Farewell Wishes: Dr. Stefan Knep

This has been a year of significant change for individuals and businesses across many industries, and St Francis is no exception.  It is with deep sadness that we announce the departure of Dr. Stefan Knep from St Francis Animal Hospital.  After 15 years, he was presented with an opportunity to explore a new chapter of his career at Camden Pet Hospital.  We will all miss the exceptional care he provided to his patients and clients, his compassion, and his good humor.  His final day at St Francis will be December 28th, and he will begin practicing at Camden Pet Hospital in North Minneapolis in January.  He wanted to share the following with you.

To all the wonderful patients and their owners at St. Francis Animal Hospital!

I have been a part of St. Francis Animal Hospital for the last 15 years and I have truly loved my time serving this community as part of an outstanding team.

So it is not easy for me to announce that I will be leaving St. Francis Animal Hospital at the end of December.  I will be joining the team at Camden Pet Hospital in North Minneapolis.

I want to thank all of you for trusting me with the care of your beloved, furry family members over all these years.  I so appreciate the bonds and friendships we formed during this time.  I feel honored that you allowed me to get to know you, your families and your pets.  You let me become a part of your life.  The knowledge that I contributed a little to the well being of your pets is one of the most satisfying personal and professional experiences that I could have ever imagined.

I also want to thank my incredible friends and colleagues at St. Francis.  Being part of this team has been an experience that I will treasure forever.  I know the doctors, technicians and assistants at the clinic will continue to provide exceptional care to all patients and will allow for a seamless transition of service.

So, enjoy life, love your animals, maybe even take up motorcycling (remember, dogs enjoy the superior squirrel hunting abilities that riding in a sidecar offers)…., follow soccer (no it is not boring).  I will do my best to stay in contact with the St. Francis community.

Dr. Stefan Knep

We understand your sadness with this news, and we share those feelings with you.  I have worked side by side with Dr. Knep throughout the formative years of my veterinary career.  He has been a mentor, colleague, and friend to all of us.  He will be missed greatly.

I know that there has been so much uncertainty and change throughout this year in your own lives, your personal careers, your kids’ day care and schools, and in the businesses that you care about.  This has been a challenging time.  In the midst of all of this uncertainty, I want to take this opportunity to assure each of you that our St Francis team has an unwavering commitment to continue to provide the exceptional care that you have known and loved throughout the years.  Dr. Patricia Novak, Dr. Jessica Lewis, and Dr. Megan Schommer, along with myself and our incredible team of veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and client service representatives, are here for you and your loved ones.  As difficult as change is, we look forward to this opportunity to invite another exceptional veterinarian to join our family.  We have a long history of choosing the very best doctors to carry on the St Francis legacy.

If you have any questions that we can answer for you during this time or you wish to transfer care to Camden Pet Hospital, please reach out to us via email (group@stfrancisabh.com) or phone (651-645-2808). 


Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT, CTPEP

Practice Owner

St Francis Animal Hospital / St Francis Integrative Services

Employee Spotlight: Debranique Pitter

Each month, we will spotlight one of our team members in order of years of service at St Francis Animal Hospital. 

Debranique joined St Francis Animal Hospital in 2018 as a Veterinary Assistant.  She is currently in the undergraduate program for animal science at the University of Minnesota.  She has a passion for companion animals and exotic species.  In the future, she hopes to establish her own conservation sanctuaries and animal shelters.  Our St Francis patients love her, and look to her for treats, snuggles, or in the case of our acupuncture patients, a good lap to fall asleep in.  Outside of work and school, her hobbies include working out, traveling, scary movie marathons, and spending time with Sarah, her 15 year old Jack Russell Terrier.

Why do you love being a veterinary assistant?

I love being a veterinary assistant because it gives me the opportunity to be a part of a team that gives a voice to those who don’t have one.  Animals mean so much to me and being able to help them gives me a purpose.

Why do you love working at St Francis Animal Hospital?

I love St Francis Animal Hospital for the genuine passion of the practice.  Every doctor, technician, and assistant is as passionate about patient care behind the scenes as they are in the exam rooms with the clients.  Our compassionate and friendly team and the commitment to always put the animals’ needs first are the things that truly set St Francis apart from others.

Acupuncture: It’s Not Just For Pain

We often think of acupuncture as an option to manage pain.  However, it is an excellent treatment modality for any chronic disease including kidney disease, epilepsy or other seizure disorders, neurological disease, anxiety, inflammatory bowel disease, or allergies.

Peanut, an 11 year old Chihuahua, had struggled with chronic gastrointestinal (GI) issues for years.  Stress or changes in his routine would often lead to diarrhea, bloody stool, or vomiting.  After varying success with diet and medication trials, we elected to try acupuncture.  After just a few sessions, Peanut was a different dog!  He now has less anxiety and rarely has any flare ups of his GI issues, even without his medications.  From Peanut’s standpoint, he just loves his spa days and usually takes the opportunity to fall asleep while his needles are in.

Acupuncture has been practiced in China in both humans and animals for thousands of years.  It is one of the branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM).  Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine also includes herbal medicine, food therapy, and Tui-na, a type of Chinese massage. 

Acupuncture involves the insertion of small, thin, sterile needles into specific points in the body to cause a therapeutic change to occur.  These points are called acupoints.  Over thousands of years, we have created a map of 359 transpositional acupoints and 77 classical acupoints in humans and animals; we routinely use 173 acupoints in veterinary medicine.  Research shows that these points are located in areas with a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells/immune cells, small blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels.  Stimulation of these points leads to a cascade of change in the body including an increase in blood flow to the area, an increase in local immune response, and release of beta-endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters to reduce pain.  These acupoints are located along meridians or channels that interact with specific internal organs.

For thousands of years, Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) has utilized a different language to explain the physiology of the body.  In TCVM, Qi is defined at the life force or vital energy of the body.  Qi flows through the meridians.  If there is a blockage of Qi or a deficiency of Qi, there are physiological effects on the body.  In addition, everything in the world, including our bodies, has a balance of Yin and Yang.  If something upsets that balance, disease occurs.  The goal of acupuncture and the other branches of TCVM is to restore the balance in the body.  Because of this, acupuncture can prove to be very beneficial for many conditions including those affecting our internal organs like the GI tract.

If you have questions about acupuncture for your pet, please reach out to us at group@stfrancisabh.com.  We are happy to send you our introductory email with additional information about how this treatment modality may be beneficial for your individual pet.

Written by: Jennifer Blair, DVM, CVA, CVFT, CTPEP

News Briefs

Staff Meeting: December 9th

We will be closed for a staff meeting on Wednesday December 9th from 12:30 to 2:00 pm.


There is a shortage of Vetmedin.  If your dog is on Vetmedin, please request your refills at least one week in advance.  We are required to send an individual request for every patient to the distributor before they will release a bottle.  This process takes longer than if we were able to have it stocked on our shelves.  Unfortunately, the price of this medication has also increased significantly.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

November: National Hospice & Palliative Care Month

November is National Hospice & Palliative Care Month.  We have many tools to help pets during the end of their lives, whether due to the natural aging process or due to a terminal disease condition.  Dr. Patricia Novak is certified in Animal Hospice and Palliative Care through the International Association for Animal Hospice & Palliative Care and Dr. Jennifer Blair is certified in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Palliative and End-Of-Life Care through the Chi University.  We are here to help you make this stage of your pets’ lives joyful and comfortable.