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Priscilla Dressen



  • Exotic Animal Acupuncture, Comparative Anatomy and Point Finding

  • Clinical Application of Acupuncture in Various Exotic Species

Medical Assistant, Nettleton Business College, Sioux Falls, SD, July, 1976.  Focus on Lab techniques, patient records, assist minor surgeries, radiology, phlebotomy.

Bachelor of Science, Biology Major, Chemistry Minor, Black Hills State University, May 1982.  Concurrently worked as the Science Department Lab assistant.  Found a special interest in ornithology and wildlife.  Played for the College Tennis Team, enjoyed debate, hiking in the Black Hills, studying in nature.

1993, Colorado State University DVM, focus on wildlife and exotic animal medicine.

1994-1997 Clinical Instructor CSU Exotic Animal/Wildlife Department – taught junior and senior Veterinary students care of injured wildlife, surgery, medicine, and rehabilitation.

1996-2013 Clinical Director of the W.O.L.F. Rescue in Rist Canyon.  Worked with the Rocky Mountain Raptor Program, African Pigmy Hedgehog rescue, Black Footed Ferret Project, Rabbit rescues, Wildkind Wildlife Rehabilitation, Denver Zoo, and The Big Cat Sanctuary.

November, 2000 – Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist CSU, IVAS Course.

2001-2016 Clinical Instructor for the CSU Acupuncture Course and primary lecturer, Wildlife and Exotic Animal Acupuncture sessions.

Established North Star Holistic Animal Care – 1997 to current.  Practice on mixed small animal, wildlife, and exotic animals.  Operated a traditional clinic for seven years.  Because fully holistic in 2004 and currently practice acupuncture, laser therapy, massage, herbals, and natural medicine.

Tara Harrison



  • Poking the Tiger: Acupuncture in Zoological and Exotic Animals

Dr. Tara Harrison graduated from Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine with her DVM degree. Afterward, she earned a Masters of Preventive Veterinary Medicine degree at the University of California-Davis, where she worked with Dr. Linda Munson as a post-doctoral fellow in the contraceptive advisory group. She did veterinary internships at Toledo Zoo and Wildlife Safari. She then worked at Potter Park Zoo and as an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. She then went back to UC Davis and the Sacramento Zoo. She is currently an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine Zoo and Exotic Animal Medicine Service. She is board certified in the American College of Zoological Medicine, the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, and the European College of Zoological Medicine (Zoo Health Management). She is certified in veterinary acupuncture. Dr. Harrison is a co-founder of the Exotic Species Cancer Research Alliance.

Michelle Tilghman



  • Trigger Points

  • TCVM for the Geriatric Patients

  • Working Through Neurological Diagnostic Puzzles: Three Case Studies

  • Canine Transitional Cell Carcinoma: Diagnosis and Management

A graduate of the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, she has been in practice since 1982. She is the owner and chief practitioner of Loving Touch Animal Center, which focuses on integrative medicine, blending Eastern and Western medicine as well as physical therapy for complete patient care.

Dr. Michelle received her certification as an acupuncturist from the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) in 1984. In 2004, she received certification as a Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner (CCRP) at the University of Tennessee. She has also completed the Practitioner and Therapist levels of medical Qigong through the International Institute of Medical Qigong.

As part of her commitment to her profession, Dr. Michelle has taught hundreds of veterinary students and doctors in both national and international settings. She has presented more than 500 lectures and classes on subjects such as acupuncture, rehabilitation, complementary modalities, Chinese herbs, tongue and pulse, TCVM diagnosis, geriatric medicine, and physical therapy. She has lectured at the conferences of the IVAS, the AHVMA, and the AVMA, as well as in many state veterinary meetings in the United States.

Dr. Michelle is the mother of daughters Naia, and Rosemary. Rosemary graduated with a DVM from Ross U in 2017 and now practices with her mother at Loving Touch Animal Center. The four-legged family includes Welsh Springer Spaniels. Her hobbies include organic gardening and underwater photography. She is a research diver with Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida.

Mitsie Vargas



  • Using Taiyin Yangming Meridians to Treat Skin, Respiratory, and GI Diseases

  • Practical Application of the Jing Well Points

  • Managing Anxiety Disorders With TCVM

Dr. Vargas received her DVM from Tuskegee University in 1994. In 1996 she established her AAHA accredited Orchid Springs Animal Hospital in Winter Haven, FL. In 2009 she started her studies at Chi Institute, eventually garnering certifications in Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy and Tui Na. She has also achieved the following: Certified TCVM practitioner, Certified Veterinary Medical Manipulator, Certified Balance Method Acupuncturist, Certified Canine Rehabilitation Veterinarian, Fellowship of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture and has a master’s degree in TCVM. She teaches at Chi University of Florida, Peru, and Costa Rica campuses and has worked as a consultant for Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Dr. Vargas is also a sought-out speaker and author of the book Alt-Vet: the revolutionary pet care and longevity solution.

Her passion for helping animals and her volunteerism has awarded her state and national recognition. Among her awards is the Purina National Pet Care Award, Bay News 9 Medical Hero Award, Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce Business Award, Bright house Regional Business Finalist, Girls Inc “She knows where she is going award” and the FVMA Gold award. She was honored by the American Veterinary Foundation as “America’s Favorite Veterinarian” in 2015. In 2018 she was awarded “Veterinarian of the Year” by the FVMA.

She lives in sunny Winter Haven, Florida with her husband, two teenage daughters and a menagerie of pets!

Bonnie Wright



  • All Creatures Great and Small!  Acupuncture at the Zoo

Dr. Bonnie Wright was born and raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She accomplished her DVM at Colorado State University and a residency in Anesthesia and Critical Patient Care at The University of California, Davis. She has lived in Colorado since 2001.

Dr. Wright is board certified in Veterinary Anesthesia and Analgesia. She has earned certificates in Medical Acupuncture, Veterinary Pain Practitioner, Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, Canine Rehabilitation Therapist and advanced training canine musculo-skeletal imaging.  She works and teaches in the areas of anesthesia, pain medicine, medical acupuncture, regenerative medicine and rehabilitation.

She has two adult sons, several wonderful dogs, cats and an unknown number of wild hogs. She spends time exercising and building her off-grid Hawaiian farm with her life partner.