What is Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM)

Chinese Medicine is a complete body of thought and practice grounded in Chinese Daoist philosophy. In TCVM, disease is understood as an imbalance in the body. Diagnosis proceeds through identifying and treating the underlying “pattern” of imbalance/disharmony. Pattern diagnosis differs from conventional Western medicine in that it takes into account not only disease signs in your dog or cat, but how these signs relate to the individual patient. Temperament, sex, age, activity, and environment of a pet along with the animal’s particular disease signs will be evaluated in a TCVM exam by the certified veterinarian. Comprehensive TCVM treatment combines the use of acupuncture, food therapy, and herbal supplements.

What is Acupuncture and how does it work?

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) theory holds that Qi- the body’s vital energy-flows throughout the body along energy channels called meridians. Each meridian is associated with a specific internal organ and reflects the physiological and pathological conditions of that organ. The meridians connect the exterior of the pet’s body with the interior. Imbalances in these meridians are disharmonies of the body, which can lead to disease if not corrected. Acupuncture uses needles to clear meridian pathways for Qi flow. As Qi moves freely, the body seeks balance, or homeostasis. Needles placed in these points enhance blood circulation, nervous system stimulation, and the release of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving hormones. Our veterinarian has successfully treated a multitude of diseases and conditions in dogs and cats using acupuncture.

What can I expect with a TCVM appointment?

Your pet will receive their first acupuncture treatment during an initial hour long TVCM Consultation exam with the veterinarian. A TCVM treatment plan (including acupuncture protocol) will be formulated based on exam findings. A customized food therapy plan and herbal supplements will also be created for your dog or cat. A typical acupuncture treatment lasts 15-20 minutes. Stimulation of an individual acupoint can take as little as a few seconds or can last up to 60 minutes depending on the technique used and the condition treated. Types of acupuncture include acupressure, standard acupuncture, aqua-acupuncture, electro-acupuncture and moxibustion. The mode of treatment will be explained during your consultation and determined by the veterinarian based on individual patient patterns and diagnosis. Typically, most animals need acupuncture sessions at least once weekly for 4-6 treatments as a minimum.

Does Acupuncture hurt?

No. In fact, most dogs and cats pay little or no attention to the needles being placed. Often times pets get sleepy during treatment, especially during electro acupuncture treatment. Initially the animal may react to the stimulation of the needle, especially at the first acupuncture session because it is a foreign sensation. Each additional acupuncture session seems to be more and more accepted by the patient, with less discomfort each time.

What is Food Therapy?

Food, air and water are essential for all life. In TCVM, energy (or Qi) is derived from these essential compounds. Consumption of bad food, air and water eventually lead to poor body functions which result in alterations of health, organ damage, decreased or deficient Qi, and invasion of external pathogens such as bacteria. Eating the wrong foods can lead to alterations in health by upsetting the energy balance and leading to stagnation of the body’s normal flow of Qi. For these reasons, eating the appropriate foods can help maintain balance and can even restore health. Food therapy is the use of diet to treat and prevent imbalances within the body. The veterinarian utilizes knowledge of the energy of food ingredients to tailor diets for individual pets.

What is Herbal Therapy?

Herbal Therapy is the use of natural herbal combinations or formulas to treat particular disease patterns. Herbal formulas are administered orally and are typically given in powder, tea pills or capsule forms. These formulas complement the use of food therapy and acupuncture for patients.

What is Integrative Medicine?

The use of both western (traditional) and eastern (Chinese) veterinary medicine is called Integrative medicine. By integrating western and TCVM approaches, a veterinarian can achieve a more thorough evaluation of a pet’s entire body to appropriately suggest the most effective combination of prevention and treatment.