Chattanooga’s veterinary care options move into the 21st century with the opening of the Chattanooga Holistic Animal Institute on Monday, April 30.
Colleen Smith, DVM, CVA, CVCP, and staff will offer veterinary acupuncture, veterinary chiropractic, nutrition therapy, laser therapy, green grooming, awake dental procedures, digital X-ray, vaccinations and vaccine titers, general medicine, canine massage therapy and nutritional supplements in the new facility, on the Southside at 918 E. Main St.
“Holistic veterinary medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole animal: body, mind, and spirit,” said Dr. Smith. “The practice of holistic veterinary medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors. Each animal is seen as a unique individual, rather than an example of a particular disease,” she explained. “Disease is understood to be the result of physical, emotional, social and environmental imbalance. Healing, therefore, takes place naturally when these aspects of life are brought into proper balance.”
CHAI’s holistic philosophy will be practiced as integrative veterinary medicine with an emphasis on therapies having a strong tradition of documented effects, careful research, and ongoing study. “Integrative medicine encompasses a wide variety of alternative and complementary therapies designed to promote healing and wellness,” said Dr. Smith. “Some of these many of us already know and understand; for example, sensible exercise, proper nutrition, and the power of positive intention or thoughts. Others, such as acupuncture, homeopathy, chiropractic and veterinary herbal therapy may be less familiar to us, or not previously considered for pets.” Yet, she points out, “Alternative therapies have a basis of science behind them, and a wisdom that is often older than that which we attribute to Western medicine. Integrative veterinary medicine also includes the many positive attributes of medical skills that have been highly developed in Western medicine, such as advanced dental and surgical techniques, effective and safe medicines and many highly sophisticated diagnostic tools.”
Because Dr. Smith believes that holistic medicine also means a healthy environment around staff and patients, CHAI has been designed with “green” principles in mind. The building incorporates the newest, most efficient heating and A/C system, an on-demand water heater for grooming to save water, high-efficiency lighting, and cabinets designed by local cabinetmaker Aaron Cabeen, using reclaimed walnut counters. “Our long-term plan includes an eco-friendly landscape by a local designer, with plans to have living walls on the outside of the clinic,” Dr. Smith said.
Dr. Smith graduated from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. She is a certified veterinary acupuncturist from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and a certified veterinary chiropractitioner in Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation. She also trained in nutrition therapy, using traditional Chinese veterinary medicine diagnosis and treatments.
Her initial training was in Atlanta with one of the country’s leading veterinary acupuncturist. Dr. Smith moved to Chattanooga in 2007 because of the area’s myriad outdoor activities. She is an avid whitewater kayaker, hiker and yoga practitioner.