. When my mind is quiet, the best thoughts come.

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What do you like to do away from the office?

I think the best part about having sold my practice is being able to work from home. I also think the worst thing about having sold my practice is being able to work from home! (You never get away from it!)

When I’m not working, I like to play my guitar, cook, dabble in photography, read, ride my bicycle, play with my old blind dog, hang out with my family. My newest passion is swimming, and I try to go 3-4 times weekly, its great exercise, and feels so “cleansing”.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I see the boundaries between holistic medicine and conventional medicine becoming blurred as more evidence emerges demonstrating the science that underlies certain holistic modalities, including acupuncture, antioxidants in cancer therapy and botanical and nutraceutical medicines. In many cases, for the supposedly "unproven" therapies, the tools to measure the subtle energies that these modalities operate under have yet to be invented. Once they are, once there are objective measurements documenting that these modalities are "proven" and legitimate, then conventional medicine will be more likely to accept them. For an example, look at what has been happening with low level lasers. Just a few years ago they were considered alternative therapies, and now, they truly are mainstream. This is a result of the copious amount of basic and applied research that has been published in this field, as well as the positive clinical results that veterinarians are reporting using these quantum-age devices. I think that over time, as more veterinarians embrace the evidence-guided approach to integrative medicine, that there will be less “back-lash” and less negativity and vitriol from our conventional colleagues as they see that we do, in fact, practice responsible evidence-based medicine using our holistic alternatives.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Learn to practice conventional veterinary medicine well before exploring alternatives. Try not to spread your knowledge too thin with too many modalities learned over too short a period of time. Learn a modality, and use it for a few years to become good at it before taking on a second or third modality. Better to be really good at one thing than not that great at a few things.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Everything new in medicine is interesting and exciting to me! I am most interested in what is to come next with stem cell work. I’d like to see some work with organ regeneration such as kidney or liver versus just joints as is now. I am also very interested in what is coming next with molecular engineering of pharmaceuticals to interfere with enzymes in the neoplastic process, and with our increased ability to discover new agents from natural materials to fight cancer and other chronic intractable diseases.


Dr. Darla Rewers

by Neal Sivula


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History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

I wanted to be a Vet since age 5!  I always had a connection to animals, as well as plants and the other aspects of nature. 

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

I always wanted to hang out with the shaman in the rainforest and learn plant medicine.  My interest in pharmacognosy and conservation led me to advocate for education around how important pharmaceuticals had been derived from plants.  Still only a fraction of our world’s plants have been examined for medicinal benefits.  If we destroy our rainforests and diverse flora, not only do we potentially lose medicines, but we destroy habitat for birds and animals.  Now people are realizing how much our climate, temperature, ozone, and oxygen generation is dependent on our healthy forests.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Dr. Thomas Van Cise of Norco, CA, offered externships to students.  I went all the way to CA (during vet school in FL) and commuted 3+ hours daily to get exposure to his clinic, where he saw exotics, pocket pets, some farm animals, as well as dogs and cats.  He introduced me to qi gong, flower essences, reiki, tachyon, homeopathy, and much more!  May he rest in peace. 

Dr. Roger Clemmons and Dr. Cheryl Chrisman, both neurologists, were my advisors at U. of Florida College of Vet Med.  They were both huge advocates of acupuncture, herbal medicine, nutrition, and reiki.  I was also one of the first four students to get to do an elective clinic rotation with Dr. Huisheng Xie, the first acupuncturist to be brought on staff at a teaching hospital.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I mostly use acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, massage, acupressure.  I attended most classes offered by the Chi Institute, and also received a scholarship to apprentice with Dr. Richard Panzer in Seattle, WA.  He had his accreditation from IVAS, but also studied in China.  He speaks Chinese, is an empath, and learned herbs and acupuncture techniques in China.  He learned how the acupuncture needles were made traditionally.  I learned a lot about trusting my own empathy and resonance skills, tui na massage, and food healing from him.  He calls his course The American Institute for Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

My practice has been growing. For many years I did everything alone—from answering phones and mopping floors, laundry, etc. Now I have 3-4 part time support receptionists/vet assistants.  I would like to find the right person to come in as a second vet long term.

What is your physical practice environment?  

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My holistic vet clinic is also my art gallery.  I painted the floors, built and designed the front desk, shelves, displays, etc.  I have my healing jewelry and paintings, sculptures, a Kuan Yin mural, and lots of big tropical plants in front of big windows. Tall ceilings, calm world music, and bedding on the floor for the dogs and a low table for the cats keep the atmosphere calm.

What is a normal workday like for you?

A normal workday for me involves seeing as many as 16 acupuncture patients in one day!  New appointments are an hour, follow-up acupuncture appointments are 30 minutes.  Some appointments are wellness exams or do not necessarily include acupuncture, but most include acupuncture.  We also do routine blood work, cytologies, etc.  I send home herbal supplements, discuss nutrition, and teach all my clients acupressure and massage points to use to help their own animals.  I also send every client home with a simple grounding meditation, which gives them new and additional tools to help them help their pets, since many of the illnesses I see in pets are brought on and/or aggravated by stressful lives (their own and those of their people).

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

My hands are my favorite tools!  My acupuncture needles are next, but if I didn’t have needles, I could still do acupressure, massage, reiki, and qi gong and still help my patients!  I like being sustainable and leaving as small of a carbon footprint as I can.  I’m trying to be better all the time by sourcing more local herbs and products, organic whenever possible.

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Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

When an anxious or painful pet closes their eyes in deep relaxation after putting acupuncture needles in for them, I am inspired to continue doing what I do.  When frustrated clients have spent over $7000 at a specialty center--without any diagnosis or relief--but the patient responds to my acupuncture, I am rewarded for choosing a less-traveled path.

What are your favorite conferences?  

I like the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association Conference.  
I also like the herbal continuing education that Golden Flower Chinese Herbs offers.  I like local CE opportunities near me where I can learn more about recent findings in pain management, physical therapy and client communications.  I am looking forward to attending my first AAVA/IVAS conference soon.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I attend networking events with a wide array of other types of professionals.  I’m almost always the only Vet, and one of the youngest (women) business owners.

Do you have any other professional activities?

I have an art business.  I create paintings, murals, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, wall hangings, drawings, urns for pet ashes, meditation tools, aromatherapy, notecards.  I teach qi gong meditation and art meditation classes as well.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

HA!  This is a process!  I create my art and do a lot of meditation.  I spend a lot of time in the woods. I have close friends that understand my work that I can spend time with and have fun with.  I love to dance, drum, sing, and hear music.

What do you like to do away from the office?

See Above

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I believe understanding the connection between the guardian's lifestyle and stress level will be looked at more closely to understand the pet's needs and medical conditions—as they really do sponge our energy, whether smooth-flowing or stagnant.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Cultivate a meditation and self-reflection practice, such as qi gong.

Never stop learning, asking questions or keeping an open mind.

Check out the following eye-opening resources:  

Dogs Who Know When Their Owners are Coming Home by Rupert Sheldrake

 Vibrational Medicine by Richard Gerber, M.D.

Messages From Water by Dr. Emoto

The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

 I am enjoying learning and implementing homotoxicology and bioregulatory medicine.


Dr. Eve Boggs

by Neal Sivula


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History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

Around my senior year in high school.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

After vet school, I quickly learned that Western Medicine didn't have all of the answers. I also practiced with a wonderful lady who practiced acupuncture and always seemed to have more to offer and seemed to get more out of each exam than I did with Western Medicine alone. 

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

A WONDERFUL mentor- Dr. Meg McBrien.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I recently changed from a mobile integrated practice- just myself, to a mostly Western practice where I bring Eastern medicine to this 3 doctor practice but I also practice Western medicine. I currently practice about 60% Western/40% Eastern.

I am trained in acupuncture, food therapy and limited herbal therapy.  I trained at the Chi Institute.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I recently changed from a mobile integrated practice- just myself, to a mostly Western practice where I bring Eastern medicine to this 3 doctor practice but I also practice Western medicine. I currently practice about 60% Western/40% Eastern.

What is your physical practice environment?

Very warm and inviting, though very small (will be moving to a larger building in the future).

What is a normal workday like for you?

I work 2- 12 hour days. I see patients all day one of those, and do surgery the morning of the other and see appointments in the afternoon. We also see drop off appointments and emergencies. 

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I use mostly dry needles, but do aqua puncture with B12, use the electro acupuncture unit a good bit and use the therapeutic laser for many patients. 

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Patients who defy expectations/prognosis and clients who feel they have 'finally' found the 'right fit'.   As a mother, I understand how important it is to feel your loved one is getting the kind of care that you can trust and that the doctor is listening to you. 

What are your favorite conferences?  

I haven't been to enough to have a favorite.  I would love to go to the one in China some day. 

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

Our practice works with rescue groups which is fulfilling and occasionally inspiring. 

Do you have any other professional activities?

I belong to a local group of women veterinarians who meet monthly and discuss challenges of practice in general, have speakers, and participate in community events.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I only work 2 days a week in an effort to be present more with my family.  I have my son with me on Monday and Friday.

What do you like to do away from the office?

Read, bake and make jewelry.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

Hopefully more vet schools will develop programs for students since interest is increasing. 

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Western, Eastern or integrated, I cannot overstate the importance of a great mentor. 

