Dr. Michael Lemmon

by Neal Sivula



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.


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.


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.


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.