Cuba, who we call our little 17 year old kitten (although he’s probably 18 now,) has hyperthyroidism. For the past two years he’s been on a very low dosage of Tapazole. He’s been doing fine. Had we been given more information about the ‘gold standard’ treatment of radiation, from the vet who diagnosed it, we may have gone that route, but lack of knowledge changes a lot of decisions.
That being said, just recently, we felt we needed some blood work on our ‘kitten.’ He had been throwing up, which ultimately I think was due to a supplement we were giving him, but I believe it was the universe’s way of getting us to do the blood work.
His thyroid numbers had, indeed, elevated, along with his liver enzymes and some other less concerning numbers. Because we like to have a vet come to our home for our cats, to lower their stress level, I found a wonderful woman and her assistant who came out to do the blood work. (I had been looking for different home vets, some we didn’t like, others were good but we just didn’t feel the cats connected with them. This vet was wonderful. The only downfall was, admittedly, she was not knowledgable about holistic measures, (and a bit closed-minded with regard to my well-researched, veterinary-backed food choices) but I do really like her, she and her assistant are wonderful with the cats, so as with so many vets, we will just have to agree to disagree. I have already referred her to clients.
That’s fine. We liked her and we will use her again. It does, however, put us in the position of finding the information about anything complementary we would like to use to keep Cuba as healthy as possible. The most important issue I wanted to talk about was raw food. It’s maddening when an allopathic vet automatically tells you not to feed raw. It puts us, as pet parents, in a position of not knowing if there is a legitimate reason to ‘warm’ the food, or if it is just that they are biased against raw food. I wanted an educated opinion.
I called around to some people in the animal community I know. Ultimately I was referred to a woman, a vet who does acupuncture, who was referred as ‘holistic’ and ‘integrative.’ Yeah, not so much.
Y’know, when a proposed psychic takes someone’s money, tells them what is wrong, but then tells them the only way they can fix it is to keep giving them more money, it is a clear sign they are a fraud. Yet, evidently, no one thinks much of it when a vet does it. I do.
When I spoke to this person on the phone, I told her that all I really wanted was a consult about the food and perhaps some supplements. She came highly recommended. (I really need to learn my lesson about that, with regard to contractors, and now, I guess, with ‘holistic’ vets.)
In that phone call, she led me to believe she could fullfill that role. However, she would not do so unless I agreed to an acupuncture session, as well, for my cat, at a ridiculously high cost. Hey, I don’t mind paying money for my cat if that’s what he needs, but all I wanted was a consult on raw food, which she also misled me to believe she advocates.
I asked her how much just a home visit would be, she said it was the acupuncture or nothing. With current regret, I agreed. (Not even professional psychics always follow their own intuition.) Of course, on the bill, after her visit, the ‘office visit’, was listed as only $65, so clearly, she could have done it if she had wanted to but evidently feels the fact that there are so few holistic vets in our area is justification to extort us for more services.
Once here, she walked in like she owned the place. She was arrogant and condescending, and the reason I feel she misled me when I told her on the phone that I was looking for someone holistic and integrative was because, when she got here, I felt she knew nothing about integrative medicine. She knows Chinese medicine and that’s it.
This was to the point that when I asked her about certain supplements I was using, she was commenting on them tentatively, but advising nonetheless. I finally asked, “Do you even know what this supplement is?” “Well, it’s not something I use.” “You don’t use it, but do you *know* what it is?” “It’s not something I use.” IOW, ‘no.’ She was advising about it, but didn’t actually know what it was.
When the conversation turned to the raw food, one of the only things I really wanted to know about, she began using technical jargon, seemingly purposefully to be condescending. “I know it’s hard for some people to understand ….” Oh, please.
When I asked if one of the words she was using related to the digestibility of the food, she looked at the clock (she had been 15 minutes late, by the way) and said, “I don’t have time to give you a lesson on Chinese medicine.” I sternly replied, “I’m not looking for a lesson on Chinese medicine, but I’m paying you [x amount of dollars] and I have a right to know what you’re talking about.”
At that point she became adamant in telling me I was paying for her time and ‘expertise.’ Funny, the only expertise I got was her telling me what was wrong with my cat, (which I already knew) and that she had a treatment plan. However, like that fraud of a psychic, she wouldn’t tell me what that treatment plan was unless I bought everything from her, and paid her the same outrageous amount of money, ongoing, every 2 weeks for who knows how long.
Now, with regard to Chinese medicine, hey, I’m fine with it. I believe in anything that will help my cat, IF it is what is warranted after I have been given ALL of my options. But, evidently that wasn’t in her game plan.
As I was ready to write down that God-given ‘treatment plan’, so I could learn what this ‘expert’ thinks will help, she made it clear that she would not tell me what herbs she recommends. In fact, the only way I was to get these herbs was to bow down to her highness, with money of course, buy all of the products from her, and agree to have her come back every 2 weeks, at the same ridiculous price, to treat my cat with acupuncture which I didn’t even want in the first place.
Please tell me how this is not a conflict of interest. When I asked her what was in these ‘prescriptions’ that only she was to sell, she said, “I’m not going to tell you so you can use them on your own.” I asked her if I would *ever* to know what is in this ‘prescription’ and she became very evasive and changed the subject. As if I don’t have a right to know what I’m giving my own child.