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

The Immunity mushroom study from Penn is promising especially since it was performed by boarded oncologists. 


Dr. Kim West

by Neal Sivula


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History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

My interest in veterinary medicine started at a very young age, probably when I was 4 or 5 years old.  At that time, it was a love of nature and of the outdoors.  I spent my early childhood years in Colorado and was always outside with the animals and nature; I could not get enough.  

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

My interest in Eastern Medicine started when I was working at my first job out of veterinary school.  One of my colleagues was getting certified in TCVM at the Chi Institute and I was hooked instantly. 

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

My mentors include Dr. Eve Boggs, my colleague that trained at the Chi, as well as her mentor, Dr. Meg Baho, who also trained at the Chi.  I was inspired by how these women practiced strong Western medicine, and used Eastern medicine to improve on that.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

Like my mentors, in addition to practicing Western Medicine, I also practice Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine which includes acupuncture, acupressure, herbal therapy as well as food therapy.  I trained at the Chi Institute in Florida with Dr. Xie.  

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

Health & Harmony Animal Hospital is a new small animal practice, specializing in cats and dogs only.  We opened this October with two doctors, myself and my business partner, Dr. Evelyn Tannhof, and two support staff.  I practice Integrative Medicine and Dr. Tannhof practices Western medicine only.  Dr. Tannhof came from a mixed animal practice and brings her varied species experiences to the table.  At this time our support staff includes one patient care coordinator, Allyson Storts and one registered veterinary technician who is also our Practice Manager, Rob Smith RVT. 

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What is your physical practice environment?  

Our physical practice is very calm, using  greens and natural stones in our color palette.  We have various water features as well as calm spa music playing.  Dog beds offer some comfort for our canine patients in the waiting room; and we have a separate waiting area for our feline patients.  We are nestled in a small urban neighborhood with an abundant walking community, close to a park and 2 doors down from a local coffee shop.  Many clients walk to their pet visits.  It is a very open and accessible environment. 

What is a normal workday like for you?

Since we are so new, there is no such thing as a typical day.  We are very flexible at this point and go with whatever comes our way.  When we do have down time we are working on marketing, SOPs and other management details. 

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

My favorite tools are my acupuncture needles.  I use them often and always have remarkable results.  Anything from reducing a fever to stimulating appetite, and calming a stressed patient.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

I am inspired everyday by the wonder of our patients.  Animals are amazing in how they love, protect, and are full of joy.  It never gets old.

What are your favorite conferences?  

I enjoy continuing education in all settings.  I love pretty much any topic!  Even if it is not in my area of interest, it is still invigorating to learn. 

Do you have any other professional activities?

 I work with many rescue groups as well as other non profits in the animal welfare arena.  I currently serve on two Boards.  Black and Orange Cat Foundation is an organization that I have been working closely with for 8 years.  They are here in central Ohio and do amazing work.  Their focus is on spay/neuter, however, they also do so much for injured and abandoned cats and dogs.  I also work with SOS (Shelter Outreach Services for Ohio). They are also a non profit who offers low cost spay/neuter, as well as support local shelters and rescue groups.  They are both amazing and do so much good for the people and for the animals in our community.  I’m proud to be a part of these great organizations.

drwesttreepose.jpg

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I am a Yogi!  Yoga helps me stay balanced, by serving as a time for me to quiet my mind and leave things when I need to leave them. Unknown to many, it is also a vigorous form of exercise so I feel energized to keep up the pace of running a practice!

What do you like to do away from the office?

I love Colorado and all that it has to offer.  I try and get there a couple times a year. When I am there I love to snowboard, hike, bike, do more yoga, and enjoy hot springs. 

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I feel that the future is looking pretty positive for Holistic Medicine and feel as if the demand is client driven.  Clients are asking for more options for their animal companions.  They like the idea of less invasive but effective options for treating their animals.  As for veterinarians, I think more are open to alternative medicine because it offers more tools in the tool box. 

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

My advice for starting out would be to not get overwhelmed with all that is out there.  Start with what interests you the most.  Get a good handle on that area before you expand.  Make sure that wherever you decide to do your continuing education you have researched it well.  I studied TCVM at the Chi Institute in Florida.  I was thrilled the program there, but I did my research first and knew it was a perfect fit for me.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

For me, one of the most exciting things that I am seeing in our profession is more veterinarians speaking out against feline declawing.  Our practice does not offer this procedure.  We are focused on how to support an owner and provide them with alternative options.  We educate about environmental enrichment, soft paws as well as providing owners with a detailed explanation of what declawing is and what negative side effects can result from this surgery.  When I was young, I don't think anyone even thought twice about this procedure.  Now people are starting to question if this is standard of care for our felines.  I am encouraged with this change of mind set but we still have a long way to go.


Dr. Susan Wagner

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

I was not the typical vet who knew they wanted to pursue this profession from the time they were a child. My interest began when I was studying psychology as an undergrad at Carnegie Mellon University. I worked with all types of lab animals, including primates, and loved it. Upon graduation I decided to pursue veterinary medicine instead of psychology.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia a year before my neurology residency. Conventional medicine was not able to help me. I was given a gift certificate for cranial sacral therapy by a resident-mate. At first I was very skeptical, but since she was kind enough to gift it to me, I decided to go. That appointment changed everything for me, and I know that I wouldn’t have made it through the residency if not for my cranial sacral therapist. I then decided to pursue complementary modalities for my patients.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Yes, Carol Komitor, founder of Healing Touch for Animals®

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I practice Healing Touch for Animals® (Level IV practitioner), Reconnective Healing (Dr. Eric Pearl) and Reiki (Reiki Center here in Columbus, OH).

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I am in a specialty medicine practice that also has a rehabilitation department. I have one support staff, but share others.

What is your physical practice environment?  

My “exam” room is a large space with couches – very comfy and perfect for energy work. I also make house calls for cats and anxious dogs, or those that have difficulty ambulating.

What is a normal workday like for you?

Because I do consultations in addition to energy work, my appointments can take 2 hours. I may only be able to do 3 of those a day, but do in-house energy work as well.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I love Alpha-G, a glycoprotein that is an excellent anti-inflammatory and immune booster. I also use essential oils, flower essences and music therapy. I was fortunate to be a part of the Through A Dog’s Ear development team.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

The animals. They have taught me that they mirror us. Everything they are going through is to teach or heal the humans they love.

What are your favorite conferences?  

AHVMA, of course!

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I teach retreats for human healing that are based in understanding life from an energetic perspective. I also have stewardship of Equine Assisted Awareness, a horse therapy that recently came to me.

Do you have any other professional activities?

I am team leader of the Integrative Veterinary Medicine elective at Ohio State’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I’ve learned to draw boundaries, although I find myself in old patterns from time to time. Because life is energy, once we draw those boundaries, the animals will still be taken care of. The case that might have come in at 5:00, keeping us in the office until late evening, will come in at 1:00. Everything is connected, and everything is an opportunity for growth.

What do you like to do away from the office?

I spend time with my family and friends, enjoy music and writing.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

It is secure! Even though there is a small contingent of students interested in holistic care, they are passionate. I have no doubt they will change the profession.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

The most important thing to remember is that the animals are providing us with a platform for personal growth. It’s not about approval from our peers or convincing them that a holistic/integrative approach is better. And it’s not about judging them for being conventional. Our animals teach us to speak our truth, be ourselves and let the rest happen as it’s supposed to.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

The mind-body work that Davidson is doing at the Univ of Wisconsin is fascinating. He is using functional MRI to look at the brains of experts in meditation.


Dr. Michael Lemmon

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

Animals in general, and dogs in particular, were always of great interest to me from an early age.  My mother was a great influence on the idea of my working to become a veterinarian.  Her father, Dr.Walter Morehouse, was the one of the first state veterinarians working for the state of Oregon in the early 1900s.  Her brother, Dr Wray Morehouse had a private practice in Los Angeles for many years and I used to go visit his veterinary clinic.  In high school I decided to go to Washington State University where my  Uncle Wray had graduated in the late 1930s.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

In the summer of 1961, while working for the USDA in Texas, I met my good friend Felipe Fernandez who introduced me to his writings and many other books on spirituality.  During my last year at WSU a friend gave me the book "There is a River" by Thomas Sugrue where I learned about the life of Edgar Cayce which opened my mind various spiritual concepts as well as methods of natural heaing.

