Most of us have had numerous furry friends throughout our lives. We consider our pets as part of our family that is why their optimum health is very important to us. Dr. Gary Richter is a holistic veterinarian and scientist who helps dog and cat owners navigate the ticket of treatment options and separate the fact from fiction. He uses integrative medicine, traditional medicine, and cutting edge modern medicine from multiple cultures around the world to get the best possible approach for our pets’ health. To be able to provide pet owners with this kind of information that he’s learned on how to help their pets live happier and longer lives, Dr. Richter wrote the book, The Ultimate Pet Health Guide, and is putting out educational content and webinars that allows him to contact pet owners not only within the area where he is but literally around the world.
Listen to the podcast here:
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The Ultimate Pet Health Guide with Dr. Gary Richter
Our very special guest is Dr. Gary Richter. He is America’s favorite veterinarian. He is an international number one Amazon bestselling author in so many countries, I lost count of them. He is a holistic veterinarian and scientists. Dr. Gary Richter helps dog and cat owners navigate the ticket of treatment options and separate the fact from fiction. He uses integrative medicine, using traditional medicine and cutting edge modern medicine from multiple cultures around the world to get the best possible approach for our pets’ health. I have had numerous furry friends throughout my life. I know that Kevin has had as well. Dr. Gary, thanks for joining us.
Thanks for having me.
What prompted you to integrate Eastern and Western medicine when it comes to our animals? That’s not something you see too much of.
It really isn’t and it’s not something that they teach you in school either. What kind of put me down that pathway is as a doctor, I’m always looking for ways that I can better help my patients. As any doctor can tell you that the treatment options that they have at their disposal, there is going to be a limit to how far they can get with any of those treatment options. To me, I just didn’t like the limits that were set out in front of me and it sent me on the road to look and see if they were treatment options that would get me further with my patients then than with purely just the western medicine that I was taught in school. As it turns out, there are all kinds of options out there that can be enormously helpful for patients, if we just need to look for them.
[bctt tweet=”There are all kinds of options out there that can be enormously helpful for patients, we just need to look for them.” via=”no”]
Dr. Gary, can you give me an example of one of the pets that you’ve got to a limit and then taking it to the next step and created a transformation?
A real great classic example is kidney problems are very common in cats. From a Western medical standpoint, there’s a real limit to what can be done for cats that have kidney disease. We can give them supplemental fluids. There’s a short list of medications we can put them on to help with the symptoms but that’s pretty much all that there really is to do. I’ve had multiple cats come into my practice over the years. One that I’m thinking of off the top of my head that they came into me, their general practice veterinarian told them that the cat probably had months to live based on their level of kidney disease. In truth, given this Western paradigm of medicine, that was an appropriate assessment. Many of these cats, including this one I’m thinking of as we’re speaking, lived two and three years after this diagnosis of having fairly advanced kidney failure, with a combination of acupuncture and herbal therapy.
You’re also using some cutting-edge modern medicine as well in your practice. Talk to us a little bit about that.
I happily described myself as an integrative practitioner. I use a lot of what could be termed holistic medicine and I think I may have a little bit more of a liberal definition of what is holistic medicine than others. To me, any type of medicine that encourages or stimulates the body to heal itself. To me that’s holistic. While a lot of people would think acupuncture, herbal therapy, that sort of thing. While that’s very true, in our office we use Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy. We use what’s called Pulse Signal therapy, which is a technology that uses an electromagnetic field to stimulate healing and regrowth of the cartilage. We use a therapeutic laser, these are all fairly high-tech examples of the way that you can use technology to stimulate healing within the body and cure disease.
I would imagine you had some pretty cool grasp, situations and opportunities. I want to talk more of the entrepreneurial side. We’ve been on the doctor’s side, now you wear a couple of hats every day. You’re an entrepreneur in addition to being a doctor. How have you built your business and was publicity one of the ways? We’ll talk a little bit more about digital and other stuff, but let’s start with the publicity.
