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Winner of
The Best Holistic Vet

in Animal Print Magazine
2005, 2006, 2007
2008, 2009, 2010

2011, 2012, 2013
2014, 2015

For 11 Years in a Row!

The Wolf Rock Animal Health Center is a well equipped, modern veterinary hospital offering general medicine, surgery, and preventative health services for companion animals. In addition, we offer alternative treatment options. These include a holistic approach, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal therapies, nutritional consultations, and animal chiropractic. We are offering these alternatives in order to expand our ability to treat medical conditions and to help you maintain your pets in the best of health.

If you are seeking alternative therapies for an existing condition in your pet, we'd like you to know that alternative therapies may be used alone or in conjunction with conventional treatments for almost any condition. Each condition is individually evaluated and the treatment choice is made according to the preference of the client and the needs of the patient.



Based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine approach that has been studied and practiced for over 5000 years.The ancient Chinese texts describe therapies for treatment of horses, cattle, pigs and chickens. The use of acupuncture for dogs and cats has been a more recent development, during the past century.


Acupuncture involves the understanding of energetic channels that run through the body and limbs, and how they can be stimulated to encourage the body to heal itself. These energetic channels, or meridians, correspond closely to the anatomy of the nervous system and function to maintain homeostasis, or balance, between all of the major organ systems of the body.

Western medicine clearly understands that the entire body is intimately inter-connected. We know that stress can cause heart disease, stomach upset, headaches... and that a problem in the heart can cause increased blood pressure and hormone alterations that can affect the kidneys, the brain and the muscles.

Incredibly, the Chinese doctors over several centuries were able to decode some of the pathways by which the different parts and systems of the body communicate and regulate each other. When acupuncture needles are used to stimulate certain points, regulation and healing of certain organs and areas of the body can occur.

Dogs and cats are generally quite amenable to acupuncture. It is a form of treatment that often can address problems for which conventional therapies do not exist, or for which the therapy would be far more invasive or toxic.

In the United States the professional organizations are:


Acupuncture can be applied as a treatment for almost any condition, and is especially helpful for the treatment of allergies, arthritis, vertebral disc disease, intestinal imbalances, immune support and kidney disease.

Animal Chiropractic

Animal chiropractic is a field that was developed in the United states, over the past few decades, as a wonderful collaboration between veterinarians and doctors of chiropractic, who together studied the anatomy and function of the spines and nervous systems of companion animals. As a result, very specific methods of diagnosing and treating dogs, cats and horses have been developed which correlate very closely to the same therapy that is used widely and successfully for treatment of humans.

Chiropractic treatment addresses the function and health of the nervous system. It can be used to relieve pain, improve musculoskeletal function and form, but also to improve the function of the immune system and specific organs of the body.

In veterinary medicine, animal chiropractic is often used for spinal pain, intervertebral disc disease, performance issues in the athlete, immune disorders, and specific organ dysfunctions.

The national certifying organization is the AVCA (American Veterinary Chiropractic Association) and members include veterinarians and doctors of chiropractic.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal treatments have been used to treat illness in animals and people throughout all of recorded history, and beyond.  Modern pharmaceutical science is based almost entirely on the foundations built by herbalists over the course of history. To this day, herbs are studied extensively and then extracted, purified or chemically synthesized to make medicines used in conventional treatments.

The study and use of herbs in their more intact and original forms is believed by herbalists to be far safer and deeper acting than single chemical extractions and synthetic copies of natural substances.  Combinations of herbs can be artfully and specifically combined into formulas that balance and potentiate their effects, to heal and nourish an ill patient, in a very gentle manner.


Animals have been well known to ingest certain plants at certain times, which actually correspond to their seeking out the medicinal qualities of the plant, through their own inner wisdom. The Earth provides for the needs of all life, and often, the plants and animals are able to take care of each other, if they have the opportunity.

Herbal medicine can be used as part of the treatments for any condition as well as health maintenance for all patients.

Dogs and cats can benefit from the plants chosen for them by a knowledgeable veterinary herbalist. Veterinary herbalists in this country may use herbs that are indigenous to North America, and have been used by native and early Americans, and/or they may use traditional chinese herbal medicines, or even herbs from other regions of the Earth. There is currently one national and international veterinary herbal organization, the VBMA, (Veterinary Botanical Medical Association)


Homeopathy is a field of medical therapy that has been used for almost 200 years. It was first developed in Europe, and today is widely used worldwide, especially in India, Europe and South America. 

Homeopathy was widely used as a primary form of medicine in the United States until the 1930's, when pharmaceutical companies and medical associations began to push the homeopathic practitioners out of favor. Homeopathy is a very well documented, successful form of medicine, but it is not simplistic.