I had some exposure to some aspects of Holistic Medicine when I was in Korea in 1964 while I was serving in the Veterinary Corps of the U. S. Army.  I was working with several Korean veterinarians and learned a little about acupuncture and herbal medicine.  After leaving the Army in 1965 I wandered into a health food store and picked up two books that I read and studied.  One was an herbal book by Jethro Kloss and the other was "Folk Medicine" by Dr. Jarvis.  I still use some of the ideas that I learned from those books to this day.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

One of the first mentors was the herbalist John Christopher.  He taught several courses on herbalism and then came his extensive herbal book which I eagerly devoured.  He was a great influence.   Next there was naturopathic physician Dr. John Bastyr.  The Bastyr University was named after him.  He practiced in Seattle for many years and also taught many new naturopathic physicians before the University was established.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

Dr. Grady Young helped me get started learning about acupuncture many years ago in Thomasville, Georgia.  Dr. Richard Pitcairn was my inspiration and beginning source of information for adding homeopathy to my practice.  Dr. Carvel Tiekert was of crucial importance in helping to learn about and add many modalities by gathering a group of veterinarians together several years ago in Las Vegas to help form the AHVMA.  The AHVMA became one the main sources to learn about old and new modalities such as nutritional and diet therapies, applied kinesiology, prolotherapy and much more.  In my practice I use diet and nutritional therapy and lifestyle improvement as the primary modalities.  Herbal therapy (western and asian), homeopathy, and flower essences are also important tools that I use.  I also use prolotherapy, laser therapy, pulsating magnetic therapy, bowen therapy and other body adjustment therapies and various other modalities as needed.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

 I established the Highlands Veterinary Hospital as a solo practice in Renton, Washington in 1967 and gradually integrated the various holistic modalities into my practice as I acquired the knowledge to do so.  Over time it became a 99% holistic practice with the occasional use of pharmaceuticals such as dexdomitor for sedation.  Most of the time I have one receptionist to help me with setting up appointments,  greeting the clients and answering the telephone.

What is your physical practice environment?  

The clinic was a house that was converted into a clinic setting.  The main exam room has two big windows with trees and bushes outside.  This provides a pleasant distraction for the cats and clients and also for me.  There are blue jays and squirrels that frequently join us on the outside of these windows.

What is a normal workday like for you?

 For the past ten years I have been seeing my patients about four hours a day and  five days a week.  These sessions are where holistic consultations, patient observations, examinations, history taking, and various diagnostic and therapeutic procedures take place.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I use many nutritional and herbal supplements.  Standard Process, MediHerb and Kan Herbals are three of the companies I use the most.   I also like homeopathic and gemmotherapy products.  Lately I have been enjoying the use of my Erchonia Therapeutic Laser for a wide variety of pathological conditions.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

The interactions I have with the dogs and cats and the people who come with them provide much inspiration.  I enjoy seeing the love and joy that is expressed especially as they improve with their physical and mental states.

What are your favorite conferences?  

The AHVMA conferences have always been a great source of helpful information and joyful camaraderie.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I do get much inspiration from daily meditation and also from the contemplation of nature during my daily walks in natural surroundings.

Do you have any other professional activities?

I spend time involved with organizations that are engaged in developing new energy technologies and also national and international economic and financial reforms.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

When I first started with my practice many years ago I was working many hours daily for six and seven days a week.  I didn't even take time for a vacation or continuing education the first year or two.  I took all of my emergency calls back then since there were no emergency clinics in our area at the time.  Over time I slowly shortened my hours and even took a few vacations.  When the first emergency clinic set up business I let them have all my emergencies.  With each of these changes, as the years passed, I felt I was achieving better balance and enjoying life more.  As much as I enjoy holistic veterinary practice I have always felt that my home life took precedence.  I always have time for my wife, my two daughters and now my grandchildren.  Now that I have my current four hours a day schedule I feel that I have a nearly perfect balance for me at this time in my life.

What do you like to do away from the office?

I enjoy the beauties of nature in the Pacific Northwest.  I take daily walks with my wife, Nancy, where we see great vistas of Mt. Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, the Olympic Mountains and colorful Puget Sound. On these walks we enjoy the wildlife such as the Great Blue Heron, the Bald Eagle, Pileated Woodpeckers, Osprey, Kingfishers, Baby Seals and an occasional Red Fox.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

When I first started I thought I was the only one who had any concept of applying naturopathic methods to veterinary medicine.  I soon found out there were others out there with similar interests and that was when Dr. Tiekert gathered together some other veterinarians in Las Vegas, who soon put together the AHVMA.  AHVMA, along with IVAS, and later with other groups helped holistic veterinary medicine grow by leaps and bounds.  I see an unlimited future.  I see many new holistic diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, such as the relatively new laser technology, coming now and in the near future.  I see many of the current holistic technologies and future ones being incorporated into conventional medicine like it has always been done, for example various nutriceuticals and the laser.  As time passes I see practitioners continuing to become more spiritually evolved.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

When one is beginning the path of being a holistic veterinarian one should take time each day to thank the Creator for this life.  One should take time to meditate each day and to seek balance in all aspects of their life.  One should also take time for themselves each day and seek and find love and joy in their life.  Many times health givers can be too selfless and not take this time for themselves.  I believe all the benefits that the AHVMA conferences give are of great consideration.  There are also many benefits from seeking the knowledge and friendship from experienced holistic practitioners.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Currently I am enjoying the use of the therapeutic laser.  I am always interested in new information and technologies concerning gently improving health.  I believe there are technologies that have been suppressed such as Dr. Royal Rife research and many others that will be brought forth in the near future. The Keshe Foundation has a Plasma Reactor healing technology that also looks very promising.


Dr. Clif Gidlund

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

My interest in medicine began when I was 5 years old. I was in the hospital for 3 months because of a 3rd degree burn to my right leg. I could have gone either way I suppose, either hating the medical profession, or embracing it,  I embraced it. I decided then that I wanted to be a Doctor. It is probably a cliché for veterinarians, but I had always loved animals and while I was in the hospital I really missed the family Cocker Spaniel, Lucy.  I had two sisters  that were 8 and 12 years older than I, making them 13 and 17 at that time.  Hospital policy did not allow minors to visit even if they were family.  My sisters put on makeup and high heeled shoes and dresses and put Lucy in a big shopping bag and brought her into the hospital to visit me. She had to stay in the shopping bag  but I got to look down and pet her for a short time from my hospital bed.  

When I was 10 years old my father bought a dairy farm and I looked forward to working with my father on the farm. I was very interested when Dr. Wilson, the local veterinarian came to our farm. I always watched him and tried to help him whenever possible. A short time later I decided that I wanted to be a veterinarian. It took me a long time to finally become a veterinarian, but when I did I went back to my home town and took over the practice from Dr. Wilson, the first vet I ever knew.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

My father was a very free thinker. He had come from Sweden when he was 20 years old and although he had very little formal education he was always reading and interested in a variety of ideas and philosophies.  When I was 10 years old, he gave me a book about yoga. The book gave some history of yoga from a physical perspective, but it was really about the mental discipline that can lead to the achievement of one's goals. I became very interested with Eastern Philosophies.

When President Nixon went to China in 1972 there was a lot of press coverage of a person in the entourage that was treated with acupuncture. A lot of press coverage on acupuncture followed. I became interested. 

When I was in my first year of Veterinary School, Dr. Beaver came and gave a talk on veterinary acupuncture. I became more interested. After I graduated from Veterinary School I saw a course given on acupuncture in Chicago. It was about a 4 day course. The instructor was Sheldon Altman, DVM.  (In recent years I have learned that he was also the first instructor for Allen Schoen, DVM, and his book Veterinary Acupuncture was dedicated to Dr. Altman.)  I started using some acupuncture in my practice, but I was busy building a practice and didn't feel confident enough to use it very often. After practicing for over 20 years I decided to become certified in veterinary acupuncture and attended the Chi Institute.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Dr. Xie of the Chi Institute.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I practice primarily with acupuncture, dry needling, aquapuncture with vitamin B12, and electro acupuncture. I also use Tui Na, Chinese Herbs and Chinese Food Therapy. 

I received my primary training from the Chi Institute. I have also returned to school at the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine to receive my human license which has a broadened my knowledge base further.  I did feel that human acupuncture school was more of a review because of the excellent foundation I received at the Chi Institute.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I have sold my practice 5 years ago and now work as an employee in a 3 doctor practice. I am the only one practicing Holistic Medicine. We have 4 lay people for support.

What is your physical practice environment?  

We have a very nice practice building with 3 exam rooms, surgery, dentistry and kennel areas. Because it is a newer practice we have new equipment such as surgical laser, digital X-ray, lab equipment etc. 

What is a normal workday like for you?

 am currently working half time because I am semi retired, and because I am starting to build my human practice. I start at 9 AM and work until 2 PM.  I do Western Medicine and surgery along with acupuncture. I do receive referrals from my colleagues in the practice and frequently talk about acupuncture an herbs to my Western Medicine clients. Many of them respond positively. I have been in the practice for three years and the percentage of my time doing TCM is increasing at a good pace. I probably see 3 to 6 animals for TCM a week. I also integrate acupuncture into my Western Medical treatments. One example is post surgical pain relief with acupuncture.  An interesting aspect of my practice is that some of my veterinary acupuncture clients have started to become my human acupuncture patients after they see the results with their animals. I also do occasional house calls for acupuncture patients.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I like Dr. Xie's Jing Tang Herbs, and to quote Dr. Xie, "needles are needles".

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

I am inspired by the beauty of our natural world and how well TCM works to improve the health and well being of all living creatures.

What are your favorite conferences?  

The Chi Institute Trip to China was fantastic, as was the 2011 AAVA convention in Scottsdale, AZ.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I find it inspiring to attend human acupuncture CE as well and to compare approaches between the human and veterinary sides.

Do you have any other professional activities?

In February of 2011 I worked as a relief veterinary acupuncturist in Hawaii for Dr. Robin Woodley. That was a great experience and I hope to repeat it.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I only work part time and I spend as much time as possible with my wife and my son. My wife and I both have Wednesdays off so we try to keep that just for us.

