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Life Changing Evolution

I’d like pet parents and veterinary colleagues to know that it is okay to evolve. Fluffy is the for real name of a little white cat who changed my life. Little did I know then that he was only the beginning of a huge evolution for me which I feel today is still only at the beginning!

Like learning a new language, which begins as foreign, my journey into natural pet care began exciting, interesting and scary. I’d like to say I am now fluent in the field, but I learn something new every day and continue to feel like a newbie!

If you are skeptical about all that is alluded to by natural pet care and what is under the umbrella term, holistic, please move forward with your skepticism. Combine your healthy skepticism with open mindedness and the two attitudes will serve you best and the pets you love.

Fluffy was a 14 year old neutered male cat with kidney disease. He was my first conversion from conventional, dry, kibble prescription diet to commercial raw diets. After his diet transition, Fluffy lived a quality life and passed at 20 years of age. I learned a lot from Fluffy and I have shared his detailed story with many pet guardians and fellow practitioners. Fluffy is one of many patients who have taught me that a species appropriate diet and combinations of other holistic modalities can improve quality of life and increase longevity regardless of age or imbalance.

My greatest regret is that I did not open my mind to holistic options sooner in my career. I think about the pets, my own and patients, who I could have helped had I been aware of all the many useful holistic modalities. My trip to China reminded me of how important it is to integrate western medicine with eastern thought. I am very grateful for my western veterinary education; however, I would never want to go back to practicing solely allopathic care. It is important and easy to integrate holistic modalities into conventional practice.

The most important and easiest step to evolve into natural pet care is to stop the practice of excessive vaccination. My beliefs and statements are based on my experiential perception, but I know my patients are living years longer now that my clientele are primarily vaccinating their pets only when they are pups and kittens and then doing only periodic titre testing to verify their long term protection.

The availability of commercial raw diets makes it easy for a veterinary practice to retail and promote healthy, fresh prey concept diets even to the most conventional, small town pet owners. I learned that as I evolved, I could start a natural pet care revolution in the midwest which would spread like wild fire and benefit thousands of animals.

More recently, my mission is to learn the deepest concepts of whole food supplementation and how to facilitate changes in health status with functional foods. Additionally, I am very interested in the deepest root of illness or health which is the emotional state and how to manipulate this development with aromatherapy for pets and their people!

Jodie Gruenstern DVM CVA has been practicing veterinary medicine in Muskego, Wisconsin since 1987. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist and food therapist by the Chi Institute. Dr. Jodie is the owner of the Animal Doctor Holistic Veterinary Complex, an integrated, full-service small animal practice. For more info and healthy products visit or

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