Background and Practice:
Dr. Alan Stewart received his BS from the University of Chicago and his DVM from the University of Illinois, College of Veterinary Medicine.
When Dr. Stewart started San Francisco Veterinary Specialists (SFVS) in 1997 in San Francisco, CA, it was the first specialty hospital in the city and the first in the country to specifically combine Eastern and Western specialists. In 2010, the hospital was acquired by Veterinary Centers of America. The clinic has 20 veterinarians and a supporting staff of 86, as well as a hospital director and an assistant director.
Dr. Stewart’s areas of veterinary interest are integrative immune mediated and inflammatory diseases, and he enjoys combining integrative therapies to maximize the well-being of the patient and keeping geriatric animals as healthy as possible for the mutual enjoyment of the animal and the guardian. Among the diagnostic and treatment tools the clinic features are video-endoscopy, digital X-ray, behavior training, a professional lab in the building, advanced chemotherapy and integrative therapies including acupuncture, chiropractic and homotoxicology.
Why His Nomination Stood Out:
Dr. Stewart’s nomination referenced his leadership in building a successful practice, “growing the clinic to provide a comprehensive medical as well as holistic approach to veterinary care. Many of the vets are board certified and specialize in various areas including internal medicine, oncology, orthopedics, cardiology, dermatology, surgery and holistic care.” The nominating party owns a pet care business and says she “always refers [her] clients to Dr. Stewart when their pets are in need of special care or if a persistent health issue is not being resolved by their current vet.”
Additionally, Dr. Stewart was praised for his “special way with the animals that makes them feel comfortable and safe. I have seen many animals benefit from his care and be allowed to live longer and with a quality of life that other vets are unable to provide.”
In His Words:
What is the most exciting advancement in veterinary medicine in the past 5 years?
“I tend to have a more global view of veterinary medicine. I think as a profession it is exciting how we are becoming more grounded in evidence-base medicine. We are now embracing and developing larger case studies, from oncological drug choices to nutritional recommendations and basing how we treat our patients on this data. What is additionally exciting is that I see the Western science on a trajectory to intersect, not collide or combat, the trajectory of integrative therapies so that we will soon be able to provide a more ‘holistic’ approach to our patients’ health. Thus soon, advanced spinal surgery will always have acupuncture and physical therapy as well as medications for post- op recommendations. The mutual acceptance of both of these modalities will lead to the ultimate in improved care for our patients.”
What is the most exciting/needed advancement on the horizon?
“I think the current paradigm of veterinary care is shifting due to the improved diagnostic and therapeutic care we currently have available and the associated costs of more advanced care. These developments will raise the health care level of the largest number of pets and make the most impact on a national level.”
What has been your greatest challenge, to date, in your professional career?
“During the last 15 years, I started two multi-specialty/emergency hospitals in the San Francisco Bay area – both from the ground up. I helped them grow from literally nothing to employing close to 100 professionals at each location. Naturally this process is an immense challenge, requiring creativity, fortitude and shear use of the imagination. But the core values that I have stood by are to grow these hospitals with integrity and honesty, and to always put the care of the patient and service to the client first. I believe that everything else will follow. And so it has.”
A Bit of Fun:
Favorite human treat?
“80% cacao chocolate bars”
Favorite role model?
“Dr. James Harris, he is an outstanding veterinarian and mentor.”
Funniest pet name you’ve heard?
“A male Dalmatian named Seurat”
To read more about our other Vet Awards finalists, click here.