From a publicity standpoint, I am blessed to be married to a marketing and PR genius. Fortunately, as a veterinarian, that’s not something that I have had to necessarily take the lead with. My wife, Lee, she fully understands how to appropriately promote things both in conventional advertising, in social media, through newspaper articles and media outlets. I’ve really been blessed in the sense that as a practitioner she lets me focus on the medical aspect of things very frequently while she takes care of a lot of the promotional end.
I’ve met Lee, she’s great. We’ve had her on our show and I knew her long before even having her on our show. You’re a lucky guy on two fronts as being married to her as well as having your part of your business. One more question on the business side then. What about the digital stuff? Are you using any really cool new Facebook digital techniques and things like that?
We have our social media presence on Facebook, Instagram, what have you. One of the things that I’ve often thought about and that we’re getting towards is, as a veterinarian under normal circumstances, the number of animals I can help is really limited to the number of appointments I can see in any given day. It’s a very finite number. However, what you obviously know as well is the more people that you can reach, the more people that you can help. Because of that we’re starting to put out educational content and webinars and allowing me to be able to contact pet owners not only within the San Francisco Bay area where I am, but literally around the world. To be able to provide them with this kind of information that I’ve learned on how to help their pets live happier and longer lives. In many cases, this is information that may be a little bit hard for them to come by, depending on where they live and what their access is.
An example of that would be the Ultimate Pet Health Guide, the number one Amazon international bestseller. Was that what prompted you to write the book? Because you were trying to reach more people and talk a little bit about that journey from conception idea in your head to literally number one all over the world.
That really was a lot of the genesis of the book. One of the things that I’ve discovered through the years is how to successfully take western and conventional medicine and holistic care and integrate all of that together so you wind up getting a better outcome than you would with either one of them alone. You combine that with optimal nutrition and it’s almost sky’s the limit from a medical standpoint. That was really the genesis of the book. I have people call our office and email our office literally from all over the world with questions and honestly it gets a little bit logistically difficult to manage that along with seeing my normal appointments and ultimately, there’s only so many hours in the day.
I sat down to write this book and we started with nutrition. We started with a conversation about the pet food industry and why it is, what it is. How it can be better, how we can feed our pets better than what’s mostly available in the pet stores these days. We start to take off from there and say, now you’re feeding your pet. How do we keep them healthy and how do we keep them happy and how do we keep them disease free? We talk about natural medicine, we talk about preventative care. There’s a whole section of the book which is very specific about when your pet is diagnosed with a specific condition. If they have liver disease or kidney disease or cancer or arthritis, there are many things that can be done to manage and to treat those diseases.
In almost all of the cases, there is an incredibly long list of beneficial things that can be done that are outside the scope of what would be considered western conventional care. The issue unfortunately is most pet owners don’t have access to that facet of the information, never mind how to integrate that all in with what their regular veterinarian may be recommending. That was really the purpose and the genesis and the force behind the book. I have to say that it’s been very gratifying to get the kind of feedback that I’ve gotten. It seems like people are getting that message and it’s really fantastic to see.
This kind of new technologies, ways that you’ve been taking things to future seems like that it could be possibly taught to other veterinarians. Are you doing any coaching or partnering in any fashion? I don’t think there’s enough veterinarians around the country that have your same capabilities and skill sets obviously. How do you take what you do and duplicate it in other parts of the United States?
I do have the opportunity to speak with groups of veterinarians. To talk to them about holistic care, integrative care, how to bring that into their practice. I do a lot of work with medical cannabis in my practice as well, which is a very new but really promising field of medicine both in humans and in animals. That’s something that I’m working really hard to educate the veterinary community with. It is something that doctors start to think of within the scope of just their normal day-to-day, not just when they get stuck and they get to a point where they say, “I don’t know what to do. I don’t have anything else. Let me refer it to somebody else.” What I’m looking to get them to do is just start to integrate those options from day one.
[bctt tweet=”Any type of medicine that encourages or stimulates the body to heal itself, to me that’s holistic.” via=”no”]
Are the laws different for medical cannabis when it comes to pets?
