Animals have improved the life of Stuart Garber, and he’s determined to return the favor.
When Garber moved to Santa Fe about two years ago, he began rewiring his career path, translating years of work as a chiropractor and homeopathic doctor into working with animals. A year ago, Garber launched MaxWell Pets — a line of natural remedies used to help heal a variety of common health issues in dogs.
He’s currently working to finalize a new line of formulas for horses intended to benefit the respiratory system, joints and hooves.
“I’ve always been passionate about animals,” said Garber, 63.
Health, wellness and animals have consistently been threads in Garber’s life. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in physics and chemistry. He graduated from chiropractic school in 1981 and said he was the first person in the U.S. to earn a Ph.D in homeopathic medicine in 1997.
Over the course of his 35-year-long journey in the medical field — as a chiropractor and founder of “the first major multidisciplinary holistic health center in Los Angeles” — Garber said he remained skeptical of conventional medicine and has tried finding more natural ways of healing.
“I think most drugs are terrible,” said Garber. “A lot of pharmaceuticals don’t actually do anything, and if they do, they have horrible side effects … sometimes worse than the problems they’re meant to solve.”
In 2004, after years of experimentation, Garber launched Dr. Garber’s Natural Solutions, a line of 11 formulas — for problems such as anxiety, sleep deprivation, thyroid issues and achy joints — intended to battle such issues with “no side effects.”
He said the medications are biotherapies — remedies created by natural substances, which target and stimulate certain cells of the body. They generally come in three forms: lithotherapy, made from minerals; organotherapy, made with small amounts of organ tissue; and gemmotherapy, which he said is “like stem cell therapy … very different from herbal therapy,” using parts of plants before they are fully developed.
Garber has given his dogs the same supplements, sometimes tinkering with formulas so they better address canine-specific issues.
He recalled when one of his spaniels was dealing with hypothyroid issues in the early 2000s. Despite being treated by a veterinarian, the dog wasn’t getting better. He decided to treat his pet with one of his Natural Solutions formulas.
Within 24 hours, he said, “the energy was back — everything.”
Pretty soon, most of Garber’s friends wanted in on these concoctions.
By the time Garber moved to Santa Fe in 2016, he said he “knew this stuff worked,” and given his passion for animals, he was ready to make animal health and wellness his new focus.
After launching MaxWell Pet last year — a brand named after the Garbers’ favorite hiking spot, Ernie Maxwell Trail in Idyllwild, Calif. — Garber was ready to expand the animal-focused brand to other critters.
Upon moving to New Mexico, the Garbers got two horses, Tennessee walkers named Desi and Ranse. As a horse owner living in Arroyo Hondo’s horse-loving community, Garber said he was inspired to start an equestrian line.
Today, he’s collaborating with two veterinarians in Santa Fe and one in Texas to finalize a line of remedies for horses. The main focus, he explained, is to address a hoof issue known as navicular syndrome or “equine heel pain syndrome.”
“When horses have foot issues, normally they have to be put down,” he said, adding his job right now is to “make sure that doesn’t happen.”
So far, Garber said he’s seen excellent results. And at least one veterinarian agrees.
“It looks very promising,” said Dr. Mark Meddleton from the Meddleton Equine Clinic in Corrales. While the study is still in its early stages, “across the board, owners and trainers have said [their horses] are significantly more comfortable and less lame within two weeks of putting them on the formula.”
One drug commonly used to treat equine heel issues, Meddleton explained, is an equivalent of ibuprofen, which can cause myriad negative consequences. What’s most encouraging, he added, is that Garber’s remedies don’t carry that same risk.
“If we can find something that makes a big difference without any negative side effects, that’s a significant advantage,” Meddleton said.
Though the newer branch of Garber’s business is mainly just word of mouth, he said he believes it is destined for success.
“[The business] is going to succeed if we get it into the paws and hooves of the animals who need it,” he said.
Garber, who grew up wanting to become a veterinarian, is in the final stages of becoming certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association. The accreditation is a way, he said, to get closer to his childhood dream.
That dream, he said “has come full circle, but in an even more rewarding way.”
MaxWell Pets’ dog formulas are available locally at Critters and Me, 1403 Agua Fría St., or online at www.maxwellpet.com. Some vets and stables in town are using dog and horse formulas in their practice, including Sunset Trails Ranch and Meddleton Equine Clinic. The horse formula is not yet available for purchase.