Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine As Adjunctive Therapy

Background on Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine

The importance of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) as an adjunctive form of  care cannot be underestimated. The use of this ancient practice, which is thousands of years old, often improves recoveries in comparison to conventional therapies alone. Making sure that all of the supportive means are in place for a fast recovery will allow the body to heal faster without resistance from ongoing imbalances in the body.

Interestingly, TCVM therapies are often based on the patterns of disease (Bian zheng). For example, in Western medicine symptomatic treatment of diarrhea is often treated the same no matter what the cause; metronidazole is commonly prescribed. In Chinese medicine, the diarrhea is treated differently based on the individual’s disease pattern. Diarrhea caused by infection with a high fever in a young pet is treated with different acupuncture points and herbs than an older pet that has loose stools caused by inflammatory bowel syndrome even though both suffer with diarrhea.

What Does Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Consist of?

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine consists of five branches. These branches include Chinese herbs, diet and nutrition, a massage technique called Tui-na, acupuncture and Qi Gong. They are often used in combination to achieve better health. This type of medicine focuses on correcting imbalances to help support the pet. Using these “tools” together in an integrative way, with or without, conventional therapy supports a pet’s ability to recover.

Nutrition and diet choice may also affect recovery outcome and is used in TCVM. According to TCVM, certain foods have cooling, warming, and healing properties. The choice of the correct food helps to put the body back in balance and again is more supportive of healing.

Tui-na is a form of massage that utilizes acupressure in its application. It is used as another method to promote good health and to treat disease. Another branch of TCVM called Qi-gong, focuses on the caregiver. Qi-gong is a form of energy exercise based on meditation to reduce stress. This reduction in stress allows for better focus thus helping with recoveries.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine

Acupuncture is also used in TCVM to achieve healing and better health. Recent studies document the importance of acupuncture in helping with recoveries in dogs with disc disease. In 2010, a study by Joaquim published in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine Association showed that 40 dogs with severe neurological signs secondary to disc disease, responded better to electroacupuncture compared to surgery. There was 78% improvement with electroacupuncture versus decompressive surgery at a 40% success rate!