Feature: Dr. Jennifer Luna-Repose of New Earth Pet Healing

Earlier this year, we had to say goodbye to our sweet Daisy. She had some serious health issues, and we knew we didn’t have much time left with her. It’s always so hard saying goodbye to our pets, and it never gets easier. I’m beyond grateful to have found Dr. Jennifer Luna-Repose of New Earth Pet Healing. I truly believe that working with her allowed us to not only help Daisy feel as comfortable as possible during her last few months, but I know that with Dr. Jen’s help, we were able to enjoy more time with Daisy. 

Dr. Jennifer Luna-Repose offers holistic housecall veterinary care for dogs and cats, including acupuncture, laser therapy, nutrition, Chinese and Western herbs, and so much more. New Earth Pet Healing comes alongside you and your pet to offer extraordinary and personalized care. We’re so grateful for her support. 

I asked if she would be open to me interviewing her for my business blog, and luckily for us, she said yes! Some images in the blog are from my own home while she was working with Daisy. I lightly edited her responses for clarity. Please enjoy meeting her, and be sure to write down all of the resources she shares with us. 


Interview with Dr. Jennifer Luna-Repose of New Earth Pet Healing 

1. Why did you become a vet?

I volunteered at the Oakland Zoo for a little while after high school. One of the women I worked under was a zookeeper who was also a licensed veterinary technician and encouraged me to pursue the certification.  

I completed the one-year program and worked as a veterinary nurse for a couple of years. One of the first jobs I had as a veterinary technician was at a vet hospital in Berkeley, Telegraph Avenue Veterinary Hospital. The owner of the vet hospital, Dr. David Penney, actually did acupuncture on pets. I didn’t know about using acupuncture for animals at that point, as it was my first jaunt into veterinary medicine and here’s a doctor who’s using acupuncture. I was fortunate to have seen the good results he was achieving with his patients.

I soon realized how much I loved it. I started to see common themes and found my passion for helping animals. So, I went back to school to become a veterinarian.

2. Did you start out as a traditional vet? What was the main reason you became a holistic Vet?

Unfortunately, at the time I was in veterinary school, you didn’t get any training on holistic modalities.  Once I graduated, I went into a traditional internship, which was all Western allopathic medicine. 

After my internship, I joined a general practice and got frustrated with how little I could offer patients with chronic illnesses. I reflected on my previous experience with Dr. Penney. I then decided to complete training in veterinary Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture. 

3. When should a pet parent go to a traditional vet vs a holistic vet?

It doesn’t have to be black and white. I actually worked at a veterinary integrative practice, which was a brick-and-mortar practice. We did acupuncture, herbs, and a bunch of other holistic modalities but then we also had X-rays, anesthesia, surgeries, dentistry, and that sort of thing. So that was like an all-inclusive integrative hospital. In that case, you could just go there, and you didn’t have to separate the two.

Unfortunately, those practices are few and far between, so you really have to search for them. Seeing the number of animals that get very nervous and stressed going into a veterinary clinic inspired me to create my house call-based practice. I wanted to go into people’s homes, get an idea of what the animals’ living situation is like and what stressors might be in the home, while providing acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, laser, and other treatments where the pet is less stressed.

However, I do recommend that my patients have a relationship with a traditional veterinary hospital just in case they need blood work, X-rays, surgery, or other similar services. 

4. I know that most kibble is very processed and unhealthy for our pets. What are the best options of dog/cat food that you recommend for the best nutrition.

I believe getting them off a processed diet is vital for their health.

Offering your pets either a home-cooked diet or a raw food diet is number one in my book. Financially, those are expensive diets, and not everybody can afford them. So, if you can’t, then I recommend adding at least or supplementing 20% of their diet with whole foods so that they get the benefit of that. 

Studies have shown that replacing that small amount, 20% of their diet with whole foods, can prolong their lifespan.

