St. Francis Integrative Services offers new ways of healing for animal companions

Toby receives laser therapy.

Dr. Patricia Novak, DVM, CHPV, offers hospice and palliative care.

Christine Capistrant, CVT, CMT, performs massage therapy.

Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT, CTPEP, performs acupuncture therapy.

As a pet owner, you want the best possible care for your companion to not only keep them healthy, but to ensure their well-being.

The dedicated team at St. Francis Animal & Bird Hospital offers everything you’d expect from a trusted veterinarian, and the practice, founded in 1992, has become a reliable and important destination in its clients’ family doctor routine. 

Beyond surgery and medication, now it offers more — located right next door to the hospital is St. Francis Integrative Services, which provides pet treatments like acupuncture and massage.

In 2015, hospital owner Dr. Jennifer Blair went back to school after more than 13 years of being a practicing veterinarian.

“I just reached a point where I thought I needed to have more tools to help care for my patients, especially my older patients,” Dr. Blair explained. She turned to traditional Chinese medicine.

“It works with their body to try to restore balance, rather than just fixing a particular problem,” she said. “The benefit of Chinese medicine is that it looks at  the entire animal. It really looks at the connections between different body systems.”

Dr. Blair learned various practices, which she’s put into use with her team, including acupuncture, herbal therapy, food therapy and massage therapy. 

Acupuncture is the practice of putting tiny needles into specific parts of the body. The needles hit nerve pathways to help increase blood flow, trigger nerve systems and even send signals to the brain to release endorphins. 

While the idea of needles in the body might sound unpleasant, they are incredibly small, and most importantly, the animals love it. Dr. Blair said the majority of her patients sleep after the needles are placed. “I think they think it’s their spa day.”

St. Francis also offers massage therapy. Very similar to human massage practices, Christine Capistrant, CVT, CMT, a trained specialist, focuses on where muscles are tight or where there’s pain. The hands-on work increases blood flow and can help with mobility. 

The integrative services clinic also offers laser therapy. By using light waves, doctors can help reduce inflammation, which in some cases can allow them to skip surgery altogether. 

From offering house calls for euthanasia to grief counseling for owners, the doctors, including Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Veterinarian Dr. Patricia Novak, are equipped to help make sure that the final days are peaceful.

Being in the Roseville area for so long, the doctors at St. Francis have become familiar faces in their clients’ lives. By using a combination of both traditional and Chinese medicine, the clinic is able to give every animal companion the attention they deserve. 

“Many people see their pets differently today,” said Molly Moy, the practice’s manager. “They really want to do what’s best for their pets  as they would do for themselves or their children.”

Said Dr. Blair, “These are services that a lot of practices don’t offer. We have a niche that really sets St. Francis apart.”


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