What do you like to do away from the office?

My wife and I like to stay physically active. We bike, ski(cross country and down hill) hiking and like to attend musical events near us whenever possible.  We  enjoy travel. We also enjoy spending time with our Golden Retriever,  Oskar and our cat , Lucy. 

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I believe the future is primarily with integrated medicine. Western Medicine can complement TCVM and vice versa. The general population is becoming more educated about alternative therapies and the more veterinarians that can offer such services the better we will be able to serve our clients and our profession.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Become educated in the modalities you are interested in and try to use them whenever you can. Make professional connections with other Holistic practitioners and attend professional meetings to stay inspired and up to date.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

I am excited about studies about the plasticity of the nervous system and how these findings might be applicable to the science and art of acupuncture. Some of these studies have fed outputs from video cameras onto grids on the backs of blind people that allowed their brains to see. Later experiments had the output go to people's tongues. These studies show the tremendous potential of the brain for all sorts of things that have never before been imagined.


Dr. Lena McCullough

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

I have always had a love of animals since being a small child.  I didn’t immediately think of vet medicine, as I was not as attracted to the medicine aspect of it.  As a child I had visions of running a business producing cat milk, being a marine biologist, riding and training horses professionally, and working with wild animals.  It wasn’t until I was 20 that I decided I wanted to be a vet.  At that time everyone who knew me said, “I told you so".

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

I injured my back when I was 19 and was told I would probably have to be on painkillers for the rest of my life or have to go through surgery which could make me worse.  After a year of trying conventional medicine with no relief I met my first chiropractor.  She was the first person who told me I would get better and I did, she helped me to be functional again.  That definitely peaked my interest. 

During vet school I took a three-day acupuncture class and went home and treated myself.  It was the most amazing thing.  I put one needle in the back of my knee and felt like someone was mechanically fixing my back.  I treated that one point two more times and got myself permanently off the last of my ibuprofen.  I’ve been normal since.  I thought, this is incredible stuff; I am definitely learning this someday!  

When I got out of school it was overwhelming and it took me awhile to get back to holistic medicine but I reached a point where I felt bad sending pills home that I didn’t believe in and I found that I was referring all my patients to acupuncturists. 

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

I trained and received my certification through Richard Panzer.  He was not just an amazing teacher but also a wonderful mentor.  He let me follow him around asking questions constantly.  I feel like I not only learned Chinese medicine from him but also how to practice in a way to have life work balance.  You don’t get that everyday.  He also gave me a foundation for my herbal practice that I am extremely grateful for.  He taught me how to feel the herbs, how to understand their energy, how to feel how they work in animals.  

My own acupuncturist Ellen Newhouse also was a great mentor to me.  She helped push me in the direction of holistic medicine, taught me some amazing energy work and helped me believe in myself.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I am almost exclusively an acupuncturist and herbalist. I have a full Chinese herbal pharmacy and make all my formulas from scratch.  We don’t often talk about it but I also consider myself a counselor to my clients especially around hospice.  Health is a family system, without supporting the people involved in animal’s care you aren’t treating the whole system.  You help the people and you help the animal.  You help the animal and you help the people.

My first training was from Richard Panzer.  I also took the IVAS Chinese herbal certification course but choose not to get my certification from it.  I have done some work with Jeremy Ross.  I’ve received energy work training from Ellen Newhouse, Rose DeDan and Holly Hiatt Wilson.  I learn everyday from the animals I work with.  I treat a lot of cancer and work very closely with one local allopathic vet, Tim Kraabel, on cancer cases who I also feel like I have learned a lot from.  Actually I think we have both learned a lot from each other. 

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I work alone but have another practitioner who uses my space one day a week.  I am exclusively holistic and consider myself a referral vet.  I don’t do blood work, vaccines, ear cleaning, X-rays etc .  This allows me to work closely with allopathic vets.  They can send animals to me and know that we are sharing clients.  I will send them back for diagnostics and they come back happier.  I feel like I have a wonderful partnership with many of the allopathic vets I work with.

I have one employee who works part time for me and does my books, reminder calls and sets up new appointments.  She also is there for moral support and to keep me organized.

Transient

What is your physical practice environment?  

I practice out of a small clinic in my garage and have my pharmacy in my basement.  I do my phone calls and emails from my dining room table often with a cat on my lap and a dog underfoot.

What is a normal workday like for you?

Check emails and phone messages, see 3-4 appointments, check phone and email again, make up herbs, see 3-4 more appointments.  I like having long appointments, my follow-ups are 45 minutes and my initial appointments are 1-1 ½ hour. I also write a blog www.pathwithpaws.com and am working on a cancer book on integrative and holistic methods of treating cancer, which I am posting online as I write it.  Usually I spend about 2-5 hours a week on my blog.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

My herbs!  I love my herbs! And of course my needles and hands.

Transient

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Number one – the animals and people I work with.  I work with the most incredible animals and they are amazing teachers.  The people attached to them are pretty amazing also.  When I see the love they share with their animal friends it is inspiring.

What are your favorite conferences?  

I tend to do most of my CE locally or online as it is hard for me to travel.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I’m trying to be more involved with local holistic vets and practitioners.  I tend to be a bit of a loner professionally and am trying to branch out from that.  A lot of my CE is in the human alternative medical fields.  It is definitely fun to connect with other holistic vets.

Do you have any other professional activities?

My blog – I became frustrated that I was having to turn people and animals away when I didn’t have space in my practice.  My blog helps me reach people from all over the world.  I have received some incredible stories from my readers and feel like I am able to offer people hope and provide a place of support for those going through hard medical issues with their animal companions.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I try to keep my three days a week off as non-work days.  I get off work by 6 everyday and only work about 32 hours a week.  This gives me time to spend with my family.  My son is a teenager now but has many activities.  It is important for me to have the time to be involved in his life.  I also like to spend time with my husband and go on occasional vacations.

What do you like to do away from the office?

Write, I love to write! Currently I am working on a novel and trying to get my cancer book finished up.  I have a children’s story as well that I am hoping to publish someday.  I spend a lot of time with my animals, four cats and a former street dog named Alli.  I have a little herb shop on etsy where I can share my passion for herbs. And then there is cooking, walking, meditating, reading, qi gong, and spending time with friends and family.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I hope that holistic medicine becomes primary as medical care.   I would love to see drugs used as a second option unless there is a major infection or illness that needs them.  We currently overuse drugs in my opinion.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Believe in yourself, listen to the animals, have fun, and find a good mentor.  Most holistic vets I know, including myself, are happy to help out those just starting. We need more of you!

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

I am super excited about some of the stem cell and other new treatments for cancer.  I think in 20 years we will look back on how we treat cancer as horribly barbaric.  I know there are better treatments out there which support the body and help it to get rid of cancer instead of the harsh treatments such as surgery, chemo and radiation that we currently use.  I would also like to see more research into herbs and how they can be integrated into western practice as well. 


Dr. Patti Schaefer

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

My interest in veterinary medicine began when I was quite young however I did not pursue becoming a veterinarian until much later in life.  I rode horses professionally for several years and worked in human medicine in my 20's and 30's.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

My interest in holistic medicine began years before vet school as a way to treat my own animals and self after seeing some of the limitations of conventional medicine.  (I come from a very large human medicine family). 

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

 I did not have any mentors but did read everything I could at the time on holistic medicine.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I am a Fellow of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture.  I took the IVAS  acupuncture course and Option for Animals chiropractic courses (basic and advanced).  I have also taken some of the Chi Institute's herbal courses.   I attend as many CE's as possible to further my education.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I am a solo practitioner.  My practice is mainly holistic canine sports medicine.  I have no support staff.

What is your physical practice environment?  

I see patients in two clinics, a dog training facility, and at many dog shows and events. 

What is a normal workday like for you?

I don't think I really have a "normal" work day. 

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

My favorite tools are my acupuncture needles and my hands.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Inspiration comes from seeing positive results in my patients.

What are your favorite conferences?  

AAVA is my favorite conference.

Do you have any other professional activities?

Professional activities:  I have lectured at many veterinary conferences and given seminars to dog groups on dog sport injuries, acupuncture, chiropractic, rehab and conditioning programs.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

It is hard for me to maintain balance between professional activities and home life. 

What do you like to do away from the office?

I train and compete with my own dogs.  (And this is what I am doing when I am not working).

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I see a growing interest in holistic veterinary medicine.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

I would advice anyone just starting out to attend as many lectures, seminars and conferences as possible. 



Dr. Don Thompson

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

Midway through high school.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

I had been looking for other therapeutic options to have at my disposal.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Dr. Huisheng Xie, Dr. Steve Marsden, Dr. Robert Schwyzer and my wife, Dr. Holly Thompson.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I utilize, primarily, acupuncture, gained through IVAS, AAVA and the Chi Institute, and Chinese Herbal Medicine, through the Chi Institute and from Dr. Marsden.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I own Vermont Integrative Veterinary Associates, with a single associate , on technician and one office manager.

Transient

What is your physical practice environment?  

 I have a small animal clinic and also own trucks with mobile practice inserts for large animal calls.

What is a normal workday like for you?

A typical start time is 7:30 AM, either in the clinic for small animal work or on the road for large animal calls until 5:30 to 7 PM.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

Chinese herbal medications are my most useful tool in practice; acupuncture is very strong in my equine practice.

