Hello, and thanks for taking a minute out of your day to consider my natural and holistic veterinary practice for your needs. I am Dr. Christie Cichra and I have been practicing holistic veterinary medicine on both large and small animals for the past seven years in the Central Florida area. I completed my doctorate in veterinary medicine and surgery at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Fl and have also graduated from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Reddick, Fl. The Chi Institute is recognized as the leading veterinary continuing education provider of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM).

I have had great success in treating pets and performance animals with alternative therapies. Often a combination of both eastern and western veterinary medicine with a holistic approach offers the best option for a speedy recovery.

I am excited to meet you and to help treat your fuzzy friends and to get them feeling better and in tip top shape as quickly as possible.

Holistic Equine Vet

About My Practice

I have found from my experience that there are many cases in which western medicine falls short and that an eastern medicine approach mixed with a western medicine approach can have amazing results and that is exactly my specialty with Holistic Veterinary Care of Central Florida.

I started my practice because I saw the need for a mobile veterinary service that treats both large and small animals and one in which practices with a holistic approach to medicine. Taking that into consideration I created Holistic Veterinary Care of Central Florida to provide you with the convenience of treating your animals in your own home and to provide you with the professionalism that you expect from your doctor.

In home mobile service available in Orlando, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Lake Mary, Oviedo, Altamonte Springs, Maitland, Windermere, Winter Garden, Dr. Phillips, Sanford, Longwood, Casselberry, Chuluota, Geneva and surrounding areas.

NEW! Clinic is now open in Oviedo just on the verge of Winter Park for veterinary acupuncture, chiropractic and other services.

Holistic Vet Treatment and Natural Approaches

I get many questions about when treatments are needed, how many treatments are needed, what does the treatment aim to accomplish, and the like. I'll try to give you a quick idea without going into extensive detail on this page. I have also provided further reading and more detailed explanations about the services I provide and you can learn about them by clicking on the links to the left of this page.

Clinical trials indicate that the acupuncture therapy and other holistic treatments can be effective in the following conditions:

Musculoskeletal problems:
  Muscle Soreness
  back pain
  disc problems
  osteoarthritis
  degenerative joint disease

Neurological disorders:
  seizure
  laryngeal
  hemiplegia
  facial and radial nerve paralysis

Gastrointestinal disorders:
  diarrhea
  gastric ulcers
  colic
  vomiting
  constipation and impaction

Other chronic conditions:
  anhidrosis
  heaves
  asthma
  cough
  uveitis
  behavioral problems
  Cushing’s disease
  hypothyroidism
  infertility
  hyperthyroidism
  renal failure
  geriatric weakness
  skin problems.

Performance enhancement and
prevention of disease

Traditional Chinese Medicine

This excerpt from an article written by Susan Thorpe-Vargas, PhD and John C. Gargill, MA, MBA, MS
(full article available at http://acupuncture.com/animals/dog.htm) is an excellent summary of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

To understand the basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture it is important to comprehend the tradition out of which it developed. In TCM, animals and humans are viewed as tiny parts of an infinite universe subject to laws that govern all living and nonliving things. The fundamental concept is that an animal or person who follows these general laws of nature will reap the benefits of good health.

Acupuncture is not a stand-alone procedure in this framework; rather, it is a part of a much larger medical system encompassing acupuncture, moxibustion (the burning of moxa, a soft downy material, on the skin in the treatment of various disorders), Tui-Na (massage), breathing exercises, nutrition, herbal medicine and even philosophy of life. The goal of TCM is to diagnose imbalances in the life force (Qi), determine their causes and subsequently remove those causes from the patient's environment (treatment). TCM views disease as an imbalance between two polarities of Qi, yin (-) and yang (+). Within this conceptual framework, acupuncture is used to "communicate" with body organs and tissues through special channels or meridians. (There is no known physiological equivalent to these energy pathways.) Health and healing in this context is the integration and restoration of balance or harmony of Qi. This view has been validated most recently by the discovery of the relationship between brain chemistry and the immune system. Some critics assert that Western medicine has a mechanistic view of health, reducing disease and illness to specific cellular and molecular systems. Outstanding medical advances have been made using the western viewpoint, but, according to the Eastern tradition, the sum of the whole body still is greater than its parts.

The effectiveness of many traditional acupuncture points has been determined experimentally. Some 670 of them have survived the test of time. In her book, Between Heaven and Earth, Harriet Beinfield proposed an analogy: "comparing an acupuncturist with a Western veterinary or medical practitioner is similar to comparing a gardener and a mechanic" The gardener considers the totality of his or her plants' environment (sunlight, density of planting, types and amounts of fertilizer, temperature, water, etc.), whereas the mechanic searches to replace or repair a dysfunctional component.

At the traditional vet's office, the dog is placed on the examining table, and the vet asks questions about the frequency and quantity of urination. While the owner is talking, the vet takes the dog's temperature and then begins to perform a physical exam that includes listening to the heart and bowel sounds and palpating the abdomen to check for any masses. The vet suggests several lab tests to rule out a urinary tract infection and other more serious diseases such as diabetes mellitus and diabetes insipidus. The total focus of the appointment is to address the clinical symptoms. In contrast, the vet trained in TCM asks questions about the dog's behavior and previous history, which may be similar to the questions that the traditional vet asks, such as: "Does the dog drink small or large amounts of water at one time?" "When did the behavior start to occur?" and "How often does it happen?"

The practitioner then goes on to ask what may seem to be unrelated questions. Does it happen more frequently at a particular time of the day? Does your pet choose to sleep in the sun, or does she seek out a cool, shady spot? Does she like to lie on a soft surface, or does she prefer to sleep on a firm supportive surface?

By now the owner may become impatient with answering detailed questions that do not appear to have anything to do with the problem. But to a practitioner of TCM, these questions are all valid because the patient is an individual made up of physical, mental and emotional components. Questions are asked about the dog's environment, her diet and favorite foods, stressors and behavioral tendencies in an attempt to consider the "whole," just as the gardener considers the totality of his or her environment.

While the owner is relating this information, the TCM practitioner observes the animal's behavior in the exam room, checking her tongue, looking at the dog's body shape and examining her skin and coat. The next part of the exam includes listening to the chest with a stethoscope and taking note of the breathing sounds and the character of her bark.

Just like the Western clinician, the TCM practitioner then palpates the abdomen and limbs. In addition he or she will check the dog's pulse (which provides information about organ systems and their locations on energy pathways) and also will assess specific areas along the back, sides and abdomen. In this tradition these diagnostic points correspond to specific internal organs.

Finally, the TCM practitioner smells for specific odors emanating from the eyes, nose, ears and mouth, which all play a part in the diagnostic process.