Alternative medicine works for pets, too

By Dr. Connie Clemons-Chevis

McClatchy Newspapers

A Parade Magazine article a few Sundays ago contained an article on alternative medical procedures that worked. One entity mentioned was acupuncture.

Acupuncture is one aspect of Traditional Chinese Medicine, or TCM, and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, or TCVM.

TCM was developed more than 3,000 years ago through observation of people and their surroundings. The observations and techniques were applied to animals and TCVM developed.

TCVM and TCM are still being used successfully today in China. Sometimes they are used in conjunction with Western medicine and sometimes Chinese medicine is used alone when everything else has failed.

In China, some hospitals have Western medicine on one side and traditional Chinese medicine on the other. Traditional Chinese medicine has been gaining recognition as another modality to treat people and animals and are gaining in popularity in the United States.

TCM and TCVM use several modalities to treat the patient. These include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, Tui-Na, food therapy and Qi-Gong or Tai Chi.

One basis of traditional Chinese medicine is the meridians which run along different parts of the body. Meridians are like highways that run along the body and carry energy or Qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi is constantly moving throughout the body.

If Qi is slowed down then stagnation or a blockage is formed. This can be manifested as pain is or a growth as in a tumor. Pain is the blockage of Qi and the greater the blockage the greater the pain. Along the meridians are special points called acupoints where Qi can be altered or influenced.

There are several methods to stimulate acupoints. Acupuncture is a way of stimulating the acupoints to influence Qi. Acupuncture uses needles. Acupuncture can also be done using vitamin B12, sterile water, air or gold implants. Sometimes electrodes are attached to the dry needles for a stronger or longer-lasting effect. The pet is not anesthetized and in most cases relaxes with the treatment. Any species of animal can be acupunctured. The main drawback will be whether the acupoints have been plotted. Another way of stimulating acupoints is using Tui-Na, where through massage the acupoints are stimulated.

Acupuncture has gained much publicity for its benefits in arthritis in humans and animals. Acupuncture has also been shown to be useful for treating dermatology problems, liver problems, tumors, endocrine problems such as diabetes and Cushing’s disease, kidney problems, heart problems, behavioral problems, seizures and many other problems.