A new type of healing: St. Francis Integrative Services offers innovative pain management


The veterinary doctors at St. Francis are: front row, Kevin Roeser, DVM, and Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT. Second row, Stefan Knep, DVM; Charlie Cosimini, DVM; Katie Cartledge, DVM, and Patricia Novak, DVM.

The St. Frances Integrative Services staff members are: front row, Sarah Welch, CVT; Dr. Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT, and Christine Severance, CVT, CMT. Back row, Molly Moy, Practice Manager; Audrey Ruddy, Marie Adamczyk, VT, and Dr. Patricia Novak, DVM. Not pictured: Isaac Secor.

They say that dogs are man’s best friend, but the staff at St. Francis Animal & Bird Hospital know that cats, birds and rabbits are too. 

Celebrating 25 years in the Roseville community, the close-knit team of animal lovers understands the special relationship between people and their pets. That’s why they go above and beyond to provide compassionate and quality care for every pet -- furry or feathered. That’s also why they now offer Integrative Services.

“We think of ourselves as the small neighborhood practice. We set out to be part of the family,” says clinic owner Dr. Jennifer Blair.

She says this bond includes helping families cope with difficult end-of-life decisions for their pets, including hospice, pain management and at-home euthanasia. 

 

Added healing

Located near the primary animal hospital location, St. Francis Integrative Services offers acupuncture, massage therapy, laser therapy and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. 

Blair says she’s practiced veterinary medicine for 15 years, and the puppies and kittens that were her patients in the early years are now geriatric companion animals.

“I felt like I didn’t have enough tools to help them with managing their pain and for dealing with the older years,” Blair says, adding that she wanted to find different therapies that would allow her to better help them. This led her to study traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture. 

Christine Severance, a certified veterinary technician, says Integrative Services gives pet owners more treatment options. In addition to conventional veterinary medicine, having pain control methods that are more natural and noninvasive is something a lot of owners appreciate. 

They also help improve the quality of life for pets and family members.

‘Since these services were introduced, Blair has seen more people choose acupuncture or laser therapy as a first line of treatment before going to traditional pain meds for their companion animals.

The services offered at Integrative Services are valid at any stage of life and for many different ailments.  They are not just for treating pain or for helping elderly pets.

Another facet of St Francis Integrative Services will be hospice and palliative care which will be launched this year.  Palliative care treatments will be tailored for each patient and family.

Sarah Welch, CVT, Director of Hospice & Palliative Care Services, says that when a pet approaches the end-of-life stage, the St Francis team can counsel the family and let them know there are ways to keep pets comfortable beyond the typical options.

“The other aspect is helping people understand what the end of life looks like for various ailments,” says Dr. Patti Novak, who is part of the hospice care team.

The services offered at St. Francis Integrative Services help fill a unique niche and are combined with the clinic’s conventional veterinary medicine practice. 

The trained professionals at St. Francis Animal & Bird Hospital work closely with the Integrative Services team. Blair says some of the veterinarians will be assisting with the hospice care work, while some animal hospital technicians are already performing laser therapy and other procedures.

In September, St. Francis plans to host an open house to celebrate its 25th anniversary and to let people know about its comprehensive services, from preventative care and state-of-the-art surgery facilities, to veterinary dentistry and the latest in acupuncture and massage for man’s best friends -- no matter if they’re dogs, cats, rabbits, rodents or birds.

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