A raw food diet is ultimately the best, but there are other decent pet food options available. You need to be aware of where these pet food companies are sourcing their ingredients. Certain companies are much better about making sure that the animals they use are pasture-raised and aren’t given excessive amounts of hormones or antibiotics before they’re used for consumption, which is much better for the animal and your pet. And the way the animal spends its life before being slaughtered can also affect your pet after they consume the meat ie. factory farms with no exposure to the outside.  Whatever that animal experiences during its lifetime before it’s slaughtered for consumption, energetically, can be transferred down to the animal that then consumes the meat once it gets into the food.

It’s important to do a lot of due diligence and research your pets food, what the ingredients are, where they source them, if the ingredients are genetically modified, etc. Susan Thrixton is a woman who does a lot of research into the pet food industry. Every year, she publishes a list of foods that are the most green or the most clean foods for pets. You can download that here.

5. What is the minimum that a dog/cat should have checked with a vet annually?

Normally, it’s just once a year for a physical exam. And then, depending on the age and lifestyle, it would be appropriate to discuss with your vet whether you should do a blood panel just to get a baseline to see if all the organs are functioning well, that sort of thing. 

6. I am curious if cats and dogs need all the vaccines and meds (heartworm, flea, etc.) that are recommended at a traditional vet?

If they’ve had their puppy vaccines, those can last a lifetime, depending on lifestyle factors. Every pet’s situation, health risks, and lifestyle are factors that might require additional vaccines after puppyhood. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach.

They likely don’t need to have those repeat boosters throughout their life. You can check the antibodies or titer level in the animal to see how their body is doing and if they still produce antibodies against these certain diseases. That’s one way to know if they’re still protected. But as an animal ages, the immune system isn’t going to keep producing antibodies against these diseases that they’re not exposed to all the time because it’s a waste of energy and time.

And so there may come the point when they’re older, in their senior years, if you do titers, it’ll come up as being low, like they’re not producing antibodies anymore. But that doesn’t mean that if they were exposed to the virus, again, their body wouldn’t mount an immune response, which is a memory response. You know, some immune cells can remember that they’ve been exposed to that vaccine before and then start producing those antibodies again. Based on that, I feel that they’re still protected for life.

Vaccine schedules need to be made based on the individual pet and its risk factors because some dogs go backpacking and hunting with their owners, and so on. Their risks for coming into contact with certain diseases like leptospirosis are going to be much higher than those of a dog that sits on the couch all day and goes to the park or to a restaurant with its owners. 

This is why it’s so important to consider your dog’s healthcare with a holistic approach.

7. What are some basic tips for the longevity and health of our pets? Supplements? 

We live in a very toxic world, so detox supplements are important for daily life. There’s a company called VENJEZ that makes products for humans and pets. One of them is called VENZEO, and it’s liquid zeolite. This supplement can bind heavy metals, chemicals, and pesticides that your animal or yourself comes in contact with during the day and cleanse their body of them.

There are many different supplement options as well. There are chlorella, broccoli sprouts, and other food-based things that you can use that aren’t necessarily supplements that you can add to the diet, which can help detox as well. 

8. Do you recommend any books, Instagram accounts, or podcasts to check out?

Books:

The Forever Dog by Karen Shaw Becker and Rodney Habib is invaluable for all. It discusses supplements and lifestyle choices that you can make for your animals to help them live longer. 

Four Paws Five Directions by Cheryl Schwartz. She wrote the first book explaining for pet owners what she was doing in Chinese medicine with acupuncture on their animals. 

Podcasts: 

The Vital Animal Podcast

Natural Healthy Pets with Dr. Judy Morgan

Your Natural Dog with Angelina Artelino

Email Newsletters:

Dr. Will Falconer

Dr. Judy Morgan 

Dr. Karen Becker

9. How can a pet parent get a hold of you if they have more questions and would like to meet with you?

I would love to connect with anyone interested in learning more or answering any questions. My practice is called New Earth Pet Healing

Pet parents are welcome to reach out to me via email at newearthpethealing@gmail.com  

My phone number is 925-444-0708.