The whole pet
by By NICOLE SOURS LARSON | San Diego Pets
12:00 AM, Sunday, May 20
A long-haired calico with beautiful markings and a “felion’s” temperament, Annabelle Hillary—named for Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest, because she was such a climber—was found under a car in Arlington, Va. as a semi-feral month-old kitten.
She was just 13 when I discovered several lumps on her belly. My husband and I rushed her to our vet, who removed and biopsied the lumps. The diagnosis of adenocarcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer rare in spayed females, stunned us, as we had just lost our elder cat, Shasta, at age 20 two weeks before.
We authorized our vet, Dr. Andrea Newman of the Old Dominion Animal Hospital in McLean, Va., to consult a veterinary oncologist in Portland, Ore., who specialized in this cancer. He recommended a radical mastectomy and chemotherapy, which at that time was extremely harsh. 
Whether we proceeded with the treatment or did nothing, we were forecast the same outcome: a maximum six months to a year to live.
We scheduled, rescheduled and cancelled the surgery twice after consulting my own acupuncturist, who also treated animals. We also rejected an experimental cancer treatment, proposed by a holistic vet, that we knew Annabelle would never tolerate.
Instead, we gave her lots of love and took her for acupuncture treatments to Dr. Jordan Kocen at South Paws Veterinary Specialty Center in Springfield, Va. His own dog had had cancer. He told us he couldn’t cure Annabelle nor promise to prolong her life but that he could improve her quality of life.
He advised monthly acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs mixed into her food. Under Kocen’s care, Annabelle improved and stabilized.
Annabelle, which Newman called her “miracle kitty,” lived nearly five years with her holistic treatments, finally saying goodbye at 18.	<b><i>– Nicole Sours Larson</b></i>
A long-haired calico with beautiful markings and a “felion’s” temperament, Annabelle Hillary—named for Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest, because she was such a climber—was found under a car in Arlington, Va. as a semi-feral month-old kitten. She was just 13 when I discovered several lumps on her belly. My husband and I rushed her to our vet, who removed and biopsied the lumps. The diagnosis of adenocarcinoma, an aggressive form of breast cancer rare in spayed females, stunned us, as we had just lost our elder cat, Shasta, at age 20 two weeks before. We authorized our vet, Dr. Andrea Newman of the Old Dominion Animal Hospital in McLean, Va., to consult a veterinary oncologist in Portland, Ore., who specialized in this cancer. He recommended a radical mastectomy and chemotherapy, which at that time was extremely harsh. Whether we proceeded with the treatment or did nothing, we were forecast the same outcome: a maximum six months to a year to live. We scheduled, rescheduled and cancelled the surgery twice after consulting my own acupuncturist, who also treated animals. We also rejected an experimental cancer treatment, proposed by a holistic vet, that we knew Annabelle would never tolerate. Instead, we gave her lots of love and took her for acupuncture treatments to Dr. Jordan Kocen at South Paws Veterinary Specialty Center in Springfield, Va. His own dog had had cancer. He told us he couldn’t cure Annabelle nor promise to prolong her life but that he could improve her quality of life. He advised monthly acupuncture treatments and Chinese herbs mixed into her food. Under Kocen’s care, Annabelle improved and stabilized. Annabelle, which Newman called her “miracle kitty,” lived nearly five years with her holistic treatments, finally saying goodbye at 18. – Nicole Sours Larson
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Step into the Animal Healing Center (AHC), located at 1228 Vega St., just off Morena Boulevard in Bay Park, and you know that you’re not in a traditional veterinary office. The exterior looks like a cottage, complete with a colorful plant-bedecked porch, while the restful, art-filled reception and treatment rooms are set up with sofas and comfortable chairs.

It’s just the nurturing environment Keith Weingardt, DVM, envisioned when he opened the holistic veterinary practice in 2006. Katie Kangas and Amanda Aldridge, both DVMs also trained in holistic therapies, practice with him, as does Ann Montalto, an RN who provides canine massage and bodywork. The setting reflects the warmth and kindness the vets and their staff radiate.

A graduate of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, N.Y., Weingardt was working as a emergency and critical care vet at a specialty hospital in San Diego County when his dog, Max, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Already frustrated with the limits of Western veterinary medicine, Weingardt began looking for alternative treatments when Max developed severe side effects from massive doses of steroids. The holistic vet he consulted recommended nutritional supplements and homeopathic remedies as well as a raw diet. Soon, Max was eating better, with diminished side effects, and the treating vets were able to reduce his steroids. Max lived another six months, with a greatly improved quality of life.