Transient

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Certainly my wife and my family are the most important to my work ethic.

What are your favorite conferences?  

 Annual AAVA and the annual Chi Institute Conferences, either in the States or in China.

Do you have any other professional activities?

 I prepare and present lectures regularly for the Chi Institute and will be lecturing at Wisconsin's Veterinary College this fall; additionally, I authored a chapter for Dr. Xie's upcoming new textbook on Practical TCVM.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

 Fortunately, my wife is driven in her career similar to my situation; we also enjoy travel and outdoor activities together.

What do you like to do away from the office?

Travel, fly fishing and hunting in the West.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

Rapid expansion in client desire for it, in order to have many viable treatment options at their disposal.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Be certain of your fundamentals and the rest will follow in as much depth as you can handle or you desire; Humility has its place.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Organized research in TCVM.


Dr. Jane. Flores

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

The connection with and interest in animals has been there my whole life. I raised and showed livestock until I was 19 or 20 years old. I even did odd jobs at the local veterinary clinic throughout high school. However, I was going to be a musician, more specifically, a trombone performance major. Shockingly, it didn’t resonate well with me, so I switched my major to the next logical thing, human pre-medicine. The misery of it! I clearly had not learned the lesson about me being responsible for my own happiness and not the reason someone else should be happy. Then the unthinkable happened, I switched my major to a pre-veterinary medicine curriculum. I knew based on how I felt that that was it! The rest is history.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

I was extremely interested in ‘holistic medicine’ while in veterinary school. Is what I quickly realized, however, was that it immediately drew very negative attention from faculty and classmates alike. So I went away from it. I certainly did not want a label or attention of that sort at that time in my education or life. What farm girl from Ohio would want that?

It was not until 6 years ago that I had a life changing experience that made me realize how silly I was to walk away from it. I had been suffering terribly with recurrent sinus problems and quite tired and done with all of the antibiotics and steroids. I ran into an old teacher from vet school and he said…have you ever tried acupuncture for that? What?! Well, I figured with him being a boarded neurologist and he said it worked for him…OK, where do I sign up? Why did I wait?!!!

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Unfortunately no. I was practicing and teaching in academia at the time I decided to start my adventure and there was nobody to talk to. Some of my peers even made fun of it. (Yep…even in this day and age) But, I decided I ran away once and I wasn’t going to do it again. Being at a different point in your life can sure make a difference 

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

Acupuncture – International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS)

Herbs – some from IVAS and much from various conferences

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I am a solo integrative practitioner with 2 staff and a very part time groomer. We opened a year ago. While I enjoy being solo, I would love to have another veterinarian here. It is just where I have to start.

Transient

What is your physical practice environment?  

Very modern and spa like. I am so proud at what we have been able to accomplish in this space. We have truly created a new experience for owners and their pets. It is very calming and open. We even use aromatherapy in the lobby.

What is a normal workday like for you?

To be honest, I can sometimes be walking out of the surgery suite to do an acupuncture appointment. All my days are very integrative using both Eastern and Western medicine and surgery. Yes, I work 6 days a week currently.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

Actually, it is my sitting stool that I keep in every exam room. It allows me to sit down and really focus on communicating with the client in a relaxed and genuine manner.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

You know the feeling you get when a patient surprisingly does way better than you ever thought was possible? And do you know the feeling you get when you see how you have made a tremendous impact on a person’s or family’s life? Yeah, that’s my inspiration.

What are your favorite conferences?  

I love going to the IVAS/AAVA conference. I have come to know so many fellow acupuncturists by going and it really gives me a sense of community. And, it doesn’t hurt that it is usually held in a great location…..

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I would have to say it is my involvement with the profession and the veterinarians I meet. 

Do you have any other professional activities?

I am on the board of our local veterinary association and serve on committees for IVAS. I am passionate about giving back to a profession that has served me so well.

I still lecture whenever possible at the university or community groups.

I am co-founder of Paws For The Soul (www.paws4thesoul.com). It is an organization that is bringing awareness to the personal healing needs of the veterinary profession through retreats and education.

Balance

Transient

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

This past year I have had a lot of help and support from my family and friends to try and maintain balance. My husband has been my biggest cheerleader and has graciously picked up my slack at home so that we can spend quality time with the kids when I get home. I also have some fantastic veterinarian friends who have covered an afternoon here and there so I can get the heck out of the office. Even my staff does everything they can to get me out. I am truly blessed!

What do you like to do away from the office?

Anything that brings me joy and laughter. It usually revolves around the kids’ sports or school events or anything family related. I even enjoy going on dates with my husband! Did I mention that I am also a runner?...

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

Wouldn’t it be awesome for veterinary medicine to have our own Bastyr? I would love to be involved or see something like that happen for our profession. However, I believe as alternative therapies gain wider acceptance, there will be a need for such a place. Just thinking about the future of  holistic veterinary medicine makes me feel happy.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

I think anything we can do to support these young minds and make them feel welcomed is paramount. Seek out like minded individuals and stick with your convictions. I think using a formal education system is important to make sure you have the proper foundation to build upon in using alternative therapies.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

I am always excited and in awe at our new discoveries. We are a bright bunch!


Dr. Helen Kwong

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

Probably at the age of five, I never considered any other career path. 

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

The feeling of helplessness when there was no other treatment I could think of.  It felt awful, like hitting a brick wall, when conventional medicine or surgery had nothing left to offer.  Perhaps a sense of failure, or my lack of knowledge because I couldn’t help my patients.  Our patients deserved so much more than I could offer. 

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

I grew up in a Chinese Medicine culture.  My mother was forever talking about damp heat, heat, cold, damp...to the point where I thought it was all folklore and western medicine was the only thing to respect.  What a full circle I have journeyed.  So... my mother has been my mentor.  It is very common in the Chinese culture to treat many ailments with herbal remedies, and what each ingredient is used for.  If I had only listened...

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

Acupuncture - IVAS training

Chinese Herbal Medicine - Dr. Steve Marsden and IVAS

Chiropractic - Healing Oasis

Applied Kinesiology - Dr. Carl deStefano

Homeopathy - Dr. Richard Pitcairn

Conventional/Western Medicine and Surgery - University of Saskatchewan, College of Western Veterinary Medicine

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I am in a solo, integrative practice.  There are six support staff.

What is your physical practice environment?  

2000 square feet in a strip mall.

What is a normal workday like for you?

Start at 8:00 a.m., 1-2 appointments at 8:15 a.m., several surgical/dental procedures until ll:00 a.m, then a few more appointments ‘til noon.  Lunch for 1-1.5 hours, unless there are sick patients, then work through lunch, and regular appointments start at 1:30 p.m. ‘til 4:30p.m.  We try to allot for 30 minute appointments unless there are sick patients that need to be seen immediately.  I work Monday thru Saturday, 8:00 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 9:00 a.m. ‘til 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays, or until appointments are over.  On call schedule is every week day and every other weekend to cover for another clinic, but if I am in town, I will answer my own phone on most weekends.  Our clients tend to be very respectful of my time off, and will only call for dire emergencies.  It is hard to distance myself from my “work” as there is a strong emotional relationship with my patients.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I love my digital conventional and dental radiograph system.  Products that I couldn’t live without are Yunnan Paiyao, Si Miao San, Arnica, Mirtazapine, Cerenia, Convenia, flea products, Adequan/Cartrophen, Heska IV Pumps (so portable and light), and VIN.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Being able to work in this wonderful profession.  Each day brings new challenges, I am always striving to become a better veterinarian and person.

What are your favorite conferences?  

COMS (Canadian Oriental Medicine Symposium - Veterinary Portion), Western  Veterinary Conference (Vegas), any IVAS Seminars, AVCA ( annual conferences), Can West Veterinary Conferences.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I will take on a major learning project yearly.  This year, I am enrolled in a canine rehabilitation therapy course (CRI) in the fall/winter.  I read about new surgical techniques and try to integrate them into my practice.  Even though I graduated 22 years ago, I try to challenge myself in fields that make me uncomfortable.  It may be as simple as starting a website (which I know nothing about), a new computer system, researching new medical treatments... just anything that will stretch me personally and professionally.

Do you have any other professional activities?

Even though I am a small animal exclusive veterinarian, I hope to become more knowledgeable in equine rehabilitation medicine.  That will be my next year’s project.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

That is a good question.  I often take my work home with me, so there is no line between my home and professional life.  How can one separate what we do (being an animal steward) and what we live?  Since we have 7 cats, 5 dogs, and 2 horses (hopefully, soon to be 3), their lives and mine intertwine.  I have an exceedingly patient husband who understands that my patients and family (2 legged and 4 legged) are my priority.  I do let him talk me into taking holidays once to twice a year.

What do you like to do away from the office?

What woman doesn’t like to shop and eat.  I love reading mysteries, working out in our home gym, watching movies, riding horses and teaching them new “tricks,” and generally plotting my next challenge, be it building a new shed, or buying more farm equipment.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

The future of holistic veterinary medicine is in the hands of the young graduates.  Enough of this negativity from prehistoric (young and old) veterinarians.   In the human medical field, they are embracing holistic medicine and becoming more enlightened.  It is time for the veterinary field to do the same and stop all this “witch hunting.”  

