About

Dr. Magda Szyrmer, VMD


I am a holistic veterinarian, writer, free spirit, and life long explorer.

For 10 years, I worked as a holistic and integrative vet in the United States – in New Jersey, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Each city and clinic brought with it new adventures, learning, and wonderful animals and pet owners!

Who is Dr. Magda

I was born in Warsaw, Poland (hence, the somewhat unusual spelling of my full name (Magdalena Szyrmer). My parents emigrated to the United States when I was 5 months old, and I grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Animals were always the center of my world.

When my parents wouldn’t allow me to get a pet, I would collect and care for anything that allowed me to get closer to animals. And so, my first pet was a waterbug named Kristin, who I “rescued” at our summer campground. Sadly, Kristin only lived for 3 days, but let me assure you that she received the best care and attention that I, and the local 6 year olds, could provide.

As I grew older, my parents finally acquiesced, and allowed us to have pets. We had everything from rabbits, fish, cats, dogs, birds, and squirrels. There was nothing that brought me more joy than caring for our animals and injured wildlife.

I grew up, without knowing it, in the philosophy of integrative medicine. My parents’ European background, meant that we were often using alternative therapies as well as conventional treatments at home.

My mother would give my siblings and I homeopathic treatments for calming when we were rowdy and wouldn’t sleep at night. We took Polish herbal treatments for upset stomachs. When I had pneumonia as a child, I took antibiotics. I never realized that there was a difference between these treatments. Medicine was medicine. If it worked, it worked, no matter what the philosophy behind it.

As I grew older, I developed many different interests, from music, international travel, learning new languages, and an insatiable curiosity about the world.

I attended Princeton University for my undergraduate education, and later University of Pennsylvania for veterinary school.

During vet school, I developed some health challenges of my own that showed me the limitations of conventional medicine. While invaluable for emergency and life-threatening situations, traditional medicine had few solutions for more chronic and less defined health challenges. However, this experience also opened my world to natural, holistic and alternative medicine for my own healing. With a combination of diet changes and alternative medicine treatments, my own health returned and I have never looked back.

Over the years, I have taken coursework in Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, Homeopathy, Chinese and Western Herbs, Nutrition, Essential Oils, Flower Essences and many more. I am constantly learning and improving what I have to offer my patients, and it is unlikely that this learning process will ever stop. Animals have been some of my greatest teachers of what is possible. They are always surprising me and teaching me about the deeper mysteries that lie beneath the surface of things.

Why the name Holistika? 

When I was choosing a name for my veterinary services, I wanted something that conveyed the idea of holistic or natural. I also wanted something original and not just a combination of words that already exists.

I am originally from Poland. In Polish, there are many words that have the ending “ka” in order to denote the feminine. And so, I decided to create my own word: Holistika. It still has the word “holistic” in it, but also adds a bit of foreign and feminine flair to it.

And so, the name of my veterinary practice: Holistika Veterinary, was born.

Cassidy Abrahamson, RVT

I graduated from Platt College with a degree in Veterinary Technology and I am currently attending Unity College online, working towards a degree in Animal Health and Behavior. My ultimate goal is to attend vet school, and I am very fortunate to have Dr. Magda’s full support.
 
I have always had an interest in holistic medicine and after graduating, I worked at an integrative vet practice, then a veterinary rehabilitation speciality clinic before joining Dr. Magda to help start Holistika Veterinary as it’s Practice Manager and Registered Veterinary Technician. I am certified in Natural Pet Health Care, Preventive Health Care for the Small Animal Patient, and as a Laser Safety Officer.  I am currently working on my Compassion Fatigue Professional Certification.

Throughout high school I volunteered as a junior docent at the Los Angeles Zoo; during college I did volunteer work with a wildlife rehab organization, eventually becoming a Licensed Satellite Wildlife Rehabilitator. Though I started out mainly rehabbing birds, my “specialty” has become America’s only marsupial, the Virginia Opossum.  I also volunteered with Best Friends Animal Society as a part of their TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release) program and as a foster mom with Kitten Rescue of Los Angeles. I still keep in touch with many of the families that adopted my foster kitties over the years. Their updates are a heartwarming source of pride and joy for me.
 
I have two cats and a dog; all rescues. Penelope (abandoned in a parking lot along with her four kittens), Phoenix (who is a traumatic brain injury and coma survivor), and Serenity, a one-eyed, poodle mix. When I’m not working, studying or volunteering, I enjoy; reading, game nights with friends and rock-climbing adventures with my boyfriend.

What Makes Working With Holistika Veterinary Different

First and foremost, we spend more time getting to know our pet patients, understanding their lifestyle, and finding the best treatment options.

Our main focus is to optimize health. Many animals are “stable” on their current medication and diet, but they aren’t thriving. We want to look for ways to change that, to go from surviving to thriving. Our goal is to help alleviate their pain and improve their quality of life. As well as preventative health for our patients of all ages to increase their quality of life. While every patient will be different, this will always be our guiding principle.

As a holistic veterinary practice, we will always favor starting with holistic treatments; however, in our practice, conventional treatments will be implemented as necessary to ensure your pet’s health and happiness. This will never be a one-size fits all approach. While over the years, we have found certain treatments, supplements, and diets to work more consistently than others (and those will be our starting point), every animal and situation is unique. For this reason, you as the pet parent are an active participant in your pet’s care. You have your own unique understanding of your pet and intuitive connection. Together, we will come up with a plan and strategy that works for you, your pet and personal situation.