When veterinarian Dr. Bill Tepper decided to retire and sell his Hastings Animal Clinic, fellow veterinarian Dr. Stacey Hershman saw a golden opportunity to set up shop for her homeopathic and holistic services. Rechristened Natural Vet for Pets, the storefront practice on Warburton Avenue continues to offer traditional medical care for pets, in addition to alternative treatments.
A career emergency vet, Dr. Hershman admits to having been cynical when she first learned about veterinary homeopathy. Then she spotted a copy of The Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Dr. Richard Pitcairn, founder of veterinary homeopathy. “I picked up the book and was like, ‘Is this a bunch of quackery?’” recalls Dr. Hershman. “But I had become frustrated with the shortcomings of conventional medicine. A lot of times conventional treatments cause more problems than the disease itself.”
Dr. Hershman took Dr. Pitcairn’s course and became a certified homeopathic practitioner, and in 1999 she started her own holistic house call service in Westchester. She says the homeopathic remedies are useful for treating a wide variety of illnesses, including allergies, skin rashes, and autoimmune disorders, while acupuncture is beneficial for treating arthritis, slipped discs, and other joint and neurological problems.
And what do conventional veterinarians think of homeopathic and acupuncture treatments for animals? “Certain aspects of alternative care appear to be helpful, and with certain aspects, it’s hard to find a benefit,” says Dr. Martin Kaufman, owner of New Castle Veterinary Hospital in Chappaqua.