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Get a good solid basis in conventional medicine so you will be an excellent diagnostician.  Then start learning different modalities as they assist you to better treat your patient.  Use integrative techniques as they work hand in hand quite nicely, in most cases.  Do not “throw the baby out with the bath water.”  Learn from all our mistakes. 

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

The fields of rehabilitation medicine and behavioural medicine do excite me.  Gone are the days of taking your dog to obedience school using choke collars for correction and not stimulating your dog on how to think and reason.  Everything is reward-based now, and with educators such as Dr. Sophia Yin, the future is bright.


Dr. Lisa Donato

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

I first knew I wanted to be a veterinarian when I was 7 years old.  I used to try to save all the baby birds that fell out of nests that were hurt. My mother who is from Dublin, Ireland used to tell me stories of wild horses in the fields behind her house when she was growing up and this also sparked my interest in animals, particularly horses. I thought I would become an equine veterinarian, but discovered in veterinary school that I enjoyed small animal medicine (working with dogs and cats) even more so. 

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

In 1998, my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I became a “Hotbot Doctor” and searched the internet for other therapies he could try in addition to chemotherapy.  I soon discovered that acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutritional supplements could be used.  He tried some of these therapies and I think they did help him.  I then began thinking that maybe I should be using some of these therapies for my own patients so I started to take courses about acupuncture and herbal medicine and decided I needed to learn more how to use these therapies.  In 2001, I finally signed up for the acupuncture course at The Chi Institute in Florida. Chinese medicine was a completely different way to look at and treat patients, and to me it made a lot of common sense.  I then went on to study Tui Na, Chinese herbal medicine and other therapies.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Yes at The Chi Institute, I learned a lot from Dr. Huisheng Xie and also Dr. Bruce Ferguson. Dr. Xie is from China, a 3rd generation herbalist, is a professor at the veterinary school in Florida and started the Chi Institute. He really is the master of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine.  Dr. Ferguson was one of the teachers there and also had gone to acupuncture school for people and knew so much about Chinese medicine.  When I became certified in acupuncture, I started working with Dr. Allen Schoen and worked with him for 5 years.  He truly in a pioneer in veterinary holistic medicine and I learned so much from him about acupuncture, aquapuncture, Homotoxicology and nutritional supplements and therapies.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

I am certified in Veterinary Acupuncture, Tui Na Practice (Chinese medical massage), and TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) Practice and Herbology from The Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Reddick, Florida.  I also studied Chinese Food Therapy and advanced acupuncture at The Chi Institute.  

I traveled through China with The Chi Institute in 2006 and learned further techniques in Chinese Medicine and some Tibetan medicine from professors who had taught Dr. Xie.

I became the 9th veterinarian to become a Fellow of The American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture in 2007.

I studied Western Herbal Medicine at The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. The course was taught by Dr. Steve Marsden, Dr. Susan Wynn and Dr. Allen Schoen.

I took the Correspondence Course in Homotoxicology and was awarded a Certificate of Completion by The Society of Homotoxicology of North America. I had also learned about Homotoxicology from Dr. Schoen and I attended a course with other health professionals as well.

I became certified in Animal Chiropractic by The International Veterinary Chiropractic Association.  I learned this modality at The Options for Animals College of Animal Chiropractic in Wellsville, Kansas.  I also learned some basic Craniosacral techniques there.

I also went to The Healing Oasis Wellness Center in Sturtevant, Wisconsin and studied Craniosacral Therapy from Dr. Neal Sivula.

I use many different nutritional supplements as well.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

I used to work at a specialty center on Long Island but now I am a solo practitioner.  I started my company, Veterinary Acupuncture and Healing Arts a few years ago.  I basically work alone but I do have the help of receptionists and technical staff at an office I work out of 2 days per week in Westchester (Village Animal Clinic in Ardsley, NY).

What is your physical practice environment?  

I work in a veterinary office 2 days per week.  I also see patients on Long Island on a housecall basis.  I try to make the patient as comfortable as possible so I will use blankets and towels and I work on the floor for the bigger dogs.

What is a normal workday like for you?

I try to start the day, if possible by attending daily Mass.  Then I am in the car either driving to housecall patients or driving to the veterinary office which is 30 miles away.  I can see more patients in the office and schedule appointments every 45 minutes.  I try to take a lunch break, catch up on phone calls and I am always at the post office sending herbs and supplements to my clients.  Usually I am home by 6-7 pm.  I work Monday thru Friday mostly.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

I actually use my hands a lot for scanning the energy field of patients for problems, palpating acupuncture points and use them of course to treat!  I also like my acupuncture needles, electro-acupuncture machine and homotoxicologic formulas for injection (aquapuncture or biopuncture).  I keep in contact with the world with my iphone. 

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Having patients respond well and giving them a chance to have a better quality of life and to live longer.  Many patients are older dogs or cats with chronic problems that reach an endpoint with conventional medicine. Sometimes clients are considering euthanasia when they see me.  I am so happy when I see these patients do much better since quite often the patient is not ready to give up.  Many of these patients know that the treatments help them so they often are happy to see me (of course it could just be the cookies I bring).

What are your favorite conferences?  

I have enjoyed the annual conference at The Chi Institute whether given in China or Florida.  I also like the AHVMA conference and for some conventional medicine I like the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference in Atlantic City.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I will talk to other veterinarians about patients and different ways of treating. Also going to conferences or learning on VIN are ways to find out what other treatments veterinarians are using and what their experiences have been.  I have also learned from my own healthcare team about treatments I can use. 

Do you have any other professional activities?

I am a member of many veterinary organizations.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

It’s not always easy.  After practicing for many years, I now take off weekends to catch up with the family and to get my own acupuncture and chiropractic treatments!  One has to have perspective and that often comes with age and wisdom.  I have learned to put God first since everything I do is through Him and glorifying Him.

What do you like to do away from the office?

I enjoy spending time with my family and dogs and watching nature.  I write poetry and I like to read. When I can, I enjoy traveling.

Transient

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I think many more people, including other veterinarians are realizing the benefits of the different holistic modalities, which is great.  There are also more veterinarians studying these as well. 

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

I think it is best to have a good foundation in conventional medicine.  One needs to understand disease processes and diagnostics and treatments. I think it is best to learn a modality at a school, whenever possible. 

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Certainly there are a lot of new diagnostics and therapies in oncology which is wonderful.  This allows one to have a better idea of the nature of the cancer and to try to use some type of target therapy.  Also the world of rehabilitation is expanding which allows greater improvement for patients post-op and after any injuries or trauma.


Dr. Jim Carlson

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

My mother raised Irish Setters before they were nuts and did some obedience shows as well.  She had several champions.  There were off and on times as to wanting to go into the field, but we ended on an “on”.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

I wanted to have patients that I truly worked on wellness that did not just include vaccinating.  I knew that there was more.  I started with Standard Process and some Heel products and it went from there.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Bob Gaston, Dr. Xie, Dr. Rivera, and many friends like yourself, Kristin Sherman and Marty Goldstein and his crew.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

Acupuncture- Chi Institute,  VSMT- Healing Oasis, Heel and homeopathic- all over, Standard process and nutritional- all over, laser therapy- Respond.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

Integrative- 3 veterinarians (2 full-time, 1 part-time).

What is your physical practice environment?  

We have worked hard to get rid of the negative unhealthy people and keep a good energy here.  We also burned some sage a few times.

Transient

What is a normal workday like for you?

10-11 hours of appointments, management, and surgery- just depends.  Acupuncture and VSMT make up all of my new clients.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

Standard process, Heel, and Jing Tang are my favorites.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Learning more things and building the business.

What are your favorite conferences?  

Any where I can learn and can take the family for a vacation.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I am trying to take off more time to rest the mind.  I do better when not running stressed.

Do you have any other professional activities?

 None.  Family, Scouts and Knights of Columbus get the rest.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

It is very difficult.  I am getting associates that are like minded and training them.  This allows me some more time off.

What do you like to do away from the office?

Scouts, anything with nature and water.  Things with the wife and boys.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

Nowhere but up.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Get a good group of friends, don’t compete with friends—value them.  Get to know your vendors, get as much formal education in the fields as possible.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

 Laser, otherwise old traditions hold firm. 


Dr. Chip Beckett

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

As a senior in High School (1974).

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

My Dad flew Nixon’s press corps to China and a lot of people talked about AP then. I always thought it was “cool” and different. Then my first case in vet school was a foal with an axillary injury that left him 3 legged lame. Dr. Ed Page at Purdue treated him successfully and he walked out on 4 legs 8 weeks later. I knew I had to learn AP after that.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

Jack Shuler in North Carolina, Mona Boudreau and Gary Allen from their herb courses, Angela Erickson in Connecticut where I did my internship hours.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

IVAS for AP, Mona for Herbs,  Options for Animals for Chiropractic in Illinois, which has now moved to Kansas.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

We are a 3 doctor mixed animal integrative practice. I am the only complementary practitioner right now.  We have 5 support staff. 

What is your physical practice environment?  

Clinic/haul-in facility with equine ambulatory.

What is a normal workday like for you?

