Monday, April 26, 2010

When Modern Medicine Doesn't Have The Answer: TCVM

It is truly amazing what modern veterinary medicine can offer, whether it's in diagnostics or treatment. Ongoing research continuously brings forth awesome new breakthroughs, such as the stem cell regenerative therapy. I am fascinated by veterinary science.

I do find, however, that the constant pressure to present fast measurable results often leads to a short-sighted symptom-cure approach. The science isn't to be blamed alone though. In our fast-paced performance-driven society everybody wants quick and easy solutions to everything.

Unfortunately the formula cure the symptom – cure the disease isn't always true. What we perceive as a symptom is often your dog's body's attempt to deal with a systemic problem or imbalance, and treating the symptom without dealing with the underlying cause can be counter-productive at best.

I am not saying that modern veterinary medicine fails to recognize that. However, often the root of the problem lies deeper than the modern science will look.

Modern or traditional?

We never heard of TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) until recently when I was trying to research possible cause and best treatment for Jasmine's progressive panting/pacing episodes. I took the issue to a dog forum and that's where TCVM was brought to my attention. Motivated to find a solution for my precious Jasmine, and a curious person that I am, I decided to learn more about it.

After a battery of diagnostic tests, modern medicine offered two possible diagnoses for Jasmine's issues. It was believed that her episodes were either being caused by pain due to structural abnormalities in her neck (solution – long term pain medications), or by her irritable bowel syndrome (solution – steroids). Needless to say, we didn't much like either idea.

We brought up the idea of bringing in reinforcements from an alternative modality to our vet. He is really amazing and he puts the interest of his patients above all else. He was quite skeptical and voiced his concerns, however, he kept an open mind and agreed to go along with the idea.

The TCVM consultation did indeed offer what we were looking for – a diagnosis that comes with a treatment! While in Jasmine's case this is all still work in progress, I feel that by combining modern medicine with  the TCVM we are finally getting somewhere.

TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine)

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine principles are based on theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) which have developed over a period of over 3,500 years. You probably heard about acupuncture, well, this is where acupuncture comes from. These principles developed as a result of careful study and observation of the interactions within the body as well as the relationship to the outside environment. It is a completely different way of thinking, so brace yourself.

The TCVM looks at systematic imbalances as a root of disease and aims to work with the body by correcting these imbalances. While modern medicine is very effective treating trauma and acute conditions, TCVM offers invaluable help when dealing with chronic issues.

TCVM treatment is very safe and can be effective in treatment of arthritis, seizures and other systemic problems.

The main tools of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine are food and herbal therapies, and acupuncture. That by itself sounds better to me than drugs any day. Don't you think?

The Chi Institute

Before you dismiss the idea of TCVM, ponder this. These are licensed veterinarians who are integrating TCVM with the conventional veterinary medical care so their patients can benefit from advantages of both systems. They recognize the limitations of modern veterinary medicine and the benefit that the global approach the TCVM can offer. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine makes connections which modern medicine fails to see.

Does your dog frequently suffer from seemingly unrelated issues? Maybe they are all connected to a systemic imbalance. Is your dog on a number of drugs and showing little signs of improvement? Maybe it's time to think outside the box.

To be continued ….


The Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine

Four Paws, Five Directions: The Theory Behind The Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
What To Expect During A Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Exam 
Healing You Dog With Food: More To Food Than Nutritional Value? 
Acupuncture In Not Voodoo


  1. I will be very interested to hear more about Jasmine fares with TCVM. The primary vet practice I use has had an acupuncturist on staff for many years, but I have not yet used her services.

  2. I do know a dog who is being treated for arthritis with acupuncture only with great results.

    After Jasmine's hard-to-heal muscle injury she was treated solely with acupuncture, cold laser and hydrotherapy.

    I know dogs who suffered from seizures. After conventional drugs failed to bring results, they are now successfully treated with TCVM.

    Jasmine's case is a bit more complex, because she's had so many problems. However, positive results are seen, without the use of big gun drugs such as NSAIDs or steroids. Since her imbalance was developing for a long time, I don't expect it to be reversed over night.

    Jasmine is an extremely picky eater - just the fact that she accepts the food with the herbs in it (they have strong smell and flavor) means something. Animals often instinctively know what is good for them.

    I will keep you updated.

  3. my rough collie has collie nose have tried everything I really dont want to put her on steroids please can you help

  4. Hi. What have you tried? Everything isn't very detailed :-)

    Did you try eliminating exposure to ultraviolet rays? Did you try talking to a TCVM vet?