Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) has been used in China for thousands of years. TCVM differs from Western Medicine as it focuses on imbalances of the body and energy flows. Although different from Western Medicine, TCVM has the same treatment goals of promoting health and preventing disease.
Not all conditions can be treated with TCVM alone. An integrative approach of both Western Medicine and TCVM can offer your pet the best of both worlds. A complete physical exam and a complete TCVM exam and history will be needed in order to determine if your pet is eligible for TCVM. A TCVM exam will evaluate the tongue, pulses, skin/hair coat, temperature of the ears/paws and checking back-shu points which are specific points on the body that are correlated with an organ system.
Chronic conditions such as musculoskeletal conditions (arthritis, hip dysplasia), dermatologic issues, behavioral issues and gastrointestinal conditions are just a few examples of what types of conditions can be treated using TCVM. .
There are four branches of TCVM: acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Tui-Na and Food Therapy.
Acupuncture is the placement of small needles in specific points along the meridians or channels throughout the body. The needle placement promotes movement of energy or “Qi” throughout the body and the needle placement releases beta endorphins for pain relief. Most patients tolerate the needle placement well and it is a very safe treatment with no side effects.
Acupuncture sessions typically last 20-30 minutes long. Depending on your pet’s condition, there are different types of acupuncture that can be performed:
-Dry needle acupuncture which involves the placement of needles
-Aqua-acupuncture is the injection of saline or B12 into acupoints
-Electroacupuncture is the use of electrical current to needles placed on acupoints
-Moxibustion is the use of burning moxa (mugwort) for patients with yang deficient patterns (cold conditions)
Chinese Herbal Medicine
The use of herbal medicine was first recorded in China approximately 4,000 years ago. The use of herbal medicine in veterinary medicine has been used for the past 2,000 years in China. Herbal medicine is commonly used in conjunction with acupuncture. Chinese herbal medicines are classified into temperature categories. Since TCVM classifies disease into temperature categories an herbal medication based temperature will be used to bring the patient back into balance. For example, a “hot disease” will be treated using a “cold” herbal medicine.
Tui-na is a manual therapy used to treat and prevent disease. It is most comparable to chiropractic work in the Western world. Tui-na is used to regulate meridians and promote circulation of Qi and Blood. Tui-na can benefit patients with musculoskeletal conditions, disc disease, osteoarthritis and Wei Syndrome which is a general weakness of the whole body.
In China food is considered medicine and has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Similar to herbal medicine, food has energetic properties. Specific foods can be used to prevent and treat illness along with maintaining health issues using an individualized patient approach. Using a TCVM diagnosis a diet can be formulated to help bring the body back into balance.
Food therapy will be discussed during your pet’s initial TCVM evaluation. If you are interested in switching to a home made diet based on your pet’s specific needs using a TCVM diagnosis then we are able to provide you with some recipes. Three different recipes will be provided using alternate protein sources for each recipe. A supplement will be recommended in order to balance the diet for your pet to ensure your pet is receiving all of their essential nutrient requirements. Your comfort level with cooking and use of certain ingredients will be discussed during your appointment in order to provide you with the best diet options for both you and your pet.
Initial TCVM Evaluation:
Includes a Western medical exam/history and a TCVM exam/history. Once we have gathered adequate exams on your pet, a treatment plan moving forward using TCVM and Western medicine (if needed) will be discussed. Additional Western medicine diagnostics may be needed if not already completed (such as lab work and x-rays). Use of all TCVM modalities will be discussed during appointment. It is important to note that we can not always cure disease using TCVM but we can use it to help manage a disease.
TCVM Follow Up Exams:
All follow up exams will include an acupuncture session, discussion of your patient’s progress, a TCVM exam and a continued treatment plan. Not all patients will tolerate acupuncture – in this situation acupuncture will be omitted and other TCVM modalities will be utilized.
Any herbal recommendations will be an additional cost and not covered in the cost of the initial TCVM evaluation of follow-up exams.