- Today’s Pet Game Changer is Dr. Brad Roach, owner of the Holistic Pet Care Center in Del City, OK and the Best Friends Animal Clinic in Shawnee and Bethel Acres, OK
- It was around the 10-year mark in his career when Dr. Roach made the decision to vastly expand his veterinary toolbox by learning alternative therapies, starting with acupuncture and chiropractic
- Today, Dr. Roach runs two integrative veterinary practices that offer such an incredible array of healing modalities that he never has to tell a client “There’s nothing more I can do for your pet”
We call them "Game Changers" — the exemplary, hardworking individuals who have gone the extra mile to promote animal welfare all around the world. Every week, we feature a special Game Changer, so if you know someone in your community who deserves this award, nominate them and help us get the word out about the magnificent work they do! Click Here to Nominate a Game Changer Today!
My guest today is veterinarian Dr. Brad Roach, who was nominated for a Game Changer award by Desiree. Dr. Roach is the owner of the Holistic Pet Care Center in Del City, OK. He’s also a certified acupuncturist and animal chiropractor with the ability to treat an animal’s entire body with both conventional medicines and natural therapies.
Dr. Roach’s practice offers an incredibly broad range of alternative therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic, biopuncture, homotoxicology, photonic therapy, and stem cell and other regenerative techniques.
In addition, his practice offers DigiTherm thermography, a unique scale called a Stance Analyzer, prolotherapy, ozone, platelet rich plasma (PRP), gold bead implantation, detoxification, Chinese herbs, SanaWave radiofrequency therapy, Young Living Essential Oils, and homeopathy.
Out of Gas at the 10-Year Mark
Dr. Roach says he can’t imagine what it would be like to be a veterinarian without his extensive toolbox of alternative therapies.
“I never get to a point where I have to say to a client with a sick pet, ‘I’ve done all I can do,’” he says. “With a holistic approach to medicine, I always have something else to try. That's one thing I love about what you and I do, and I've been doing it for about 32 years, though 10 of those years I wasn’t practicing holistic medicine.
But one day I saw a dog patient whose intestines ruptured due to too much Rimadyl that another vet had prescribed. I knew in that moment that I had to find a better way to treat animals, and my journey began.”
At that 10-year mark in his veterinary career, Dr. Roach felt desperate for more tools to help his patients. Looking back, he knows he would’ve suffered chronic burnout had he not expanded his practice to incorporate alternative and integrative therapies. With his expanded skills and expertise, he says he gets to witness so many little miracles.
“If you just show up and apply the principles, you get to see these little miracles take place daily,” he says. “It's so amazing. And sometimes you don't even expect it, but at this point I should expect it after 22 years of doing things the holistic way. It's just really neat to witness those little miracles happen.”
It's so true that integrative veterinarians witness little miracles all the time that nourish our souls. So often, we’re able to use nontoxic and noninvasive tools to create a healing response in our patients. What we witness is the magic of the body fixing itself because we're providing it the opportunity to do what it was meant to do. It never gets old!
Freedom = Treating Patients Outside the ‘System’
Dr. Roach believes holistic and integrative veterinarians don’t do a great job of marketing themselves, often due simply to lack of hours in the day. The good news, from my perspective, is that we have a growing number of practicing integrative vets to whom we can refer patients for alternative therapies we don’t offer.
It's awesome to have more veterinarians in practice who’ve decided to add holistic and integrative modalities to their treatment toolboxes. One example is the number of vets who are now performing ovary-sparing spays and vasectomies. I asked Dr. Roach what he loves most about his work.
“There are so many things,” he answers. “I like the freedom of being able to treat patients outside the confines of pet insurance coverage. I have the freedom to treat patients as I see fit as long as the owner is in agreement. There are no regulatory bodies preventing us. I don't have to say, ‘Well, that's really all I can do, I'm sorry.’
There's always something we can do to make that animal feel better. It's about the freedom to practice the way you ethically feel that you should. But the freedom also comes with great responsibility.”
“I'm constantly running down the highway to one or the other,” he says. “And it's been pretty challenging, as far as a business model, but it's allowed me to contact a much bigger population.”
Pet parents drive significant distances to visit Dr. Roach’s practices, which is pretty much the state of things when one is looking for holistic pet care. He would like to see at least one integrative vet in every practice, so that many more pet owners could take advantage of alternative therapies for their animals.
As for acceptance by his conventional colleagues, Dr. Roach says it’s been slow going. However, he’s been speaking at veterinary group meetings across Oklahoma for the past several years, and feels he’s earned his place among them. Not only are vets sending him referral patients, but they’re also bringing their own pets to him, which he treats at no cost.
The Right Food and Comfortable Shoes
As I do with all the amazing Game Changers I interview, I asked Dr. Roach what one thing he would like to share with the world if he had the chance.
“I think it’s all about what pets eat,” he replied. “There’s an epidemic of cancer and other diseases in pets today, and we could stop a lot of it if more people just used their brains and chose to feed their animals a species-appropriate diet.
And if I happen to be talking to veterinarians about being comfortable on their feet all day, I’d tell them to wear Hoka shoes!”
Dr. Roach is a happy human with a career that lights his soul on fire and has for decades. In my opinion, he’s a role model for veterinarians, demonstrating how to have joy decades into a profession that allows you to be the best version of yourself.
Today's Pet Video:
Caterpillar Morphs Into a Garden Tiger Moth
From a tiny egg comes a white caterpillar with long, sparse black hairs, which turn lush in rust and black. As a moth, it has layered “camo” wings in brown, cream and orange.