When did your interest in Veterinary Medicine begin?
I have always been interested in animals, biology, chemistry and science in general. It wasn't until high school that I put it all together and decided I was going to be a veterinarian.
What led you to Holistic Medicine?
My first exposure was an after-hours lecture about acupuncture during my junior year in vet school. Shortly after graduation I joined IVAS and bought some acupuncture charts. Without any training I experimented with some points on a very limited basis. It wasn't until 1993 that I was able to take the IVAS acupuncture course. From there I took Richard Pitcairn's homeopathy course, the Options animal chiropractic course and the Healing Oasis veterinary Chinese herbology course. I continue to take holistic courses and go to the AHVMA conference yearly for more holistic education. I've done a lot of my own research into natural nutrition. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn more.
Did you have any mentors as you became involved in Holistic Medicine?
Dr. Donn Griffith was the after-hours acupuncture lecturer who got me started. Along the way, Dr. Susan Beal was very helpful in encouraging me on the path as well as Dr. Maria Glinski.
What modalities do you practice, and where did you get your training?
Acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, herbal therapy, and nutrition.
What is the structure of your practice (eg. Solo, group, Integrative, solely Holistic)? How many support staff do you have?
I am the owner of a 3 doctor practice, 2 of us practice integrative medicine and one is strictly Western. We have 16 support staff.
What is your physical practice environment?
I practice out of a building that has been a veterinary office since the 1930's. It has since been expanded, and obviously updated, but maintains a homey feel.
What is a normal workday like for you?
Do any of us have a "normal" workday? Every day brings new cases and faces, and challenges. I seen new holistic cases daily as well and those seeking conventional medicine. About half of my time is spent doing acupuncture and maybe 1/10 doing chiropractic. I also spend a lot of time following up on patients that are getting herbal and nutritional therapies.
What are your favorite tools (eg. Supplies, products, computers, etc)?
My favorite tools are my acupuncture needles. I like Standard Process supplements as well as Vetri-Science and Rx Vitamins. I use Health Concerns, Kahn, and 7 Forests herbs - but I'm planning to transition to Chi herbs.
What provides you with inspiration in your practice life?
My biggest inspiration are the patients that need help that Western medicine cannot provide. I'm also inspired by the clients who are willing to do whatever is necessary to help their pets. My wife is also a big inspiration for me. I take inspiration from the many holistic vets I've met over the years as well.
What are your favorite conferences?
The AHVMA and also NAVC.
Are there any other things you do to be inspired professionally?
I'm a member of the Association for Research and Enlightenment (ARE) which keeps me in touch with the spiritual element of healing.
Do you have any other professional activities?
I lecture at veterinary meetings as well as pet owner events. I am also the conference committee coordinator for the AHVMA annual conference.
How do you maintain balance between your professional activities and home life?
I schedule myself ample time out of the office each week and also like to travel with my wife. I stopped doing on-call emergencies a few years ago and that was a great help with balance. My wife and I meditate together daily which I find grounding.
What do you like to do away from the office?
I like traveling, lecturing, volunteering my time and effort, writing, gardening and working out - roughly in that order.
What is the future of holistic veterinary medicine?
I think holistic medicine is the wave of the future. The holistic part of my practice has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past 7 years and I think the grassroots demand will continue to surge.
Do you have any advice to those just starting out?
Start by getting an overview of as many modalities as you can. When you find one that you are drawn to, find a certification course for it and dive in. Once you master one modality, you may be drawn to learn about others, or maybe that one will be enough.
Are there any new developments in Medicine that excite you?
I'm always intrigued by research into nutrition. It seems every new study points back to eating a diet that matches evolutionary development. I'm also interested in Stem Cell therapy and anti-aging medicine (probably due to the fact that I'm not getting any younger).