I’m a Veterinarian with over 35 years of experience, a 1979, Minnesota graduate. I have been in private practice and a professor/specialist at two university Vet. schools; Michigan State University and University of Wisconsin. I have a minor scientific writing, BS in agriculture science, a MS in large animal medicine & Surgery/endocrinology and board certification in Theriogenology (animal reproduction). Advanced training in herd health, animal nutrition, anesthesiology/capture medicine, and endocrinology were also part of my graduate training while at Michigan State.
I came to Madison as an assistant professor at their new veterinary school in 1984. At that time there was no curriculum, lectures or labs in animal reproduction. I ( and a colleague) co-developed and wrote all the courses for Theriogenology and Ambulatory Medicine and created the Theriogenology specialty service at the Vet hospital. I served as the clinical service director until my departure. At the same time: I completed significant research on “Effects of Superovulation hormones on the body, Embryo Transfer techniques on cattle & sheep, and Ultrasound diagnosis & staging of pregnancy in sheep”. I developed the clinical methods to diagnose pregnancy and infertility in Llamas, plus herd health programs to improve their health.
I’ve published research in science journals and several book chapters for Veterinarians. I have also written numerous newspaper, magazine articles and fact sheets for the public. I have written and presented over 120 different seminars for both the public or veterinarians, in addition to full time teaching, graduate student supervision, & seeing clients at the Veterinary hospitals. I was hired by Hewllet Packard Co. to make slide and video for computer teaching about normal cow behavior and handling techniques. I’ve made several teaching videos on the process of birth, behavior, and reproductive techniques for diagnosis in animals. I served, on the Theriogenology Specialty Board of examiners, for 5 years. As Chairperson, I lead the committee to modernized the testing process and rewrote examination material to improve the accuracy of the test.
During my years as a Veterinarian, I have provided care for; dogs, cats, cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, llamas, a few; birds, exotic cats, and marmosets. I have setup herd health programs on farms for cows, pigs, sheep, goats and dog kennels.
Alternative Medicine (AM): Alternative Veterinary Medicine (AVM) includes any medical system or treatments that are outside the standard, modern, western Veterinary Medical Science (called allopathic).
I became interested after injuries I sustained from an auto accident didn’t heal. Specialist at the Mayo clinic were the first to prescribe Yoga, then Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture for therapy for my injuries. The accumulated benefit of of many alternative medicine treatments got me back to moving after a year of confinement to bed and convinced me that AM is a valuable asset to any medical practice. I chuckle now, as I remember, telling my friends, “if I start humming and sitting cross legged on the floor, you have permission to take me to the “looney bin”. I couldn’t imagine that ten years later I would love meditation and study compassion with the Dali Lama.
In 1993 I began formal training in Alternative Medicine (AM). I attended AM schools for human health, because Veterinary AM was just starting. I observed the benefits of AM on the health and happiness of animals and humans. Since that time I have studied: more than 12 types of Energy Healing, Homeopathy, Bach flower Remedies, Chinese Medicine/Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Herbal medicines, Magnetic therapy. T-Touch, and numerous electrotherapies. I am a certified in: Reiki levels I, II & III, Pranic healing, Advanced Energy Healing (AEH) and Applied behavior analytics. I spent 4 years volunteer teaching in the “AEH” school. My husband and I began an Advanced Energy Healing training program for health professionals where I wrote curricullum and taught for 10 years. Additionally, I have independently studied: Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, Western Herbs (from a pharmacist/herbalist), Magnetic therapies, Bach Flower Remedies, and Veterinary Homeopathy.
