Business Q&A with Marjorie Lewter of Holistic Veterinary Consultants

Posted March 14, 2013

Marjorie Lewter poses for a photo with one of her patients "Mercy Grace," a five-year old Border Collie. Photo by Mike Shaw | The Burgs.

Marjorie Lewter poses for a photo with one of her patients “Mercy Grace,” a five-year old Border Collie. Photo by Mike Shaw | The Burgs.

Marjorie M. Lewter
Family: A 12-year-old daughter
Holistic Veterinary Consultants
Business started: Blacksburg location opened in 2010.
What they do: Holistic Veterinary Consultants was created to serve the needs of large- and small-animal owners in Blacksburg, Christiansburg and New Castle, and surrounding counties. Basic veterinary home care is offered with an integrated approach to animal health. Acupuncture, botanical medicine and nutritional therapies are available in conjunction with conventional medicine. Lewter’s goal is to offer conventional and alternative medical therapy to her community for pets and livestock. The best possible veterinary care can usually be given in the home environment using all the methods available for preventing illness and enhancing wellness.

Q: How did you get into this business?

A:  I have had the good fortune to practice veterinary medicine in many capacities over the past 30 years. These include academics, rural PA dairy practice, volunteering in Tanzania, working for an animal shelter in NY , running a spay/neuter clinic, racetrack vet, mixed mobile practice, and finally studying acupuncture and herbal medicine for animals in the early 90′s .

Since then, I have integrated these modalities into my mobile mixed practice. As time went by, I found that acupuncture had found a secure place in my daily routine. In order to make these services available to more animals and clients, I decided to open the outpatient clinic in 2010. My vision is to provide the New River Valley these medical options such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, and botanical medicines with multiple practitioners under one roof as an adjunct to conventional care. I really feel that so many animals could benefit from the holistic approach and so few people know that these other modalities are available for animals.

Q: What is your favorite part of this job?

A: My favorite part of my holistic practice is having clients who want to go the extra mile for their animals. They are usually well informed and health conscious individuals who want to investigate all the options available. They are interested in quality of life and how to promote wellness rather than than just treating illness. My clients recognize the unconditional love and faithful guardianship their pets provide and they do their best to help them live the best life possible.

My other favorite thing is to see a walking, wagging dog coming back in the door to see me when it had to be carried in for its first visit. Those really make it all worthwhile.

Q: In what ways does the company give back to the community?

A: Education is a big part of my life. I have mentored students from our Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and international vet students from Poland, Germany, The Netherlands, and Japan. I volunteer with the Va Tech Integrative Medicine Club to help our future colleagues become more familiar with integrative therapies. Also, I host a Fourth Monday Study Group here at the office each month, featuring local practitioners of the healing arts. We recently had programs on animal and human hospice care in January and February.

Q: What is your key to success?

A: The key to success in my every day practice is to treat each case as an individual. No two cases are exactly alike! I make every attempt to provide treatments that are do-able. That is, if the owner cannot give pills, we may choose a liquid supplement or a homeopathic medicine that can be put in the water. If an animal wiggles around too much for the acupuncture needles, it may get laser treatment instead. If an animal cannot take certain medications due to liver or kidney issues, I can find safer alternatives. Each herbal prescription is tailored to the individual’s constitution. I feel I have so many more choices available to me for therapy than I have in conventional practice.

In addition, our practice makes a commitment to patient follow-up. Everyone is contacted after their appointment to see how things are going and to answer any questions. I like to get progress reports from owners every week until the case is completely resolved. Our clients really appreciate this extra attention. Much of our success comes from happy clients spreading the word.

Q: What do you like best about having a business in the New River Valley?

A: As strange as it may seem, I like having lots of other vets in the community. It’s so great to have the vet school so close for all their expertise and specialized diagnostics.I enjoy the continuing education opportunities they offer to local practitioners. The 400 or so vet students add so much energy to the vet community, too. I enjoy referrals from other practices and working together on difficult cases. There is a real camaraderie among vets here because I think we are all dedicated to the same goals. We all strive to make life better for our animal patients and their families.

By Mike Shaw
The Roanoke Times | 381-8627