What is Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is an adaption and extension of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) used to treat humans and has been used as a medical system in China to treat animals for thousands of years. Just as Western medicine, it continues to adapt and evolve, and current research on acupuncture and herbal medicine are beginning to shed light on the importance of integrative medicine and the profound benefits it could have on your pet.
Chinese Theory of Disease and Imbalance:
TCVM explains that health is the result of a harmonious balance of the body’s internal system, the outside world, and the flow of energy, or qi (pronounced “chi”2) in the body. Disease is said to be the consequence of the imbalance and disruption of these forces. By applying acupuncture to certain points, it is thought to improve the flow of qi and restoring the balance in one’s body, thereby improving health.
What is Acupuncture and How Does It Work?
Acupuncture is a treatment that involves the stimulation of points, typically achieved through the insertion of small hair-thinned needles into strategic parts of the body either on or under the skin. These acupuncture points typically lie along the body’s Meridian Channels where there is accumulation of nerve endings, small blood vessels, mast cells, and lymphatic vessels. Insertion of the needle triggers the nerves to send signals to the brain which then release neuro-hormones such as beta-endorphins, serotonin, and other neuro-transmitters. These hormones occur naturally in the body and help aid in pain relief, decrease inflammation, promote tissue healing, hormone regulation, and are responsible for making us feel happy as well as much more.
Conditions that acupuncture has been known to treat include, but are not limited to:
- Acute pain (Ex: Post-op pain & soft tissue pain)
- Chronic pain (EX: Back & neck pain, shoulder pain, arthritis)
- Neurologic conditions (EX: Paresis & paralysis)
- Reproductive issues
- Endocrine disorders (EX: Kidney disease, liver disease,
- Gastrointestinal disorders (EX: Diarrhea, constipation, IBD, megacolon)
- Mental disturbances (EX: Stress, anxiety, fear)
Acupuncture is considered a form of complementary therapy to conventional treatments, and it is likely most effective when implemented alongside Western Veterinary Medicine (WVM) and healthy lifestyle habits. TCVM is a holistic approach and treatments are generally non-invasive with few side effects. However, TCVM lacks the tools necessary to pinpoint illness to specific disease-causing agents like pathogenic bacteria or viruses. WVM utilizes the tools of modern science to diagnose disease with great precision, and Western drugs and procedures are both powerful and fast acting. The integration of these two systems complement each other, allowing one to compensate for the weaknesses of the other.
The initial evaluation and treatment may take up to 60 minutes and subsequent appointments usually take about 30 minutes. The number of treatments and how often will depend on the condition being treated and its severity.