I have tried many AVM methods for treatment of animals for over the past 20 years. I admit that I remain a skeptic and have found that not all AVM methods work. And not all AVM treatments are safer, more effective or tolerated by animals when compared to Allopathic medicine. The same can also be said for allopathic medicine where not all accepted therapies withstand the test of time. Because of my university background and specialist training, I apply the same stringent standards to AVM as I would to a new allopathic treatment idea. I study the scientific publications that have measured the effects and the mechanism of action, of Alternative Medicine treatments . I continue to spend time searching latest validated research so I will be able to evaluate and compare methods, medicines, or techniques. I strive to recommend therapies or medicines that have been shown to work based on good quality scientific evidence . I combine my years of Veterinary Medicine and research experience with, common sense and up to date science, when I recommend diagnostic tests and treatment options. I keep in mind that the best treatment recommendations are also practical for you and your animal.
Like most animal behaviorist I was fascinated by the behavior of animals from a young age. I would watch animals in the neighborhood for hours. It was better than watching TV, unless there was animal program. At age 8, I trained my pet Hamster, no one told me how. Next our Collie dog, who was trained for the usual; sit, stay and come. Next, I trained him to come with just a look on my face, or change of my posture. The most challenging was, training him to pull a sled (me and Dad aboard) over snow covered roads of Minnesota. The next year, I became the youngest volunteer Docent, at St. Paul’s Como Zoo. I was taking animals, for demonstration, to grade schools and Boy-scout groups. At age 12, I was the youngest volunteer conducting Zoo tours. I remember being afraid to speak and how many kids were much taller than me. Somehow, the kids loved my talks/tours and I was hooked.
I took care of the food, water, exercise, play and training the many pets our mom allowed. One very busy summer, the guinea pigs, rats, mice, hamsters, and cats all had babies, amounting to 84 creatures plus the 2 dogs. When my Mom later started breeding Collies, I was of course her assistant for clean up, feeding, playtime and training batches of wild puppies. On to college for an undergraduate degree in agricultural science which included ethology (study of animal behavior), courses in dairy cow training for handling & show. As a Veterinarian, I was the one to spent the time to teach students, technicians, or clients, how to handle dogs, cats, pigs, goats or cows. If you have ever had to train a heifer (young cow) to be milked, you know how frustrating animals can be. I was regularly, “unofficially” recruited by manager (of the UW Vet. school teaching farm) to train their staff how to handle animals that are bigger than a rat. Because I had selected many of the teaching livestock and I wanted them treated well, so they would be calm and easy to handle around new Veterinary students.
During my years as a veterinary specialist in animal reproduction, I was called on to figure out a difficult behavior problems. Much more common than one would think is that many male animals dogs, horses, pigs, etc. do not know how (or are too frightened) to mate with a female. While I was at the U of WI, I had the task of training the young males that were chosen to become breeding male, how to mate. These cases included research horses, swine, dogs, our teaching herd males and many client owned animals of different species.
My background and natural interest made in specializing in behavior a natural step for me. I began in 1998 by taking numerous courses/seminars offered by Veterinary Small Animal Behavior specialists and Certified Behavior Experts in learning theory, animal behavior and treatment of behavior problems . I completed the graduate level training course in Applied Behavioral Analytics by Professor Susan Friedman.
Over last 40 years of dogs and cats training, I have used all styles of training, the old methods based on forcing the dog to comply, and the newer science based techniques based on learning theory, and even some training fads. While most dogs or cats can learn from all the techniques available. I have found the newer, science based, training methods are so much quicker, lead to lasting change, and are much easier for clients to learn to do.
One note about “slang” that surrounds dog training. The newer methods have been labeled “positive dog training” which has more recently been changed to “force-free” training. Both labels are jargon or attempts to find more user friendly titles. The real difference is the new training methods are based on the science of how animals and people learn, named learning theory. and use measurable results to test each idea to see what actually works. The science methods do lean toward reward v.s. punishment, but are not punishment free. Newer methods don’t judge the animals “reasons” for not doing what we want. They focus on the behavior and reward the goal behavior.
Animals or people who are free of fear, learn faster, become eager to learn more, and retain new information longer. I observe the profession of animal training going through a major shift to modernizing and advanced education and training of professionals. The old style, handed down training, through the generations will continue to fade, as new, faster, repeatable and easier methods continue to be offered.