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  • Writer's pictureNAH Admin-Coordinator

Allow Us to Re-Introduce Ourselves: The Veterinarians of NAH Holistic

Dr. Jennifer Morris-Roberts Dr. Mallory Phillips

Since 2013, we have been proud to offer the pets of Alachua County natural treatment options like acupuncture, laser therapy, and more at our Holistic & Wellness Center. The past 10 years have brought us joy in watching Holistic pet care grow in popularity for the pets that need it, and gratitude for the 2 amazing doctors, Dr. Mallory Phillips and Dr. Jennifer Morris-Roberts, who have joined our practice and made waves in the Holistic pet care community. It's been awhile since we've chatted about Holistic pet care, so we figured we would sit down with these remarkable doctors to reflect on what brought them here and what they see as the future for integrative veterinary medicine:

  1. What inspired you to become a veterinarian?

Dr. Phillips: Not only do veterinarians help to improve the health and wellness of pets, but we are also able to support and aid the community of people that bring those animals in. I love connecting with people and seeing the bond that they have with their fur babies. Being a part of their care is what I enjoy most.

Dr. Morris: Growing up in a home filled with pets instilled in me the important roll that animals play in our lives. The human-animal bond improves our quality of life by adding joy and love to all who experience it. I am not sure that I ever seriously considered a path other than veterinary medicine.  Having the ability to Help support humans in caring for their beloved pets is a gift for me that continues to enrich my own life and hopefully the lives of the furry friends that I meet along the way. 

2. What made you choose to practice Holistic vet care? What is your favorite part about it?

JM: Soon after my graduation from veterinary school, I began to see that there are places in which conventional medicine has some limitations. I was seeking a way to add more choices in the treatment options that I can provide, which led me to begin learning about Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. To me, ‘holistic’ means that we are looking at our whole patient to get closer to the root of the issue. As part of the NAH Holistic doctor group, I get to be an integrative practitioner - using my conventional training in combination with my Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Training to best support my patients. My favorite part is being able to offer treatment options that can be helpful when our conventional options have not achieved the desired result.

MP: The term ‘holistic’ to me means getting to the root of the problem, treating the patient as a whole, and individualizing care to each patient. My favorite part of this practice specifically is the wide range of treatment options available to me in order to best serve my patients. Integrating herbal remedies and acupuncture into traditional Western medicine opens the door to a variety of possibilities and allows me to individualize my care better.

    3. Do you have a memorable case in which Holistic services have helped a pet?

MP: One of my most memorable cases involved the sweetest hound dog who suddenly lost motor function in her back legs due to a spinal cord injury. Surgery was not an option for her, so her owners were desperately looking for an alternative option that may allow her to walk again. After weeks of intensive acupuncture and physical therapy, she was able to walk (and now even run) again. Watching her regain strength while her owners regained hope was incredibly beautiful and a memory I will cherish forever.

JM: One of the most exciting improvements I have seen with acupuncture treatments specifically was in a cat that I saw years ago. She belonged to a veterinarian that I worked with. She had a lameness for months and had even gone to the veterinary orthopedist for evaluation. After only one acupuncture treatment, she was almost back to normal. I think we only gave her two treatments and she was better. That was a very dramatic and rapid improvement - most patients take a little bit longer duration of treatment. But witnessing her improvement was amazing, and there is not really a placebo effect for pets like there is for humans. Animals are incredible patients!

    4. How can pets that receive mainly Western veterinary treatments also benefit from Holistic pet care?

JM: I think any pet can benefit from adding in small changes to their lifestyle to support their wellness. Small changes can be as simple as adding in a fresh food to their kibble diet while bigger changes can be getting them on a regular acupuncture and exercise program to support their needs. As an integrative practitioner, I can consider recommendations for any pet.

MP: I love to integrate holistic care into most of my Western treatment plans. Some forms of integration include herbals, supplements, acupuncture, and laser therapy. I particularly enjoy a multimodal approach when it comes to senior pets and improving their quality of life. I enjoy utilizing every possible option to keep them comfortable and enjoying life.

    5. What is your favorite Holistic service that you provide and why?

MP: I really enjoy acupuncture when using it for chronic pain and neurologic abnormalities. Every patient’s needs and circumstances are different - they may not be strong surgical candidate or may not tolerate certain medications. They may have even exhausted all of their Western treatment options and still need more relief. Acupuncture offers a low risk and high reward pain relief option for patients who require a different path of care.

JM: My favorite service to provide is acupuncture. I am always delighted to see how accepting our patients are of this treatment and how it can help them to feel better.  At times, their positive responses even encourage their humans to seek out acupuncture treatment for themselves!

    6. What impact do you think Holistic care has made on the veterinary industry?

JM: I have been a veterinarian for over 25 years. Integrative therapies have gone from being on the fringe and difficult to find to being almost mainstream and are now included in parts of veterinary education. It is uplifting to see more people seeking out additional treatment options for their pets (and themselves). 

MP: By including alternative therapies, we are able to offer more individualized care to fit the needs of each patient. Every circumstance and every pet is different and we should be treating them as such. Holistic medicine allows more flexibility and individuality in care plans.

    7. What kind of pet patients would be good candidates for acupuncture? Laser Therapy?

MP: We often utilize laser therapy for orthopedic injuries, pain, and dermatological issues (hot spots, wounds, etc.). Acupuncture is beneficial for a number of conditions from neurologic and orthopedic conditions to gastrointestinal and endocrine disturbances. While most patients would benefit from laser or acupuncture, not every pet enjoys it. It is important for me to watch the pet’s comfort and stress levels during sessions. If they are uncomfortable, anxious, or experiencing high stress during multiple sessions, we may reconsider their care plan. Laser therapy also requires patience and tolerance of safety goggles for each session, but we utilize popsicles, praise, and lots of pets to make each appointment enjoyable. We are happy to consult with pet parents to determine if acupuncture and laser is a good fit for their pet.

JM: Many of my acupuncture & laser patients are seeking options for mobility issues, including pets with arthritis. Acupuncture and laser therapy can be used for various conditions that need pain management or cases that need to reduce inflammation. We also see beneficial results in other conditions that vary from chronic gastrointestinal problems to allergic conditions, which may benefit from some of the herbal therapies.

    8. What is your appointment availability for those interested in a Holistic appointment?

JM: I am typically on the schedule seeing patients 2 days per week, but at least 1 doctor from our Holistic group is seeing patients most weekdays and some Saturdays too.

MP: I am in the hospital Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and every other Saturday. I take new consults and established patients on any day that I am in-hospital. Establishing appointments are a great way for us to get to know each other, become familiar with your pet, and determine if my practice style is the right fit for you. I look forward to meeting you and your furry friends!

Interested in learning more about holistic treatment options with Dr. Morris-Roberts or Dr. Phillips? Give us a call to schedule an appointment today at (352) 332-9991

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