Start at 7:30 and go to 6 or so. Surgery two mornings/week, appointments two days in the clinic, two afternoons for farm calls. One day for managing the practice and real estate.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

Insertion tubes. I use them for my physical exams, cost nothing. I think physical findings are the basis of medicine, and should drive imaging/diagnosis, not the other way around. I use a lot of technology, but mostly hate it. 

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

Seeing animals and their families better off after seeing me than before they came in.

What are your favorite conferences?  

AAEP and AAVA.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I have been in the AVMA House of Delegates for the past 6 years. I am now serving on the AVMA Task Force on governance and member participation. I have been a past director of the AAVA.

Do you have any other professional activities?

I was able to be involved with starting the first practice management group focusing on mixed animal practice. It has been really interesting to work with colleagues across the country on how to better balance the competing needs of the large and small animal components of mixed practice, keep our practices viable with suburbanization and farm changes, and develop the business as a concern that can function without the founder(s).

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I am not very good at this. I like to travel if I have vacation time.

What do you like to do away from the office?

My big extra curricular thing at home is local politics. Small business people know so much more about life than so many professional politicians. I think it is too important to leave it to others to do for us, and then complain when they do it badly. I have run unsuccessfully for the state senate twice, but currently serve as Chairman of our Town Council (mayor).

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

I think there is a strong future. I hope we can understand why AP works from a Western perspective so we can explain why this is the best treatment for a given case.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Keep reading and then do it.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Understanding the immune system will be fascinating as we learn more from AIDS, allergies, and cancer. I think the reaction of the immune system to external stressors will determine and bind the root cause of many of the diseases we currently see.


Dr. William Kruesi

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

I started working with large animal veterinarians while working as a County Agriculture Extension Agent in Vermont from 1980 - 1984, and that led to an interest in sheep and goat medicine. I was involved with early trials in trans-cervical artificial insemination of sheep in 1985 but lacked formal post-graduate training in veterinary medicine. My wife Katy and I were raising a farm flock of 380 sheep, pastured dairy heifers, kept a small flock of laying hens, a Border Collie dog, barn kitties and several pigs from 1987 to 1993. In the fall of 1992 I was asked to develop a sheep foot rot control program for wool growers in Uruguay. As soon as I completed the sheep project in Uruguay I was ready to apply to Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine and enrolled in the fall, 1993.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

My father, Dr. Oscar Rogers Kruesi, M.D. practiced integrated medicine for 30 years of a nearly 45-year career in internal medicine. He was inspired by Dr. Jeffrey Bland, PhD who taught biochemistry to physicians and developed the scientific basis for “functional medicine”. My father was a role model for me: honest, a hard worker, progressive, polite, fully devoted to his patient’s care, and open minded. He collaborated with Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, PhD, M.D. and other innovators in the field of orthomolecular medicine, i.e. the use of nutrients in the prevention and treatment of disease or what we know as nutritional medicine. Other members of my family have been involved in natural medicine as well. My sister Kate Kruesi Lincoln is a homeopath, brother Hugo has a Master’s degree in Integrative Medicine, brother Markus Kruesi, M.D. is head of child psychiatry at the University of South Carolina and worked with Dr. Pfeiffer at the Brain Bio Center in Princeton, New Jersey. My sisters-in-law Mary Alice Cryns Kruesi and Debby Cooper Kruesi helped write and edit Dr. Pfeiffer’s books. 

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

My first position as an associate veterinarian was at one of the largest, if not the largest, and oldest holistic small animal veterinary practices in the country, Smith Ridge Veterinary Center in South Salem, New York. My mentor was the practice owner and founder Dr. Martin Goldstein, D.V.M. Marty is a very intelligent, caring, funny, creative veterinarian that opened my eyes to treatment of chronic disease with natural medicine and good nutrition. His associate at that time, Dr. Tina Aiken spent hours teaching me Goldstein’s system of nutritional analysis.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

Nutritional medicine and chiropractic care comprise the majority of service I provide at Cold River Veterinary Center. Fully two-thirds of my clients are long-distance so our communications are by telephone, email, and written correspondence. I have a year of post-graduate education in animal nutrition from Cornell University (1985).

My post-graduate training in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine is through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS, certified 2002). I am a graduate of the Animal Chiropractic course from Parker College of Chiropractic and certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA, 2006).

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

Kate Kruesi and I founded Cold River Veterinary Center, a one-doctor holistic small animal practice  in North Clarendon, VT in May 1999. 

We have 3 full-time staff, including Kate.

Transient

What is your physical practice environment?  

CRVC operates a private clinic in a rural location.

What is a normal workday like for you?

As a holistic veterinarian with 15 years of experience my case load is largely drawn from dogs and cats with complex disease syndromes or chronic disease that has been refractory to improvement with conventional treatments. Given the severity and depth of the medical problems presented to CRVC our schedule has time slots of 1 – 2 hours for a new patient consultation, and 1 hour for follow-up appointments. It is common for new and existing clients to travel 1½ to 5 hours to our clinic for annual or semi-annual appointments. This allows our staff to work in a low-stress office environment at a sustainable pace and provides patients with a comfortable, supportive experience.

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

Non-invasive diagnostic tests have been an essential part of the accuracy and success of my treatment plans. I was the first veterinarian to employ comprehensive stool analysis from a human diagnostic laboratory for small animals. Ten years later the use of these tests has still enabled me to rehabilitate dogs and cats with a wide variety of diseases. Practically all of my patients have routine blood, urine, and fecal testing, many have steroid and thyroid hormone profiles to better understand the underlying problems. Many of my patients undergo IgE antibody allergy testing, and hair elements analysis. Our records of hair test results from more than 800 patients are probably the largest set of data of its kind. 

While these diagnostic tests have provided objective measures of a patient’s condition, the interpretation of those tests remains the difference between making good observations and having excellent outcomes. My favorite tool is a BioMedical Profile (BMP), the system of nutritional analysis I developed as a consistent way to prepare a nutritional treatment plan for individual patients.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

CRVC is a very results-oriented practice. We document our cases thoroughly by preparing flow charts for all laboratory test results over the course of treatment, capturing motion or gait changes with video files, taking photographs of patients before and after treatment, and maintaining lengthy written records from the patient intakes, physical exam findings, and client communications. The inspiration for self-improvement is from the remarkable recoveries we see in animals with truly difficult health problems.

What are your favorite conferences?  

The annual conference sponsored by AVCA is always motivating but I have enjoyed the Parker College seminars for chiropractors and nutritional medicine seminars taught by Dr. Jeffrey Bland.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

Living in rural Vermont means not having close access to a medical library. The Internet has many resources to inspire confidence, gain knowledge, or interact with colleagues.

Do you have any other professional activities?

I have been a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association for almost 20 years though have no free time to be active in that organization, but benefit from reading journals and periodicals.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

I am fortunate to have a 4-doctor regional hospital that provides emergency services for my local clients so that I do not have to respond to calls after our regular business hours.

What do you like to do away from the office?

Courtesy of Leo Kenney Photography

Courtesy of Leo Kenney Photography

I have several road bicycles and ride several thousand miles every year, commute 9 miles to work year-around, and participate in many cycling events for charity. The photograph shows me closing in on the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, the tallest peak in the East (copyright Leo Kenney Photography).

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

Holistic medicine is largely based on natural processes that will not become outmoded. Holistic care is supportive rather than predominantly interventional. Most of the principles of disease prevention are timeless and will serve animals well in the future. The current model of waiting for disease to occur and then managing the patient is doctor-centered rather than patient-centered and will continue to have inherent conflicts.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

There are few opportunities for formal education in holistic medicine so for practical reasons the methods and concepts are passed on from one veterinarian to another, an inconsistent way to transfer knowledge or experience. One way to acquire professional education in natural or holistic medicine is to enroll in courses at a college of naturopathic medicine or medical school and relate that information to the practice of holistic veterinary medicine.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Professional organizations such as AVCA, IVAS, the American Association of Veterinary Acupuncture (AAVA), etc. have improved the scope and quality of post-graduate education. As these peer organizations grow there will be a move towards research that can validate what we see everyday in private practice. Many veterinarians past and present have volunteered their time and expertise to build the quality of holistic practice around the world.


Dr. Donna Kelleher

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

A lot of this is in my book "The Proof is in the Poodle".  When I was thirteen I wanted to be a Vet when my horse Bill got hurt (turned out to be a foot abscess) but my Mom said I wasn't good enough in math and science (family support was generally okay despite this).  I considered it again when I was in college, after spending 1.5 years in England training to be a riding instructor, which would have been a  really tough carreer with my asthma.  I realized I was bored with sociology and psychology, basically resolved to the belief that people are way more screwed up than animals.  So I just tried a few science courses got A's and then took all my pre veterinary  courses in 1.5 years, including an accelerated inorganic chemistry class at Harvard Summer School.  It all went okay and here I am.

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

My own health concerns combined with exposure to the healing in other cultures.  My mother was an International Studies professor so we had guests from Thailand and Africa and I saw them make teas for their ailments instead of popping pills.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

I had tons.  Allen Schoen was a Vet mentor.  I did an internship with him when I was in Vet school and that led to getting the Grady Young Scholarship.  I took my IVAS training while I was still a senior in Vet school. (A program they have mistakingly discontinued).  But I have herbal teachers galore!

