By Haley Miller
Dr. Steve Nichols knew he wanted to be a veterinarian since fifth grade, but his interest in alternative veterinary medicine began years later.
“Acupuncture was kind of my gateway drug,” Nichols said. “It was my gateway into the alternative world.”
At The Integrative Veterinary Clinic, a new facility at 504 Ind. 32 in Westfield, Nichols offers traditional veterinary services, such as X-rays and pharmaceuticals, but he also provides a variety of alternative treatments, such acupuncture and ozone and herbal therapies.
“We can look at all of those different things we can put together and approach the patient in a more global aspect versus just Western medicine and the pharmaceutical world,” Nichols said.
The clinic was designed to feel collaborative and inviting, Nichols said. Each exam room contains an essential oil diffuser, and the facility has a special soundproof recovery room for animals that are recuperating from procedures.
“I tried to format it such a way that there were not any areas that aren’t patient- and client-friendly,” Nichols said.
Event planner and longtime client Judy Cohen said she trusts her animals with Nichols exclusively.
“Steve has a great way of calming you down,” Cohen said. “People like me go crazy about their pets. Steve’s very calming, very reassuring but very honest and explains things in a way that I can understand. Plus, the animals love him.”
Prior to the new building in Westfield, Nichols worked out of his farm. He said he is grateful for the clients who have stuck with him for many years – some from as far back as 1991.
“I’m really relationship-driven,” Nichols said. “I think that relationships are important to establish so that there can be good trust, that folks will understand that when I recommend something, I’m not just recommending it from a financial standpoint for me.”
Nichols said the goal of The Integrative Veterinary Clinic is to build a collaborative health care system.
“It just gives us a diversity (of methods) to approach all of our patients that I think is pretty unique in the area,” Nichols said. “I don’t know anybody that’s doing all the things that we’re doing.”