Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is a medical system that has been used in China for thousands of years. In the US it has been used to treat animals since the 1970’s. Today acupuncture (one part of TCVM) has shown to be an effective treatment for many diseases both acute and chronic and really has shown to be very effective in treating pain and neurologic conditions thus making it a main stream treatment. TCVM includes using acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Tui Na (Chinese massage) and food therapy to treat the body to promote the body to heal itself.
Veterinarians can learn acupuncture and other TCVM modalities at one of the veterinary schools that offer programs – Colorado State University, Tufts University or the University of Florida; or they can take a certification course offered by IVAS or the Chi Institute. The Chi Institute offers the most comprehensive programs for TCVM including all of the modalities and advanced courses up to and including a Masters Degree in TCVM offered in conjunction with South China Agricultural University. For this reason I choose the Chi Institute for my certification. I have considered pursuing the Master Degree program.
TCVM has changed considerably since its inception in China back when it was primarily used to treat horses and farm animals. Today it is used for those animals and also dogs, cats, and birds. Much has been learned about acupuncture and TCVM through the study and treatments of these companion animals. Here in the US TCVM is used many times, as it is in my practice, in conjunction with other treatments such as chiropractic, western herbs, nutritional supplementation and rehabilitation therapies (laser, electrical stimulation, and exercise). It is exciting to be part of a medical field that although has been around for 3000-4000 years is changing and expanding due to scientific advances and research and more owners being accepting of the treatments. I look forward to many years of treating my patients with TCVM.
The basic premise of TCVM is rebalancing the body to allow it to heal itself. A diseased body becomes out of balance. In TCVM some of the cause of disease is because the body is out of balance and in other cases the body becomes out of balance by an external force, such as a traumatic accident. In either case TCVM can be used hand in hand with western allopathic medicine to help the body recover from disease or trauma. They come from the disease from opposite aspects and can meet in the middle due to a common cause – to heal the patient. Western medicine is great at treating acute problems TCVM is great at treating chronic problems that western medicine has difficulty in curing. TCVM has little to no side effects. Western medicine is far superior in diagnosing due to the technological advances. An integrative approach works wonderfully for the patient because you can get the best of both worlds with superior diagnostics and treatment that has less side effects. Treatment that can approach a disease from both aspects that of treating the disease and that of helping the body heal.
One of my first cases in using TCVM was Bear – Canine Case of the Week: Bear and Cervical IVDD I hope I have many more successful cases such as Bear. He is still a patient and is doing well.