by Rebecca Antsis and Karen G. Meshkov
It’s a Monday evening at Doylestown Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Pet Care (DVH) and Buddy, a senior golden retriever, is lying belly down on the examination table. To one who has never seen a dog with a collection of acupuncture needles sticking out of his back, the scene might seem a bit strange. Acupuncture treatment sessions are an essential part of Buddy’s wellness regimen, as are similar treatments for many people who rely on this 2,000-year-old healing modality.
When his owners first came to DVH, he was suffering from pain and lameness. Buddy’s situation was serious with no conventional treatment options left to try. It was one year ago that they were lucky enough to find Dr. David MacDonald, one of the hospital’s resident veterinarians who specializes in acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Buddy turns 13 years old next week, and his condition continues to improve.
DVH is located in a historic farmhouse in Doylestown, down a gravel road that leads to an expanse of bucolic acreage. When approaching the property, it looks more like a charming bed and breakfast than the hub of cutting-edge veterinary medicine that it is. In operation since 1972, under the direction of Doctors Laura and Randy Weis since 2004, Doylestown Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Pet Care offers a happy and highly effective synthesis of conventional veterinary science, nutritional medicine and complementary healing modalities.
When asked about DVH’s uniquely integrative, patient-centered approach to animal health, Dr. Laura Weis suggests that their philosophy has emerged as a natural and timely response to changing social conditions for animals and humans alike. She points out, “Because animals, like their pet owners, are living longer and are subjected to increasing toxins in their food and environment, a gentler hand is often needed to address complex, quality of life concerns.”
She advocates for nutritional modifications and alternative treatments in lieu of more invasive interventions. Speaking specifically to her use of homeopathic methods, she says, “Even with an acute problem, you give the remedy and you can see an immediate effect; it can work faster than a shot, and that kind of evidence is convincing.”
The philosophy of the hospital is by no means dogmatic. The doctors employ the rationale that “always encompasses the perspectives of the pet and the pet’s guardian, and what is most likely to achieve optimal and vibrant health.” For this reason, although the preference is to minimize the use of chemical interventions, Weis affirms that they are sometimes the best option.
MacDonald sums up his philosophy as an “ancient way of thinking, yet understanding from a modern perspective.”
With a staff that fluctuates between 10 to 15 people, depending on the season, DVH succeeds in feeling intimate enough to make patients and their pet parents feel like family, yet large enough to provide extensive onsite treatment options. The newly expanded facilities include multiple exam rooms, including a wonderful new space for holistic care, a surgical suite, acupuncture, a full homeopathic program and laser therapy.
While preventive care, nutritional guidance and health maintenance are an integral part of its services, Weis shares that DVH often sees cases that other veterinarians have turned away or determined to be “lost causes”. She says a common refrain heard from the waiting room is, “Well, we’ve tried everything else.”
Lucky for Buddy, and others like him in Bucks County, that DVH is leaving the light on, and pushing the boundaries of convention to develop innovative protocols for increased pet health, happiness and longevity.
Doylestown Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Pet Care sits adjacent to Holiday House Pet Resort at 380 N. Shady Retreat Rd., in Doylestown. To find out more about Doylestown Veterinary Hospital, call 215-398-6005 or visit DoylestownVeterinaryHospital.com.
Rebecca Antsis is a Pennsylvania-based writer, multimedia performer and editorial associate for Natural Awakenings BuxMont. Connect at RebeccaAntsis@gmail.com.
Karen G. Meshkov is the Publisher and Director of Advertising Partnerships of Natural Awakenings of Bucks and Montgomery Counties. Connect at Publisher@NABuxMont.com.