Max’s illness proved a turning point in the traditionally trained Weingardt’s career, confirming his suspicion that many conventional veterinary diagnostics and treatments offered limited benefits. He studied with a San Diego holistic veterinarian and trained and became certified in veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic and traditional Chinese medicine, including the use of Chinese herbs, before opening AHC.

Weingardt and his colleagues view their practice more as an adjunct to that of general veterinarians and refer clients to other vets for traditional or specialized treatments as needed. They also offer general health and nutritional counseling, helping animals get on the right diets with appropriate supplements. Pets usually come to them, Weingardt explained, “after traditional medicine has exhausted its options.”

“A lot of clients see changes in their pets and bring in their other pets,” added Kangas, who has also served as an emergency vet and spent five years as medical director for the San Diego Humane Society.

“When we opened, (an exclusively holistic practice) was a niche waiting to be filled,” Weingardt explains.

He recommends that those seeking a holistic practitioner ask likeminded friends for recommendations and check credentials. “If someone’s offering services, they should be educated and certified in what they’re offering,” he said.

The following list of holistic veterinarians and veterinary therapists represents a sampling of San Diego practitioners recommended by other veterinarians and clients.


Holistic Veterinarians/Acupuncture/Chiropractic



Animal Healing Center

1228 Vega St., San Diego 92110

(619) 276-5900

www.animalhealingcenter.net


Keith R. Weingardt, DVM, CVA

Acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine and herbs, chiropractic, general health and nutritional counseling, canine massage and bodywork. No general veterinary services; coordinates with pets’ usual vets.


Healing Hope

511 S. Cedros Ave., Suites A & B, Solana Beach 92075

(877) 738-4673

www.healinghope.net


Tamara Hebbler, DVM

Holistic veterinary services only; acupuncture, muscle testing, nutrition, nutraceuticals, glandulars, homeopathy, herbs, flower essences, chiropractic and energy therapies.


Home Sweet Home

Veterinary Housecalls

(619) 226-7297

www.sdhousecallvet.com


Dawn Ziegler, DVM

In-home visits in central San Diego for general and holistic veterinary services; health exams, vaccines, medications, lab tests, acupuncture and chiropractic treatments; wider North, East and South County service area for in-home euthanasia.


Cardiff Animal Hospital

2159 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff 92007

(760) 436-3215

www.cardiffanimalhospital.com


Monica A. Laflin, DVM

Traditional and holistic veterinary services; physical therapy, acup-uncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, Chinese herbs and Reiki.


Kensington

Veterinary Hospital

3817 Adams Ave., San Diego 92116

(619) 584-8418

www.kensingtonvet.com


Patricia J. Ungar, DVM, CVA

Traditional and holistic veterinary service; acupuncture, homeopathy, dentistry, nutritional counseling; spa and grooming.


Acacia Animal

Health Center

655 W. Citracado Parkway,

Escondido 92025

(760) 745-8115

www.aahc.us


Carmine Bausone, DVM, CVA,

Director of Integrative

& Holistic Medicine

Traditional and holistic veterinary medicine; acupuncture, chiropractic, physical rehab and Chinese herbs for birds, rabbits, reptiles and other exotics plus cats and dogs.


Physical Therapy/Water Therapy/Rehabilitation

Animal Acupuncture and Rehabilitation Center (AARC)

10441 Roselle St., Suite D,

San Diego 92121

(858) 638-4171

www.aarcsd.com


Claire Sosna, DVM

Acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, physical therapy and rehabilitation, water therapy, underwater treadmill.


Cutting Edge K9 Rehab

Markim Pet Resort, 4393 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley 92130

(619) 227-7802

www.cuttingedgek9.com

Trish Penick, Physical Therapist

Physical therapy, personal training for dogs and water therapy with heated pool and underwater treadmill; vet referral required.


PAWsitive Rehabilitation

1362 Garnet Ave.,

Pacific Beach 92109

(858) 270-1690

www.pawsrehab.com

Renee Wallis, RVT, CCRP, CCRA

Massage, physical and water therapy, underwater treadmill and custom-fit dog braces and carts; vet referral required.


Tinassy’s K-9 Splash-R-Cise

10925 Hartley Rd.,

Suite E, Santee 92071

(619) 200-7619

www.tinassysk9splashrcise.com

Water therapy, massage and exercise programs.
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