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.