This patient has been with me for a long time! For over 11 years actually! That’s because he is MY dog and one of the loves of my life! Some days I enjoy his company more than my husbands, but don’t tell my husband that.

So where is he from? I actually went to vet school in New Zealand. Not sure if everyone knew that but I’m a Colorado girl but ended up in New Zealand after graduating from college at Notre Dame. I met my future husband a month after moving to NZ (yes he is a Kiwi and still has his accent!), and a year and a half later we decided we needed a pup in our lives. My husband decided to get a German Shepherd, because he had been around them his whole life. Here I am in veterinary school, learning all about their genetic issues ranging from hip and elbow dysplasia to their high risk of cancers like hemangiosarcoma, and I’m thinking what are we doing?

However, I’ll be honest. I did not pay for him and thought oh well, at least I can take care of him as a veterinarian. So here comes this cute, fluffy 8 week old German Shepherd puppy! Here’s Finn taking his only nap in puppyhood.

This puppy was mad! He was crazy, energetic and wild! However, he made me fall in love with the German Shepherd breed. This breed is stoic, loyal and just incredible dogs. Finn grew up playing in the river and ocean, and he is now obsessed with water. He got to go everywhere with us, and loved living in the countryside in New Zealand.

In 2013, we moved back to Colorado (along with 2 cats), and began life in the States. Finn did great, and we have truly tried to limit his exposure to vaccines, conventional drugs and feed him quality food. When I say quality food, my definition has truly changed over the years, especially after I started becoming more holistic in the way that I practice medicine.

As he’s gotten older, he has dealt with his fair share of injuries and diseases, but luckily I was practicing more of an integrative approach towards medicine. He has two torn cruciate ligaments, which is the equivalent of two torn ACLs. We did not do surgery on either of his knees. I’ve been able to medically manage him with acupuncture and physiotherapy. He LOVES his acupuncture treatments!

Next, Finn decided to develop lumbosacral disease which is an orthopedic and neurological (bone and nerve) disease in his lower back which affects the nerve function to his urinary bladder. If he doesn’t go out to urinate frequently enough, we have to pass a urinary catheter to help him empty his bladder. Not fun, but I found that he actually does better with acupuncture for this condition also! Finn was also started on Chinese herbal medicine to help with the inflammation that was occurring in his body, and a few other supplements. Ruta Graveolans is a homeopathic treatment he was started on to help strengthen his knee ligaments along with Standard Process Ligaplex II and Canine Whole Body Support to support the soft tissue structures in his knees and help reduce inflammation. He was not placed on any pain medications like Rimadyl! That is how powerful alternative treatments can be for a pet!

If you follow me on facebook, you know that this little guy is a fighter and has no idea that there is anything wrong with his body. Recently he was diagnosed with a brain tumor after he started having seizures. I am very thankful for being able to use herbal medicine because he did not tolerate conventional medications and has thrived on the changes we have made. We know our time with him is unfortunately limited but using a wholistic perspective in Finn’s care has been instrumental in him still being here with us!

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and IG to watch Finn’s story and hopefully cheer him on! Share your pet’s stories too on our social media pages!

With love and kindness,

Dr. Katie


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*Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian or doctor. The information contained in is strictly for educational purposes. Therefore, if you wish to apply ideas contained in, you are taking full responsibility for your actions. Please consult your veterinarian for medical advice for your own pets. Dr. Katie Woodley cannot answer specific questions about your pet’s medical issues or make medical recommendations for your pet without first establishing a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.

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