Veterinarian Dr. Ron Carsten is no stranger to blazing his own path. His career started somewhat nontraditionally with a two-year degree in animal health technology from Colorado Mountain College. But instead of becoming a veterinary technician, he became one of the few graduates of the CMC program to pursue veterinary school and earn a DVM from Colorado State University.
After opening a small animal clinical practice, he thought to himself, “I could do more for my patients.”
“I felt frustration not being able to cure everything with conventional medical methods. It stimulated me to look for other solutions,” he says.
The young doctor began studying nutrition, supplements, herbs, homeopathy acupuncture, and other alternative methods. At a time when people were just starting to become aware of alternative treatment for their own health, Dr. Carsten was already exploring what it could do for pets.
After he completed acupuncture training in 1991, Dr. Carsten integrated it into his practice at Birch Tree Animal Hospital in Glenwood Springs. Initially, he says, “It was viewed with some skepticism.” But as time went on, people realized the benefits and sought out acupuncture for their pets and themselves, too.
“There’s a place for conventional medicine, and there’s a place for acupuncture and other modalities,” he says. “It helps to blend things together – it gives us more tools to work with.”
The foundation he received at CMC gave him an edge over fellow veterinary students. “It helped me in my clinical years at school,” he explains. “Doing tasks like anesthesia, patient handling, lab work, blood collection, and surgery were already a part of the experience I had. While everyone else was learning these skills, I could focus on other aspects of veterinary medicine.”
Dr. Carsten has rarely taken a break from his own education. In addition to his DVM, he holds a BS in microbiology, an MS in anatomy and neurobiology and a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology. He continually advances his own knowledge of holistic and conventional veterinary care.
He says one of the most important is helping to educate pet owners. “I see us working together as a team – myself, my staff, the owner and the pet – together working to achieve a higher quality of life for the pet.”
For many years, Dr. Carsten has written monthly columns for local newspapers. Through his columns, he has informed not just his own clientele but the whole community on important matters of health for pets, including issues of nutrition, diseases, pain and preventative care.