Walk into and it looks like most other veterinary offices. Go behind the scenes, however, and the distinctions become clear.
The facility features a state-of-the-art surgical suite for animals, several kennel areas and digital X-ray equipment. There is even a quarantine area for pets with contagious conditions. This room has its own private entrance to limit exposure.
It is in one of the examination rooms where the real difference between East-West and many other practices really becomes evident. Acupuncture instruments can been seen on the counter and Dr. Linda Register’s 1996 veterinary degree from the University of Florida hangs alongside her certification as a veterinary acupuncturist.
East-West, as its name suggests, blends both western veterinary treatments with eastern treatments, such as acupuncture, aqua-puncture, food therapy, electro-acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatments.
“It’s a nice adjunct to western (medicine),” Register said.
She worked as a traditional western veterinarian for years, but decided to pursue the eastern component to expand her “tool box,” she said
Register went back to the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine to receive her certification as a veterinary acupuncturist. The school is led by a number of well-known veterinary educators, including many neurology professors Register knew from UF.
East-West opened last August at 1524 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.
While Register is a proponent of using 2,500-year-old medicinal practices to assist animals, she doesn’t recommend them for every pet or every condition.
“Each patient is an individual,” she said. “There’s no one modality that works for everything.”
Dr. Adriana Odachowski is Register's partner in the practice.
She also likes taking a holistic approach to make sure an animal gets the best treatment possible, she said. Eastern practices in veterinary medicine are becoming more common, she added.
“I think there is an increasing need,” Odachowski said. It enables veterinarians to “go above and beyond.”
Odachowski specializes in the care of dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and other non-traditional pets. She often advises using a more natural way to heal pets or prevent illness.
Odachowski received her doctorate's in veterinary medicine from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Colombia in 2000. She moved to the United States in 2001 and received her United States Veterinary Certification from the American Veterinary Medical Association in 2005. She is responsible for about 60 percent of the surgeries performed at East-West.
Both doctors explained that eastern medicine can be useful for treating a wide variety of conditions from arthritis and common skin ailments to alleviating pain without medications. It is also useful for helping to reduce the amount of medications required to treat a patient, they said.
With chronic or potentially life-ending conditions, acupuncture and other holistic measures can “help them have a better quality of life for a little longer,” Odachowski said.
Pet owners can bring their animals to East-West for a wide variety of treatments. From routine shots and surgical procedures to treatments of chronic illness, the hospital offers it all. When East-West is unable to handle a case, it works with specialists throughout the area. The doctors care for dogs, cats, birds, lizards, turtles and have even performed surgery on squirrels.
For a limited time, patients new to the practice will receive a $10 gas card at the end of their first appointment. According to staff members, this promotion is being offered to help offset the high costs of gasoline.
For more information about East-West, visit eastwestanimalhospital.com or call 813-948-6534.
Editor's note: This article was updated at 5 p.m. April 22 to include more background information about Dr. Adriana Odachowski.