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April 2022 Spotlight Practice
Climbing Rose Veterinary Services
Kathy Fowler, DVM, CCRP, CAC
I opened Climbing Rose Veterinary Services in 2017 in order to focus on pain management and patient comfort. I had spent 13 years in general small animal practice and felt that pain management, especially of geriatric, arthritic animals, often fell through the cracks. It is hard to thoroughly discuss a multimodal OA treatment protocol in a 15-to-30-minute appointment that also covers lab work (like that good old elevated Alk Phos we all love so much), heartworm prevention, dentistry, heart murmurs, obesity, etc.Continue reading below ...
I had gotten interested in chiropractic care after seeing that it helped my own elderly, arthritic dog with her comfort and mobility. When I left my general practice job in 2016, I took six months off (which was amazing), and then trained as a Certified Animal Chiropractor. After that, I enrolled in the CCRP program and simultaneously opened my business. I started seeing rehab patients in the fall of 2018, once I had completed the CCRP coursework. My practice focuses on pain management and patient comfort. I do house calls exclusively, lugging everything I need in my little Toyota Corolla. I work alone, with no technicians or support staff. Most of my patients are elderly dogs with arthritis. I see them anywhere from twice a week to once every few months, with the majority getting a visit every 3-4 weeks. A typical visit includes a chiropractic adjustment, evaluation of current medications and home exercises, some light massage, and often an Adequan injection or a low-dose ketamine injection. I tailor the specifics to each patient, do my best to keep them comfortable in their geriatric days, and offer compassionate, peaceful in-home euthanasia when the time comes.
I do see some classic post-op rehab patients as well; right now, I'm seeing a Boston Terrier with kyphotic posture from hemivertebrae, a pit bull puppy with carpal laxity, and several mixed breed dogs post CCL repair. I would like to build up this portion of my business. I love my arthritic geriatrics, but it is a nice change to see younger, healthier animals that can eventually be discharged (instead of euthanized, as is the case with most of my patients). I am advertising my services for post-op rehab on a local radio station and getting ready to embark on a marketing push with local practices, including board-certified surgeons. I really enjoy the post-op rehab cases I do. Most dogs don't love chiropractic adjustments, but they all seem to love rehab visits, and that makes those visits fun for me too.
I am proud that I have built this practice from the ground up. I love that it fills a niche in my community that no other practice does. I have found a way to be a vet on my own terms, with control of my own life and schedule, focusing on something that I'm passionate about and that I think is often overlooked. I value the bond I have developed with some of my clients. Most of all it makes me happy that my clients feel I have improved their pets' comfort.
For the future, I'm planning to get CVPP certification, purchase a laser, and develop stronger relationships with some of the local vets, especially with the hope of getting more referrals for post-op rehab.
Information written by AARV Member Kathy Fowler, DVM, CCRP, CAC.