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

IVAS in 1994, AVCA in 1998, AHG (KP Khalsa's) herbal training in 1999, NAET in 2000. But my herbal training continues all the time.  I attend mulitple herbal conferences and workshops locally.  I grow a good portion of herbs here at the farm.  I wild craft and make my own salves.

 My mission is to move away from Chinese herbs to local and Native American herbs and then teach about the conversion.  I help teach for the Jade Institute in Seattle which brings Jeremy Ross to Seattle every year.  His books on applying Chinese medicine to Western herbs are awesome even though to carry them around is risky since they are so heavy!

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?  How many support staff do you have?

Solo.  I wish I could find like -minded and well trained souls but its hard.  Jeff Blake (my husband) is acupuncture certified and we may both take Matt Wood's herbal school in Portland starting next year;  then he could do more with the non orthopedic internal medicine cases.  I rent two cheap small office spaces to work out of-   one in Edmonds North of Seattle and one in Bellingham   I work 2-3 days a week and then work from home too.

What is your physical practice environment?  

You can't really tell that it is a Vet practice.  There are dog beds and couches and soft coverings for the tables.  Its cool that way.

What is a normal workday like for you?

Pretty busy, with 8-13 hours sometimes with no break for lunch.  

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?  

Not really.  I use two sizes of acupuncture needles.  I have several NAET kits and a little massage tool.  I have an electroacupuncture machine in each office and a laser but I dont use it very much.  I suppose the thing I like most is my 30 gauge hypodermic needles I get from Air Tite.  Why don't all vets do injections with them?  They are tiny and I can do aquapuncture in cats without any trouble.  Judith Rae Swanson from Chicago taught me that!

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

The plants.  They are little miracle workers.  If they had feet and hands and tasted like hamburgers, I would not be necessary.

What are your favorite conferences?  

The International Herbal Symposium. I like AHVMA but it seems to be in places i can't get to lately or I am all out of money from IVAS and AVCA CE that I haven't been able to attend.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

The more I meditate the better!  I do yoga and pilates and take my horses into the mountains.  The liberty horse training has been  the most amazing recent inspiration.  it is just like holistic medicine applied to horse training.  You don't force the horse,  instead you suggest or ask.  Just like herbs suggest and pharmaceudicals force. 

Do you have any other professional activities?

I make an herbal formula called "Feather Picking" for bird clinics and send it around the country. Writing my books and doing talks.  I like to make people laugh. I find it opens them up to new ideas.  I find that Vets and Doctors that can stay as open minded as possible are the best healers.  But it is hard when we spend so much money and time building our pedestal.  

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

Transient

Very difficult and I don't do very well!  But I try to take a day off the computer every week.  I do a lot of horse activities with my rescued horses and I hope to do more of that in the future!   I only see patients 2 or 3 days a week.  This helps a lot.

What do you like to do away from the office?

The things mentioned above plus spend time in the garden.

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

There will be a day when the public will demand holistic options for their pets and Vets will be forced to provide those options.  That is where we are going.  I think every clinic will have a holistic practitioner.  It is a lot of training but the public will demand it!

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Take a deep breath. Don't force learning.  Try to involve yourself in learning things in a fun environment.  Don't worry if there are no other Vets.  Try to let go a little of what you think you know.  Trust your intuition in all things.  I find that intuition gets so lost in our conventional training.

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Yes!  Guido Masse (a rising star in the herbal world ) presented this amazing research!   What he taught was how eating a huge variety of herbs and berries helps protect our DNA from carcinogenic damage.  He describes the science of "plant deficit disease" and it is super, super complicated but I think the science is rapidly revealing what we all know in our hearts.


Dr. Cynthia Lankenau

by Neal Sivula


Transient

History

When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?

I am one of those classic "I always wanted to be a vet" people.  I grew up on a 45 head dairy cow farm with a grandmother who insisted everyone had to have a profession (education was crucial in my family).  Literally as soon as I could walk, I was in charge of the calves.  I always had to be with the animals.  Our farm vet, Doc Jenkins was like a hero to me yet as I got older, I always thought that more could have been done.....

What led you to Holistic Medicine?

I had been fascinatied with acpuncture since those first Bill Moyers news clips from China when trade relations were opened during Nixon's time. But it was my animal patients that forced me to seek ways to really try to heal them and not just medicate them; A lame horse, led me to acupuncture; a horse in a trailer accident; chiropractic; homeopathy, a dog with chronic diarrhea after a vaccine; and still, on it goes on and on.

Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?

There has been no one close enough to directly mentor with but all of the instructors in all of the classes that I would consider mentors, Drs. Xie,  Pitcairn, Sharon Willoughby, Allen Schoen, Steve Marsden, Barbara Fougere.  I have always used the AHVMA and IVAS meetings as my mental anchor.  They would help me plan what I needed to learn next.

What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?

Acupuncture from IVAS in 1991.

Animal chiropractic in 1994 from ACVA, when Sharon Willouhby was still in charge.

 Homeopathy from Dr. Pitcairn's basic and advanded course in mid 90's; also a course with Jeremy Scherr.

Chinese Herbal Medicine-both IVAS classes, the original one with Jake Frakin in 1995-1996 and the new internet one 2009-2011.  The Chi Institute's herbal courses in 2003-4.

Tui Na from the Chi Institute also.  

Western Herbal Medicine- Rosemary Gladstar basic and advanced classes and Michael Tierra's course (hope to start Barbara Fougere's CIVT course soon).

Reiki; Dawn LaBarbara

Homotoxicology-short weekend classes with PJ and Rick.

Shamanistic techniques-Sandra Ingerman from the International Shamanistic Foundation.

Environment

What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)?

I have a solo practice which is solely Holistic.  My practice is 50% horses, 10% organic food animals, 40% small animal with the occasional bird, pig, camel, llama and ostrich.

Transient

How many support staff do you have?

I have one woman who helps during small animal office hours and helps with inventory and ordering.

What is your physical practice environment? 

I have a remodled mud room that I have turned into a very homey waiting area and a very homey exam room in my home.  We have a very small lab area for basic work.  My gargage serves as storage area for all of my herbs. I live in a wonderful environment; rolling hills off of Lake Erie with great farm and horse owners.

What is a normal workday like for you?

Every day is different; Monday and Wednesday are spent in my Small Animal office.  I start at 8 AM ish and end 5-7 PM.  Thursday and Friday are Large Animal days-they tend to be long start at 5-6 AM to 7-8 PM. Tuesday is my swing day, and my day to drive my daughter to gymnastics. There is usually half small animal with enough time for any Large animal urgent calls.  Weekends-just truly urgent cases, unless a client who truly only has weekends available. 

What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?

My hands and my acupuncture needles, herbs and homeopathic remedies.

Inspiration

What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?

My daughter, to impress upon me the importance of creating the best environment for future generations.  My animal clients, watching how they love alternative modalities and truly heal.   All of the work and wonders done by others who practice holistically;

Nature, plants, trees and all the many wonders she has.

What are your favorite conferences? 

AHVMA's annual meeting is by far my favorite, seeing all of the modalities together in harmony. IVAS right after that with the international connections and the International Herbal Symposium.  But there are so many great conferences today, all of the associations have wonderful conferences; AVH, ACVA, AAVA.

Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?

I love reading old medical texts.  I am fascinated at how brilliant the early homeopaths, herbalists and Chinese Medical practitioners were. So I read a lot.

I also love hearing other different approaches, so I go to many meetings. Right now Jeremy Ross and his TCM approach using western herbs is incredible.

Do you have any other professional activities?

Currently I am president of the Veterinary Botanical Medical Association, on the Council of Elders in the AHVMA, and trying to organize a Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medical Association in NYS.

I am also a tutor for the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.

Balance

How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?

Although I always prioritize my daughter's activities, my work and home lives are very intertwined.  My husband, daughter and I try to "walk the talk"; we eat locally raised food as much as possible, leave a minimal carbon trail, live as organically as possible, try to grow many of my herbs, and be involved in community affairs.  Having my small animal office in our house, my clients all seem to become family friends.   My clients love when my daughter is helping in the office,  So work has enriched my family, and my family enriches my work.

Also, most of our family vacations revolve around the international IVAS meetings.

What do you like to do away from the office?

I spend a lot of time driving my daughter to gymnastic practice and meets.  As a family, we all go to Karate.  On my own, I have two trail horses who really keep me sane.   I scuba dive.  That is my real source of relaxation.  I can sneak in a quick drift dive weekly in the Niagara River ( In winter, it is a little tough though).

The Future

What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?

Hmm...There is such a incredible need of which so many people recognize.  I am very encouraged by the acceptance in some corners of the conventional world, enough to truly hope and believe that every veterinary college in the future will offer training in all alternative modalities, minimize drug use, and truly practice wellness maintenance medicine.  But I see two problems both created from greed.  I am nervous that when the conventional world realizes the loss of income from animals being truly healthy, they might wage an aggressive smear campaign.  Secondly, I am embarrassed by the prices that some practitioners are charging when they are minimally trained in barely one modality.  It damages our credibility and destroys people's confidence in alternative medicine.

Do you have any advice to those just starting out?

Follow Your Heart

Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?

Actually, it is the newly found old developments that excite me; reading Paracelsus, Hildegard von Bingen, Culpeper, Scudder, Felter, Ellingwood, Cook, Shang Han Lun, and on and on.