How many medical professionals do you know who take your money then won’t tell you what to do unless you buy it from them? And how is this ethical, or not a conflict of interest. So I am out all of this money and got *nothing.* Absolutely *nothing* from her. If this is how she does business, that’s one thing, but don’t mislead me when I was very clear to her about what I wanted. Advice on raw food with regard to my cat’s condition and some holistic supplement suggestions. That’s it.
I’m not opposed to other options, but I want to hear my *options* not just be railroaded into doing what this one person, who seems to care only about the money, thinks is right. (To highlight this greed, at one point I told her I was using digestive enzymes. I casually asked, “might those be good in general, for my other cat too?” Her response was, “I can’t comment on the other cat, that will be an added office visit.” Really? You can’t comment, or you won’t. Don’t get me started.)
Look, this crap may play in places like Rancho Santa Fe, where they have so much money they feel they can literally wash it down the drain, but I am my cat’s mother. I have a right to know what I’m putting into my child’s body, just as I have a right to know what doctors what me to take and why. I’m really tired of doctors, both for human and animal, expecting us to treat them as if they are God and infallible.
To make matters worse, the AVMA is proposing that things like acupucture, massage and nutritional counseling will be illegal if done by anyone but a licenced vet. This is absurd. Tell me, exactly, how they are making it better for the consumer to create a situation where only vets can do acupuncture yet, they have no problem with vets using extortion on their clients to get them to do things they don’t want to do and buy things that are a clear conflict of interest? At the very least, while allopathic vets are busy recommending conflict of interest crap like Hills Science Diet, they don’t extort money out of you by not telling you what to do for your pet unless you buy it from them and become their gravy train.
Dr. Kathy Boehme, The Drake Center, Encinitas California.
I LOVE this woman. A week after my miserable experience with Vet #1, Cuba threw up. He’s doing pretty well, but this day he did. Again, I believe the universe’s way of getting me to get off my butt and find the courage to call someone else. But who? Holistic Home Vets are few and far between. It finally occurred to me to give it a shot to call a wonderful woman who had contacted me last year looking for someone like me who she could refer some of her clients to.
We met on a day which was … difficult for us both. She had just gotten a call related to a family emergency, and I had just re-injured my back. Standing up and walking was … a challenge. So we didn’t have the time to really get to know each other as each of us, I believe, would have liked at that time.
Nevertheless, she kindly sent me some referrals, (Which I felt terrible that I never had thanked her for, having promptly losing her email, my back injury having turned immediately into a days long migraine and fog. It never occurred to me to ask about work email, so many doctor’s offices tell me, “we don’t have email, you have to fax it.” [Really, it’s 2016 and you don’t have email?] After today’s conversation, it’s good to know that her office proudly lives in the 21st century.) 😉
I was so happy I thought to call her. I had referred her office to several clients because I know they will do an occasional home visit for cats (most of my clients have their local vet, but are looking for home vets) but my understanding is that Dr. Boehme is not one of the vets in her clinic that does those calls.
She is, however, the resident holistic, integrative and Eastern medicine vet in her clinic. What a pleasure and informative session it was, to work with someone who, oh, I don’t know, actually cares. She patiently answered all of my questions, it was clear that she understood holistic supplements, those that she was unfamiliar with, she clearly admitted she was unfamiliar with them instead of pretending she knew something she didn’t.
When I asked about things I was using and the food situation as to what both cats should be using as opposed to just the one we were consulting on, miracle of miracles, she gave me her opinion — based on her expertise — and I’m guessing it wasn’t a fleck of skin off of her nose. It was almost as though she were there to … oh, I don’t know, help me and my cats. As if she cared. And for a very reasonable price for the office visit.
What I loved, too, about her was that she also made it very clear which side of the brain she was giving me advice from. IOW, when we spoke about ‘searing’ the raw food, she admitted in a joking manner, but truthfully, “It probably doesn’t make that much of a difference, but it’s my vet side that wants to tell you that.’ She repeated that a couple of times, making sure I understood what she was saying and why she was saying it.
Furthermore, there was language she used, that I could tell she was just licking the edges of using the same terminology as the other vet was using, talking about the same thing, but with no condescension whatsoever, in a way in which she legitimately wanted me to understand the concept of what she was talking about.
And, lo and behold, guess what. Even though she’s an acupuncturist and a Chinese herb expert, she advised me on things to give Cuba, telling me the name, and that I would be able to find it with a Google search. Imagine. Furthermore, when I asked if acupuncture was indicated at this point … she actually considered what was best for Cuba, rather than her own pocketbook. There really is something to be said for ethics. There is also something to be said for someone’s energy.
She is energetically a good person and I feel that transfers though all forms of communication. I am currently in pre-production for the launch on a podcast on animals. I hope that when we get up and running, and learn how to have guests, that Dr. Boehme will grace us with her presence. I feel that people can learn a lot from her.
A tale of two vets. It takes so little to be a person who does the right thing for the right reasons. What I learned from Dr. Boehme today for Cuba was invaluable. What I learned about how there are still people with ethics in the world … well, let’s just say that sometimes the universe gives you what you need, when you need it.
If you are a person who takes their pets to a physical location for vet services (rather than home vets, some animals don’t travel well) and you live in the North County San Diego Area, Dr. Boehme can be found at the Drake Center, 195 N. El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024. Your pets deserve the best, she is one of them.
Lisa Larson is an animal communicator and reiki master for animals. You can find her at