Ocean Acres Veterinary Office Sees One Patient at a Time, Using Modern and Holistic Therapies

By MARIA SCANDALE | Dec 17, 2014
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

As the only veterinarian in the Ocean Acres section of Stafford Township, Dr. Catherine Dreskin is becoming known as the friendly neighborhood vet – care focuses on one patient at a time, and Dreskin will make house calls when pets or their owners can’t travel.

But unlike the old-time doc, Ocean Acres Veterinary Office is a highly equipped veterinary hospital whose complete care employs modern science alongside alternative treatments that include nutritional and herbal supplements and, in certain instances, acupuncture.

Dreskin is a graduate of Oklahoma State University College of Veterinary Medicine and also trained at the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine in Reddick, Fla. She is also the professor of Small Animal Veterinary Medical Nursing at Camden County College in Blackwood.

Bringing 30 years of experience, she had a highly successful house call practice in Jackson for many years before her office in Ocean Acres became a convenient addition to this area in July 2014. One neighbor walks her cats there in a wagon.

Dreskin’s compassionate, pet-friendly personality is evident from the entrance at 1022 Mariner Ave. The door’s stained glass window depicts a cat and dog on the beach with the lighthouse in the background. Dog treats and people treats greet patrons on the windowsill of a cozy sitting room, and cat faces smile from ornamental tiles on the wall.

Dreskin knew her calling since she was 6 years old.

“I was one of those people who said they wanted to be a veterinarian when they couldn’t even say the word veterinarian,” she joked.

Advanced equipment is arranged in the compact but complete space of the treatment area for medical, surgical and dental services.

“This table is a scale, and it goes up and down so people don’t have to lift the animals,” Dreskin pointed out. “And underneath here is a sink so I can do dental procedures on the same table.

“Our facility has the equipment to provide comprehensive in-house testing for accurate diagnosis. This includes in-house blood testing, digital X-ray, ultrasound, surgical suite, dental care, pharmacy, and more,” sums up the brochure and the website, oceanacresvet.net.

Opening a cabinet, the doctor explained, “This is a full pharmacy.”

“From routine preventive care for your pets to early detection and treatment of a wide range of conditions and diseases and surgical care, we have the expertise to provide the care your pet needs at every stage of life,” the brochure states.

“I only see one person at a time, so I provide very personalized care for the client. I spend a lot of time with people; when they’re here, it’s only them.”

Assisting is Alice Shapoff, a veterinary technician who had retired as a surgical nurse in New Jersey and New York City before coming to work at Ocean Acres Veterinary Office two months ago.

Besides dogs and cats, other household pets might walk through the door – rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, lizards ...

The holistic approach that is offered along with modern medicine might be nutrition, vitamins, herbs or acupuncture, which has been used to treat animals in China for thousands of years. There are cases where modern medicine doesn’t have a better treatment, such as chronic pain and many other ailments.

Some dermatological conditions, gastric problems, as well as “degenerative myelopathy (a progressive disease of the spinal cord in older dogs) or other degenerative neurological conditions which we really have no drugs for, acupuncture sometimes will help with those kinds of cases,” Dreskin said. “So I find it very useful for those kind of situations.”

Asked how, say, a big dog responds to the needles of acupuncture, Dreskin said, “Actually, acupuncture has a relaxing quality about it, so generally once I start putting the needles in, the dog starts to relax. Sometimes they fall asleep.”

Along with the list of services offered in the office, the brochure adds, “and always, TLC.” Dreskin’s profile says that “Her days are made brighter by sloppy, wet puppy kisses and loud purrs.”

She is an active member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and the American Animal Hospital Association and is getting involved locally as well, including with the Friends of the Southern Ocean County Animal Shelter.

The website oceanacresvet.net has additional information. The office keeps extended hours on evenings, weekends and holidays. The office phone number is 609-756-0156.

— Maria Scandale


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