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Natural, Preventive Care for your Pets in Bethesda

Mar 30, 2016 10:39PM

A Spotlight on Veterinary Holistic Care

By Sam Hudgins
Veterinary Holistic Care opened its doors to pet owners seeking alternative treatments to conventional pet clinics in 1997, when Dr. Monique Maniet felt she could do more for her patients than simply prescribe pills. Maniet began her holistic practice by exploring homeopathy and Eastern medicine and grew her staff to include other alternative treatments such as reiki and acupuncture.

In 2011, Maniet decided to take on a smaller role and transfer ownership of VHC to someone who shared her vision, Dr. Nicholas Albano. Albano turned to holistic pet care after spending years as first an emergency veterinarian, then a general practitioner. As a general practice veterinarian, Albano felt he was not truly helping pets with chronic illnesses because they seemed to constantly return for more medication. “I might as well be a machine dispensing pills,” he states. Now Albano and his staff use medication only after more gentle, natural avenues of treatment have been exhausted. “We’ll often reach for a bottle of herbs, before a bottle of pills.”

Veterinary Holistic Care also encourages preventative health care for animals. Vaccinations are not eliminated but kept minimal. Sometimes blood work can even be used to prove a pet’s immunity rather than receiving a vaccine or booster shot. Veterinary Holistic Care also encourages a natural, raw or homemade food diet as most animals are not built to digest the large amount of grain found in kibble. Perhaps most importantly, the staff makes sure the pet owner is part of the wellness process.

Beyond utilizing a variety of treatment and prevention options, Veterinary Holistic Care differs from typical veterinarians in the calm, comfortable atmosphere they strive to provide both pets and their owners. Instead of slick tile, the office is carpeted to give a more home-like feel, and so paws can trot across it without slipping. Appointments are booked for longer stretches of time so neither doctor nor patient feel rushed. During these extended visits owners are asked in-depth questions to determine the best treatment plan to accommodate both pet and owner. “We’re big believers that every animal is unique and different,” states Albano.

To keep pet owners as informed as possible and give them extra tools to care for their pets, Veterinary Holistic Care offers a class every month on a different topic. February’s class focused on nutrition and even included some recipes to try. From 7 to 8 p.m. on April 26, the class will focus on pet massage and osteopathy.

Currently, Veterinary Holistic Care boasts a staff trained in the use of reiki, acupuncture, homeopathy, Chinese herbology, laser therapy, massage therapy and more. For a full list of services offered, visit With Albano’s background in emergency veterinary, Veterinary Holistic Care is even able to assist in minor medical emergencies during office hours. In the future, Albano hopes to expand both the office and staff to accommodate pet rehabilitation.

Veterinary Holistic Care’s main clientele consists of cats and dogs, however they do see a few more exotic patients, such as rabbits and birds. Albano notes this is another area in which he wishes to expand the practice.

Location: 4820 Moorland Ln., Bethesda. To schedule an appointment or reserve a spot in their April class, call 301-656-2882. For more information, visit

Sam Hudgins is a writing enthusiast, the outreach director for several Natural Awakenings magazines, as well as a proud pet-parent of Wendy, the wonderdog.



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