Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland is bringing new-age health care to our furry, four-legged friends.
The clinic, owned by CEO Lee Richter and her husband Dr. Gary Richter, opened in 2009 to offer integrative and holistic treatment plans, including alternative methods like herbal therapy and acupuncture to animals.
Pets, like humans, can benefit from care approached from an alternative perspective, Lee Richter said.
“Pet parents worldwide are beginning to understand and apply total body health care approaches to their pet care regimen,” Lee Richter said. “Rather than searching online for answers to questions your vet has trouble answering, you can meet with our professionals here to get top-of-the-line care for your pet.”
Holistic Veterinary Care is the first vet in Oakland that has a rehabilitation center for pets and the only pet clinic in the Bay Area that offers a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, which has shown healing benefits for pets with trauma, wounds and burns and other maladies. Aside from the regular menu of veterinary offerings, the clinic also offers chiropractic care, stem-cell treatments, cold laser therapy and pulse signal therapy.
The clinic specializes in formulating individualized treatment plans for each pet patient that can involve diet, vaccines, preventative and integrative care and more. It’s an approach that looks to be working, not just for the pets but for the business as well. Revenue increased nearly 80% to top $1.7 million from 2018 to 2020.
The social isolation imposed by the pandemic led more people to chose to adopt an animal for companionship and a corresponding increase in the need for veterinary care.
To meet the jump in demand, Holistic Veterinary purchased new equipment and brought in additional technology. They also focused on supporting their team’s wellness with meals, additional paid time off and flexible scheduling — which allowed them to retain all team members while still meeting client needs.
“To keep our team and clients safe, we had to do a complete overhaul in how we interact with our clients in order to maintain the close relationships with pet parents we strive for,” said Lee Richter. “We implemented new technology and protocols to keep our interactions as frictionless as possible while continuing to deliver the highest level of care possible. We ultimately discovered even better ways to serve our clients in general, which we are incredibly grateful for.”
Some ways the clinic adopted technology include implementing a two-way SMS platform that allows clients to text when they arrive, need prescription refills or have a question for the doctor. The clinic also started sending videos of pets receiving treatments, so owners could feel comfortable being separated during the visit.
Lisa Campbell, a client at Holistic Veterinary, took her pup Dharma to the clinic to help treat the three-year-old lab mix’s bevy of maladies which invluded developmental cerebellar disease, a rare type of urinary crystals and fear aggression.
The vet was able to help minimize the stress of the whole experience for the dog — and for Lisa — while offering additional treatment options that hadn’t been available elsewhere.
“Dr. Richter, the office and his staff, are the real thing. They make other vets look like automatons,” Campbell said. “I’m sorry I waited so long to get an appointment here. This is the best vet experience we have ever had.”
Looking toward the future, Holistic Veterinary Care plans to expand its staff further. This will give them the opportunity to provide more treatment options, serve more clients and help them increase the availability of appointments. The clinic is also working on building their online presence to bring education and resources to improve animal health to audiences beyond the Bay Area.
“I am thrilled to be part of such an incredible team of forward-thinking medical professionals who make such a positive impact in the world,” said Jessica Bogosian, a registered veterinary technician at Holistic Veterinary Care. “We get the opportunity every day to be pioneers in this field by helping to provide options to people who have run out of solutions for their pets’ care. By actively working to educate pet owners both online and in our office, we are finding ways to increase overall awareness of the importance of holistic medicine worldwide.”
Brooke Strickland is a Vancouver, Washington-based freelance writer.