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Prescott Valley Tribune | Prescott Valley, Arizona

home : features : features April 25, 2015


1/8/2014 8:52:00 AM
Vet takes holistic approach to healing
Dr. Carolyn O’ Sullivan integrates holistic healing methods into her practice and specializes in acupuncture, holistic nutrition, rehabilitation, pain management and herbal therapy.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Dr. Carolyn O’ Sullivan integrates holistic healing methods into her practice and specializes in acupuncture, holistic nutrition, rehabilitation, pain management and herbal therapy.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Daphane, the Labrador, takes her job as greeter very seriously. She often relaxes both clients and patients during their visits with Dr. Carolyn O’Sullivan.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas
Daphane, the Labrador, takes her job as greeter very seriously. She often relaxes both clients and patients during their visits with Dr. Carolyn O’Sullivan.
Trib Photo/Briana Lonas

Briana Lonas
Reporter


Dr. Carolyn O'Sullivan is a one-woman show. Clients won't find the typical "white coat" treatment at this Prescott Valley veterinary clinic. Instead, Daphane the Labrador greets every client, more often than not, with a toy in her mouth. Furry patients may enjoy fresh well water for refreshment and coming soon, O'Sullivan will be providing organic beef bones, meat and free-range chicken eggs for her patients and their owners.

O'Sullivan opened her holistic practice this past summer after many years practicing in Las Vegas. She carries a doctorate degree in veterinary medicine from Purdue University in addition to a professional resume packed with impressive licenses, including experience working in Tasmania. But a life-changing event steered O'Sullivan off her traditional course and onto a different one.

"My dad got sick. He was a cardiac and thoracic surgeon and ended up in one of his own hospitals. For six months he was treated with western medicine. It was so, so ugly. Something inside me said there has to be a better way," O'Sullivan said.

She now takes an integrated approach into her work with a focus on Chinese medicine, food therapy, acupuncture and herbals in conjunction with Western diagnostics and treatments. During her journey into holistic healing, she said she met the most amazing, open-minded problem solvers.

"The way they thought was magical," she said.

O'Sullivan explained that she now has a different education and experience than she used to. Now she tells people, "I'm not cutting off the branches of the problems anymore, I'm digging out the roots."

O'Sullivan will work in tandem with her animal patient's current doctors and if that entails continuing western medications, that's fine as there may be a slow progression off of them down the road.

She performs an initial two-hour consultation with her clients and their pets and wants to know everything about her furry as well as her exotic patients.

O'Sullivan likes to break down the actual essence of the pet and doesn't hesitate to help owners understand the underlying themes of their loved ones' constitutions.

For example, cats were born to be carnivores and hunters. Dogs can live very well without eating processed kibble. Diet is a critical component to her balanced approach to healing.

"It's a process, not a pill," she said when describing her style.

With some cases, a simple change in diet or environment can bring about healing. "Even introducing probiotics can make a big difference," she said.

O'Sullivan pointed out that everyone works together as a team-the owner, patient, traditional veterinarian and O'Sullivan. "What I do is inclusive, not exclusive," she said.

O'Sullivan said she maintains good relationships with local, traditional veterinarians including Prescott Animal Hospital and the Pet Emergency clinic. "I refer my clients to them if needed," she said and added that she does not provide emergency or on-call services.

The patients coming through her doors range from those already benefiting from a holistic approach, to those entering as a last-ditch effort. O'Sullivan is a huge proponent of encouraging quality of life in her animal patients. An effective healing program is more than taking temperature, pulse, respiration and prescribing a pill. In her practice, she combines a multi-faceted approach to her treatment plans that might include acupuncture needles, low level light laser therapy, deep tissue massage and acupressure, depending on the patient's needs.

She finds that a lot of pet owners look things up on the Internet. O'Sullivan said that while the Web is packed full of information, owners should discusswith their doctor what they think is wrong with their pet, not what the Internet says might be wrong. The contraindications can be dangerous when pet owners try to administer therapies without professional help.

"Everyone is trying to do the right thing for their pets, but there is so much information out there," she said.

O'Sullivan carries the belief that life is short, and our four-legged friends have so much to offer while they are here with us.

"I don't have all the answers, I just try really hard," she said.

Holistic Veterinary Care is at 8200 E. Valley Road. For an appointment, call 928-925-4130.


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