Dr. Esra Weisheit is the owner of Nease Animal Hospital, which opened in August 2017. A veterinarian for more than 20 years, Dr. Esra takes a very personal approach when it comes to taking care of animals.
Can you please tell us about your background?
I graduated in 1997 from Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine. In addition to being a licensed DVM, I am a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA), a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Therapist (CCRT) and a Certified Spinal Manual Therapist. I also have a special interest in Chinese herbal medicine.
I practiced in Bel Air, Maryland, for 18 years. There, I owned my own small animal hospital for 14 years. During one of my recent family vacations, we fell in love with the Jacksonville area and decided to move to Florida. My family includes my husband Gene, my son Zackary, four cats (Sniffles, Fearless, Raven and Eagle), and two dogs (Humphrey and Chloe). My hobbies are dog agility, cooking and outdoor activities with my family.
Where does your passion for animals derive from?
I was born with a passion for animals. I grew up abroad playing with stray dogs and cats. As a teenager, I dreamt of being a wildlife biologist. In college, I was lucky and had an amazing opportunity to spend a semester in Kenya studying wildlife management. In Kenya, I realized veterinary medicine was where I belonged. I could help animals as a veterinarian in many more ways.
What inspired you to open Nease Animal Hospital?
After I sold my practice, I worked at great practices in the St. Johns area, but realized I missed practicing medicine in a way that allows me to integrate alternative medicine with traditional medicine. I wanted a practice where clients and patients are part of the family and we work together to keep pets healthy and happy.
At Nease Animal Hospital, we focus on treating the whole patient and helping dogs and cats with nutrition, supplements, acupuncture or herbs if they need it. Our underwater treadmill helps arthritic patients and patients who are suffering from orthopedic injuries. Talking to clients about home exercises that they can do to strengthen their pets is very rewarding for me.
What does your clinic offer that makes it different from others?
We offer acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, spinal manipulation, cold therapy laser, canine rehabilitation, an underwater treadmill, dog training classes, cat exclusive exam rooms and fear-free care.
How is the pet care industry changing?
Pet owners are very concerned about their pets’ health care. There a lot of information out there, and it is getting harder to figure out what is hyped and what is true. This is true for our human health as well. Veterinarians need to be more open and keep up with what’s new and good and what’s not. Most importantly, it is important to keep it simple by focusing on basics. Eating healthy and being active is important to both our pets and us. Staying away from sugar and processed food is the best we can do for us and our pets. Healthy and fit means the ideal weight. Many clients are still unaware of their pets’ ideal weight, and an overweight pet is often not seen as such, and therefore not seen as being at risk.
What do you enjoy most about living on the First Coast?
I am very happy I live here; I feel blessed. I love the sun, beach, bike riding and the many outdoor activities available for my family. The people are great, too.
-Edited by Jon Blauvelt