A vet with a difference
Practice focuses on wholistic pet care

By Laurie Arendt - News Graphic Staff

Jan. 23, 2018

Dr. Sue Howell has placed a priority on acupuncture and nutrition as she treats
pets in her new Thiensville location.
Photo by Mark Justesen

THIENSVILLE — Pet owners know that a trip to the veterinarian is not something that most pets, or their humans, typically enjoy. It can be anxiety-inducing for everyone involved, especially when claws and teeth are involved.

The four-legged clients at Thrive Wholistic Veterinary Care in Thiensville often have a drastically different response during an appointment. They have a tendency to fall asleep.

While Dr. Sue Howell is trained and has worked as a traditional veterinarian for many years, in December she opened a unique practice, one that focuses on alternative approaches, such as whole food therapy and acupuncture.

“For many animals, acupuncture triggers a relaxation response and it’s not uncommon for them to fall asleep during a treatment,” she said.

The road to opening a wholistic veterinary practice actually started during Howell’s childhood.

“I grew up with animals and my dad was a big softie; he always took animals in,” she said.

Her bachelor’s degree was in fine arts, but when she moved to Alaska to be with her husband-to-be, she took a job at a veterinary clinic.

“I worked with an amazing vet,” she said. “I loved the work. Every day was different.”

Thrive Wholistic Veterinary Care recently opened in a storefront in downtown Thiensville.
Photo by Mark Justesen

She went on to obtain her veterinary education and worked in traditional veterinary medicine for 20 years. But she started to see how, along with more traditional approaches, integrative care could also help pets lead optimal lives. Like humans, pets also benefit from eating whole, fresh foods with the right diet formula and nutrients.

The turning point was a cat named Star, a patient that Howell did not expect to survive. Howell added whole food supplements and a diet change to the cat’s medical plan.

“She not only survived, she thrived and outlived her diagnosis by several years,” said Howell.

That approach forms the core of her practice, which opened in December in Thiensville and focuses on three primary elements: nutritional analysis, whole food therapy and acupuncture, which can be helpful for a variety of acute and chronic pet ailments.

“I do not have a traditional veterinary practice,” she noted.

By focusing on wholistic pet care, Howell is able to deliver services that enhance a pet’s health and quality of life. She has seen the impact these techniques can have on a pet’s life through numerous patients she’s helped over the years.

The opportunity to open a practice solely devoted to wholistic care was an opportunity she could not pass up.

“Most of my practice is through word of mouth or referrals from other veterinarians,” she noted, but any pet owner can contact her for an appointment.


Thrive Wholistic Veterinary Care
188 S. Main St. Thiensville