The short answer to that question is yes. That’s actually something that I’m working with a lot of people within the state of California to remedy. It’s interesting in the sense that when they made medical cannabis legal in California twenty years ago, nobody quite honestly really thought about the veterinary community and thought about pets when they did it, which I think is understandable. What wound up happening is that the way the laws were written, it was written as such so that only physicians, only MDs and DOs, we’re able to recommend cannabis for patients. There’s a strange gap right now legally speaking, that in a technical sense, veterinarians are not allowed to discuss and recommend cannabis for veterinary patients. At the same time, there’s no shortage of veterinary specific cannabis products out there on the market that people are going out and buying. It becomes a real problem in the sense that veterinarians are not going to be permitted to give people appropriate medical guidance on how to use these medicines. Then who is?
Because of your state of frustration obviously with some of the veterinary nutrition industry that led you to part of writing the book, you’re currently working on a line of your own in terms of veterinary products. Is that correct? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
That is correct. We’re still in the development stage, but from a food standpoint, it’s really about fresh whole food nutrition. I don’t think it’s a mystery to any of us as people that the closer that we eat fresh whole foods, the healthier that we’re going to be. If we look at most pet foods out there that dry foods or canned foods, we’re talking about what are highly processed foods. No matter how good the ingredients were that went in to begin with, by the time they’re done, getting cooked at incredibly high temperatures and pressures, a lot has been lost in the nutrition. A lot of this is quite honestly, it’s really getting back to basics. It’s getting back to fresh whole food nutrition.
It’s getting back to preventative care. It’s using natural herbs, natural vitamins, whole food supplements to support health and prevent problems before they start. This is all the same stuff that we all know for our own health, except somehow that got lost in translation when it came to veterinary healthcare. Although in fairness, those are concepts that are only just now coming around even in human healthcare. I think we’re finally coming out of this 1950s era. Take this pill and call me in the morning mindset as far as healthcare goes and lo and behold, we’re realizing that that preventative care really is the key to everything.
Do you believe in trade shows and do you get a lot out going to trade conferences? I always like to weigh in with entrepreneurs. I typically go to a bunch of them because I’m in a lot of different industries, but do you find those to be valuable for you and is that part of your business plan?
I find them valuable in the sense of, at the very least, you really get a feel for what’s out there and what people are thinking. For example, when I go to a conventional veterinary conference and every pharmaceutical company that you can think of that are there advertising and discussing their products. As an integrative practice veterinarian, not all of that stuff there are things that I agree with, but it’s incredibly helpful for me to know where the industry is heading and what other veterinarians are doing. What I do preferentially is take all from those venues the medications and treatments that I feel can be applied to animals safely and effectively. Then go to a completely different trade show that’s really more about holistic and natural care and I’ll look at what they have to offer and then start to put the things together. There’s not a whole lot of people out there that are really drawing from both sides and interweaving them together. To me that’s really where the magic was.
For our furry friend lovers who want to learn more about you and get a copy of the book and for folks who want to follow all things Dr. Gary, in terms of the world that we’re talking about. Where’s the best place for us to send them?
I have a website that they can go learn about the book. It’s Dr.GaryRichter.com. Also, if they want to learn a little bit more about holistic care in general, they can visit our office website, HolisticVetCare.com.
This has been Seth Greene with Kevin Harrington and Dr. Gary Richter. Dr. Gary Richter, thank you so much for joining us.
Thank you so much for having me. It’s been wonderful.
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About Dr. Gary Richter
As a holistic veterinarian and scientist, Dr. Gary Richter helps dog and cat owners to navigate the thicket of treatment options and separate the fact from the fiction. He wants you to use what actually works, not just what Western science or alternative medicine say “should” work. This multifaceted approach to health is known as integrative health care.
In this easy-to-follow guide to your pet’s health, Dr. Richter examines traditional medicine from many cultures alongside modern medical techniques, describing the best of complementary care and the best of conventional veterinary medicine. Each treatment recommended in this book has the backing of scientific research or years of successful outcomes his clinical practice. After explaining each treatment, he offers specific recommendations for an integrative approach to common diseases, including allergies, skin conditions, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
An integrative approach to health includes nutrition, as it sets up the foundation for your pet’s health, so Dr. Richter cuts through the hype in the pet-food world to explain how to make your own food or choose the best commercial foods and supplements. He also explains how you can use the right foods and supplements to “hack” the body’s processes, including the immune system.