Idiopathic Issues

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January Spotlight Veterinarian: Dr. Feli Tantiyatyanon

Posted by Lori Hehn on January 21, 2016 at 10:46 AM
Lori Hehn
Lori Hehn is a practicing veterinarian and has a drive for continual learning and enjoys interacting with veterinary and vet tech students. She also writes veterinary learning books for children.


January's Veterinarian Spotlight is Dr. Felicitas Tantiyatyanon, DVM.

(Dr. Tan) is the owner and operator of “Leo Veterinary Care." She named the practice after her beloved childhood Persian cat who always had the spirit of a lion.  Dr Tan was raised in Bangkok, Thailand. 

She received her Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Northern Arizona University.  She continued her studies in California where she received the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Degree from Western University of Health Sciences in 2009.  Since graduation she completed an internship in small animal emergency, surgery and internal medicine.  

SP-january.jpgDr. Tan has a strong interest in holistic veterinary medicine and is a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association.  She emphasizes on the integration of traditional Chinese veterinary medicine with modern western medicine. 

She completed her training in small animal and equine acupuncture through the Chi Institute in Florida, and currently pursues additional studies to become a certified Chinese herbalist.

Idiopathic Issues: What is your Current Position?

Feli Tantiyatyanon: I’m the owner and operator of “Leo Veterinary Care” an integrative veterinary house call practice.

II: What does your job entail?

FT: My job entails combining western medical diagnostic and treatment techniques with traditional Chinese veterinary medicine, and other holistic modalities to provide veterinary care for geriatric and critically ill patients. This type of practice is called Integrative Veterinary Medicine.

II: What are the best things about your job?

FT: Of course, the beautiful animals! Working with a caring and open minded clientele, and helping patients feel better despite their challenging conditions.

II: What are some challenges you face in your position?

FT:  I often encounter very difficult cases, as people tend to turn to integrative medicine when many other treatments have failed. It is challenging to start working on a case that someone has given up on and integrative medicine takes time, dedication and patience.

II: Do you have a favorite case you would like to share?

FT: One of my favorites is a 5-yr old Chihuahua mix named Bolo. Poor Bolo suffered from a back injury after playing with his canine housemate. His acute back injury resulted in his inability to walk in the hind legs and he pulled himself around on his forelimbs. His condition progressed and he was unable to urinate and the owner was taught to express his bladder twice daily; he also developed difficulty to defecate. Bolo’s condition continued to decline despite treatment with pain medications and muscle relaxers.

The owners approved to try acupuncture. I performed treatments called electro-acupuncture and aquapuncture on Bolo. Electro-acupuncture is when a low electrical current is connected to the patient’s acupuncture needles to help stimulate the acupuncture points. Aquapuncture is a technique where vitamin B-12 is injected into acupoints to help stimulate the points longer. After the first treatment Bolo regained his ability to urinate and defecate.

After the third treatment Bolo started to walk on his hind legs again. Bolo continues to improve and we have implemented physical therapy exercises as part of his treatment. He now has to be kept from his attempts to run and jump too much. Acupuncture continues to amaze me and seeing Bolo’s progress has been exciting and once again proof that these modalities truly work and are a wonderful addition to veterinary practice.

II: What advice would you offer for someone who is interested in holistic medicine and acupuncture?

FT:  There is a lot to learn and a wonderful book to start reading for introduction to Chinese medicine, it is “Four Paws Five Directions” by Cheryl Schwarz. I encourage anyone interested to also join the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association. They are a professional organization with very dedicated members who emphasize the advancement of research, education, and acceptance of holistic veterinary medicine.

II: What are some of your hobbies outside of veterinary medicine?

SP-dancing.jpgFT: I I have many hobbies but I must say I’m very passionate about ballroom and Latin dancing. I’m currently pursuing professional dance training in the ballroom and Latin syllabus and actively participating at dance competitions in the U.S.

I also love to travel and learn about different cultures and places, and I have always been an outdoors person.

I find its very important to keep up with hobbies to keep life balanced and get recharged to be the best healer one can be.

II: What advice would you give to a vet student that you wish you had when you were a student? 

FT:  To start attending the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine conference right away as there is a lot to learn. I also wish I had more guidance and comparison for the different Chinese veterinary medical schools in the U.S. as I had to figure that out on my own.

II: Has your focus on holistics affected your life outside of work?

FT:  Yes, I take better care of myself. To me “Holistic” means encompassing and considering everything involved. Whole body, mind- set, lifestyle, nutrition, supplements, disease, medications.

Learning about holistic medicine in animals has taught me to become more selective about nutrition, exercise and mind/body balance. It has also improved my understanding of selecting supplements that are helpful for me.

II: Dr. Tan, it has been very inspiring to hear about your journey in the profession. Your advice about wellness care and a whole body approach is beneficial to all of us in this profession. As you know, it can be very challenging and stressful at times. We wish you the best in your career and thank you for this interview.  Please be sure to check out our other inteviews in the Spotlight series!

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