Homeopathic remedies are made from extremely diluted forms of herbs, minerals or tissues, prepared in a very specific manner.

Each patient must be evaluated as an individual, and the causes and effects of dis-ease that occur in that unique individual will lead to the selection of the appropriate remedy to be used in treatment.


There is not, for example, just one remedy that can be used for arthritis, there are instead, dozens of them.

The selection of the remedy used for treatment depends on the analysis of the individual patient, and how the dis-ease is specifically manifested in that individual. Different manifestations of the disease in each patient are explored, if the pain is worse at night, worse with cold, worse with exercise...then the choice of remedy used to treat that patient will be different than for a patient who is better at night, better with cold, and better with exercise.

Veterinary homeopathy has been used successfully to treat or alleviate all types of disease. It can be especially helpful with some behavioral problems and with situations involving illness after grief, neglect or abuse. The national certifying organization is the AVHA (Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy).

Nutritional Counseling

The foundation of good health lies in good food.  For over 20 years Dr Hassinger has paid very close attention to the correlations between excellent nutrition and health in her patients. 
The average commercial animal diets are based on meeting minimal standards, and though "adequate", they are not able to fully nourish excellent health.  At Wolf Rock, we work hard to educate and encourage our clients about options in nourishment, that include home cooked diets, raw foods, and premium commercial diets. 


We will help you to choose a food that is appropriate and "do-able" for your animals and your lifestyle.  In addition to everday dietary choices, many animals can benefit from specific supplements chosen to help them with their unique medical conditions.  We can help you to choose supplements that will be beneficial and effective.

Preventative Health Care

It is always our mission to help keep animals in optimal health and to support them to live long and comfortable lives.  Annual and semi-annual physical exams are scheduled to review all aspects of your animals wellness, including nutrition, behavior, excercise, grooming and any physical problems or concerns.  We have a genuine interest in all life stages, and a special understanding for the unique issues that are faced by geriatric patients and their caregivers.


We do recommend some vaccinations, individually given for young animals, but rather than annual revaccination, recommend antibody testing (titers) be done annually thereafter, thus avoiding unnecessary repetition of vaccines.  Rabies vaccines are recommended and given according to state laws.  If you feel strongly about not vaccinating your pets, we will work with you, as well as discuss our recommendations individually.

Flea and tick prevention is a frequent concern in this part of the country.  It is our belief that many animals are over treated with chemicals that may have many toxic effects, and we encourage the use of less toxic methods of controlling parasites.  In the event that a chemical pesticide is needed, we will help you to use it  safely and minimally.  Unlike many veterinary hospitals, it is not our mission to sell as much as we can, but to sell as little as possible. 

Physical Therapy


Our doctors are knowledgeable of and able to provide suggestions for physical therapy and massage techniques that you can do at home to help your animals.

In addition, we have the services of Louise Anderson, a certified animal physical therapist available, by appointment.

Louise is able to provide physical therapy services as well as more in depth caretaker training for ongoing care at home.


Both Dr. Hassinger and Dr. Connell perform routine procedures and surgeries. Our surgical suite is fully equipped with gas anesthesia and appropriate monitors for heart rate, oxygen saturation and blood pressure. Our surgery table is heated, and all anesthetized patients are handled with the utmost care. Post operative care includes conventional pain medication, as well as appropriate homeopathic remedies and flower essences.


For complex and orthopedic procedures, we have the services of Dr David Clark, a board certified veterinary surgeon. Consultation appointments and surgery with Dr. Clark are arranged on an individual basis as needed.

We are especially attentive to helping each animal have a gentle experience. Separate dog and cat wards where all cages are padded with soft bedding, are made more comfortable with quiet music and pheromone therapy.


When needed, we are fully equipped and experienced at providing dental care under general anesthesia. However, at Wolf Rock, our goal is to help prevent the need for in-hospital dental care by promoting high quality diets and other preventative methods.  Animals that are fed appropriate, healthy diets rarely need dentistry under anesthesia.

Medical Diagnostics

Holistic medicine does not exclude the need for a conventional diagnosis.  We will review any diagnostics done by referring veterinarians, and will recommend when appropriate any additional blood testing, Xrays, Ultrasounds, biopsies, etc...

While we have some in-house laboratory tests available, we also utilitize the services of Antech, a nationally recognized veterinary diagnostic laboratory. 

We have onsite Xray services, as well as the services of New England Veterinary Specialists, who provide in-house ultrasonography, endoscopy and cardiology services by a board certified internist on a regularly scheduled basis.
Wolf Rock Animal Health Center | 710 South County Trail | Exeter, RI 02822 | 401-294-0102