Meet the 2018 FVMA Veterinarian of the Year, Dr. Mitsie Vargas


To be a hero it’s generally understood that a quality characteristic would be facing fears and the consequent bravery necessary for saving people, and in this case, beloved pets. Perhaps, though, it doesn’t take more than imagination to be a hero. For veterinarian Dr. Mitsie Vargas, a quote she likes by Albert Einstein states, “Logic will take you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere,” could be said to be the fuel for her passionate veterinary work that has been truly heroic.

Dr. Vargas has been a resident of Winter Haven since 1996, and founded the AAHA accredited Orchid Springs Animal Hospital. Revolutionarily, her dedication to her work goes deeper than a few decades, but spanning back to ancient Eastern acupuncture practices for healing in animals. This practice is based on what is termed as energy healing, using fine needles precisely placed on the body, from the Traditional Chinese form and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Its use in relieving pain and treating chronic conditions is efficient for the care of pets either alone or alongside traditional Western pet treatments.

“The goal of an acupuncture treatment is to restore balance to the body. In balance there is no pain or disease, just health. Using the principle that we are energy and that our energy travels in orderly manner, we can select specific points in your pet’s body to heal,” says Dr. Vargas.

Healing and making the best possible plan of health is important as the goal and mission for Dr. Vargas. Her passionate work as a veterinarian and love of animals is reflective of her community involvement. Only recently was Dr. Vargas named the 2018 Veterinarian of the Year by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA).

“The title of Veterinarian of the Year is a great honor because it means that my 25 years of steady service to my clients, patients, community, and to my profession are being appreciated. It just feels good to know I’ve had some impact in the betterment of my profession,” she states.

Being acknowledged by her peers and community through this award connects Dr. Vargas even more deeply to Winter Haven and her neighbors. “I’m blessed to have great support in my community and feel very driven to continue to reward that by returning the favor and finding ways to help out. Whether by organizing hurricane relief efforts, participating in Junior League outreach events or mentoring youth and encouraging future veterinarians, I enjoy doing my part to help in every way I can,” she shares.

Residually, the effects from being awarded the FVMA are encouragement and a drive to persevere. There’s so much work she has done, and will not cease to do, in the past twenty-two years. Such as her aid in helping pets in Puerto Rico after hurricane Maria struck, to her hopeful 501c3 “We Love Pet” fund that aims to “never turn anyone away” by helping with an owner’s pet medical needs.

“The FVMA award media attention makes me feel empowered to continue to be a force of change and good works. I have a passion for acupuncture and holistic medicine and plan to continue to raise awareness about giving sick pets a chance to try this healing modality. I teach it to veterinarians in the U.S. and internationally but I know I still need to reach most of the pet owners.”

There is exciting work and new things on the horizon for Dr. Vargas and OSAH in 2019, and in her local and global community involvement. She recently acquired her Master’s Degree in TCVM and will be a guest speaker in Shanghai for the international TCVM conference. Her continuing involvement with aiding the start to a course of veterinary acupuncture in Peru will also continue in 2019.

Additionally, she will also begin working on her second book on the subject of acupuncture, while proceeding in her work with her practice, all while having her daughter in college.

The fullness and fruitfulness of Dr. Vargas’ hard work, imagination, and her love of animals is always balanced and reflected by the loving and involved community of her home and family. “It’s very sweet to go to Publix or to downtown Winter Haven and meet clients everywhere,” she describes, “it feels like being home. I open my house to acupuncture interns from all over the world and I’m proud to show off our beautiful town to them.”

Suffice it to say, though Dr. Mitise Vargas has an imaginative, though scientific and realistic, vision for owner’s to have healthy beloved pets, it is grounded in attainable goals and results. As far as advice goes for pet owners, Dr. Vargas has this to share, “Balance is the key to health, it means keeping your pets in good physical shape in order to extend their longevity. It means preventing disease by taking your pet regularly to the veterinarian and by feeding them quality food.” Truly practical advice from a truly talented and heroic veterinarian.

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