What We Do
At the Animal Wellness Center of OC, we are passionate believers in improving and restoring the quality of life for our four-legged family members.
Our integrative and holistic therapies complement Western medicine, with a gentle, alternative approach to treatment. AWCOC offers pet parents a wide range of wellness options, educational opportunities, and resources to help you make an informed decision about caring for your pet. Our treatments are designed to bring comfort and tranquility to your pet, calming their anxiety, and giving you peace of mind. All pets go through a thorough evaluation by one of our seasoned veterinarians before any treatment program can begin.
Meet Our Team
Barb brings over 35 years’ experience with and knowledge of creative leadership to AWCOC. She has run successful global technology support and client service departments and senior projects in the financial services sector. Combined with her love for animals and proven track record in client services, opening a wellness center fulfills a lifelong dream of hers.
Barb’s journey to holistic therapies began when her chocolate lab Kona was diagnosed with Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome. Though Barb was distraught to learn the news, she credits Kona with leading her to the world of holistic therapies. Kona received chiropractic care and acupuncture, living for another 5 years before passing from natural causes.
“I have always been passionate about animals, and I wanted to create a wellness center where humans can bring their family members of the four-legged kind for holistic animal care and wellness.”
Lourdes brings a lifelong love for dogs and more than 30 years’ sales experience in the health care industry with her to AWCOC. Her commitment to the central tenets of good business led her to partner with long-time friend Barb West to build the Animal Wellness Center of OC, providing services and a facility that the Orange County community had long needed.
While her love for animals started as a very young girl, Lourdes’ desire to work with animals and provide comfort to their parents came about as a result of her beloved Stella, a Dogue De Bordeaux having to have TPLO surgery that later led to a diagnosis of bone cancer.
Through the Animal Wellness Center, she could bring the same kind of healing, inner peace, and calm that she had experienced to other pet parents.
“I couldn’t believe that there was not a rehabilitation facility in Orange County for my dog Stella. Fortunately, a good friend offered Stella the use of their pool. I searched and couldn’t believe this place I had created in my mind did not exist yet in Orange County.” Because of Stella’s condition she gave me the inspiration to open what is now the Animal Wellness Center of OC.
Dr.Tran is the primary veterinarian at AWCOC. Dr. Tran received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Class of 1997. Before that, Dr. Tran studied animal science and agricultural development at California Polytechnic State University, Pomona. In addition Dr. Tran completed her master’s degree in acupuncture and Oriental medicine (for human). After receiving training in veterinary acupuncture, Dr. Tran realized she had only scratched the surface of traditional Chinese medicine and hoping that the masters degree will give her a deeper understanding and help her decided what may be adapted to our veterinary patients. She returned to the university and finished the program in December 2021. Dr Tran’s family as of now is her 4 year old cat Quin. Dr.Tran enjoys reading and studying about medicine- especially acupuncture.
“We strive to provide the best possible client care and service. Only by limiting the number of patients that we see can we ensure that every family member that visits us gets the time, care, and attention they deserve.”
Dr. Katie Ellis received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Western University of Health Sciences after completing a degree in Veterinary Science and Chemistry from the University of Arizona. When her own dog Kaiah had to have two TPLO surgeries her interest in veterinary rehabilitation peaked. She first became certified in medical veterinary acupuncture for small animals and horses through CuraCore. Next was certification in canine rehabilitation, which she received from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Ellis’ favorite part of rehabilitation is the relationship that she builds between patients and their owners. Outside of the Animal Wellness Center, Dr. Ellis can be found with her golden trio, Kaiah, Keegan and Arthur or riding her horse, Sorcerer.
Dr. Debra Voulgaris is a native New Yorker who earned her Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and her Masters of Arts in Biological Anthropology. Dr. Debra then went to earn her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from Ross University in 2005, completing her final clinical year at Louisiana State University and then completing an anesthesia internship at the University of Georgia in 2006. While back in NY and working at a private practice she became certified in veterinary acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) in 2008. Dr. Voulgaris is also certified in Canine Rehabilitation (University of Tennessee), veterinary Tuina (Chi Institute) and medical ozone therapy (American Academy of Ozonotherapy) and is a graduate of the Pitcairn Institute of Veterinary Homeopathy. She has studied Food Therapy, nutrigenomics, Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM) and has professional interests in nutrition, cell function, oxygen utilization, mitochondrial function,metabolic flexibility and longevity. She has published peer reviewed articles and recently started a podcast called “Vet in the City Pet Health Chat”.
“In order to give my patients the best possible outcome, and maximize the healing potential, it is important that pet guardians understand the medical issues affecting their pets’ health.”
Dr. Block began his career as a chiropractor working on people over 35 years ago. In 2002, he became certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association (AVCA) and began his passion for working with animals. Dr. Block is a gifted animal chiropractor who has the ability of sensory touch and has worked many years with animals and understands how they communicate. He has been providing holistic animal chiropractic care for more than 23 years and serves as a chiropractic consultant to Cal Poly Pomona. Holistic chiropractic takes the whole being into account, including posture and relationship to the environment. It is about the ability to feel the flow of energy and finding the flow of obstacles that is hampering it. Once the trigger point is found Dr. Block uses a cold laser therapy device that clears out the tension causing the pain.
Dr.Block also developed a program called Aquapractic which takes the principles of animal chiropractic and performs them in the heated swimming pool exclusively offered here at the Animal Wellness Center of OC.
Barb & Lourdes remember with love the dogs that inspired them and led to the vision of AWCOC, Kona & Stella.
For 8 years Kona was a healthy chocolate Labrador Retriever. One day while playing ball she began to have difficulty seeing where it was thrown. A vet specialty group in Tustin performed an electroretinogram and determined she had developed Sudden Acquired Retinal Degeneration Syndrome.
The diagnosis was blindness. For Barb West, the news was devastating, but this health challenge taught her about the wonderful holistic therapies available to animals. This became, in part, her inspiration to design and develop a place where beloved pets can receive treatment.
Kona adapted to her blindness and enjoyed another 5 years before leaving this earth in July 2016.
Stella, a Dogue de Bordeaux was the inspiration for the Animal Wellness Center. She enriched the life of co-founder Lourdes Biancardi for 7 years.
Unfortunately, as happens to many pets, Stella became ill and had to have Tibial-plateau-leveling osteotomy (TPLO) surgery. Shortly after she was diagnosed with bone cancer.
During this difficult experience, Lourdes learned about alternative treatments and water therapy—this combination helped Stella battle the disease while continuing to provide a good quality of life in Stella’s remaining time on earth.
Stella passed away peacefully in February 2016, but she will be looking on as other pets receive alternative care to keep them well!