Herbal Therapy and Acupuncture

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is a medical art that dates back at least 5000 years. It revolves around the diet, exercise, and environment of the animal. It also involves the use of acupuncture and Chinese medicinal herbs.The ancients evolved different strategies to explain life, death, disease, and the process of aging.

Herbal medicine has been successfully used to treat many illnesses in animals throughout the centuries and is basic to folk medicine in every culture. Wild animals are thought to instinctively select the proper herbs when ill. A system of cancer therapy, known as the Hoxsey Program was originated by a man who observed which herbs were eaten by animals under specific disease conditions.

TCVM herbal prescriptions are not available over the counter; they are prescribed the same as conventional pharmaceutical drugs. The herbs used in these prescriptions are from the same companies as those used to treat humans. They have been tested for purity and quality. TCVM herbs are safe and effective and can be used for long periods of time with minimal to no side-effects when prescribed and used appropriately.

Chinese herbs can be used to treat most conditions recognized by conventional medicine. They can be used alone or combined with other therapies for an enhanced effect. Often a TCVM herbal and a conventional prescription will be used together.

TCVM herbs are especially helpful in the treatment of chronic diseases, and diseases of the geriatric animal. They can be used to relieve pain, help improve and restore organ function, as well as strengthen and support the immune system. TCVM herbal prescriptions are specific for the individual patient and are directed at the root cause of an illness to correct it, and are not given to control symptoms alone.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. Acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid).

Is it Safe for My Pet?

Veterinary acupuncture is very safe when performed properly by a trained veterinarian. The needles are sterile and thin making the risk of infection extremely low. Other side effects are extremely rare. The majority of our veterinary patients tolerate treatment very well and quite often become relaxed and sleepy during their treatment.

This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for at least 3000 years to treat many human ailments. Acupuncture is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of maladies in every species of domestic and exotic animals. Acupuncture is not a cure-all, but can work very well when it is indicated.

How does Acupuncture works?

Acupuncture points are located in areas of concentrated nerve bundles and/or in close proximity to major blood vessels which themselves are surrounded by a rich nerve supply. Placing a needle at these points creates both local and systemic (widespread) effects. Local effects include: stimulation of nerve fibers inducing reactions that modulate pain signaling from the local area, dilation of blood vessels increasing blood supply to the area, and release of chemical substances that can work to repair damaged tissue. Stimulating a nerve at an acupuncture point will also affect the spinal cord segments from which the nerve originates. Often this will decrease the amount of pain signaling transmission that occurs through the local region. In some cases, other body structures whose nerve supply originates in this same spinal cord segment can be positively influenced. Finally, acupuncture has been demonstrated to cause increased serotonin and endorphin levels, creating a widespread reduction in pain sensation.

Is It Painful? Is It Safe?

The majority of our veterinary patients tolerate treatment very well and quite often become relaxed and sleepy during their treatment (most likely due to the release of serotonin and endorphins associated with acupuncture).

How Many Treatments Will My Pet Need?

It usually takes at least 3-4 acupuncture treatments before resolution or improvement of clinical signs. Acupuncture usually does not work alone. A combination of acupuncture techniques, herbal supplements, diet change and massage is necessary to achieve the desired goal.

Will My Pet Benefit From Acupuncture?

At Veterinary Medical Center, we believe that dogs and cats benefit from acupuncture similarly to the way humans benefit from this treatment. We would be pleased to discuss whether your dog or cat would benefit from acupuncture. Please give us a call to arrange an appointment.