Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Your Pet

We at the Vet Centre like to offer our clients and their pets; our patients, the best care we can offer. This approach can be very multi-faceted including the use of complimentary therapies to treat a variety of illness, diseases and even behaviour. We have a few different options that we like to use including, but not limited to, Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM.

What is Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)?
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a system of treatment which includes acupuncture, nutrition, breathing techniques, exercise techniques (Qigong), specialised massage called Tui Na, and TCM herbs. Although acupuncture has been used to treat animals for thousands of years, the use of TCM herbs in veterinary medicine only really started in the last century. In TCM health is viewed as harmony and balance between a person and their environment, and illness is viewed as disharmony. A TCM vet will prescribe herbs based on a system of pattern differentiation. We will conduct an holistic consultation and traditionally, patients are evaluated by applying the four examinations which comprise: Asking (taking a detailed history), Touching, Listening and Smelling, and Looking. Additional information is gathered using Tongue and Pulse diagnosis. Herbal formulae are then prescribed based on the TCM diagnosis, and also which will best help the patient’s signs and symptoms.TCM herbal medicine began as an extension of nutrition. A single herb was added to a dish, to enhance its effect on the energy of the body. This has evolved to the hundreds of TCM herbal formulae used today. In animals, acupuncture and Chinese herbs work very well together. Acupuncture provides a more immediate benefit and herbs provide longer term home treatment between visits.

Can TCM herbs be combined with conventional medications?
Herbs can be used safely with most medications, but we advise that you inform the vet of any your pet is taking.

How long will my pet be on the herbs?
Herbs are gentler than medications, and may take longer to appear to work. Depending upon the condition for which they are prescribed, improvements may take two weeks, or longer. For acute problems a short course is all that may be required. For more chronic conditions, herbs may be prescribed for several months to help the body achieve homeostasis and wellness. Over time the formula may need to change, so regular rechecks with the vet will be required. Sometimes a small dose of herbs will need to be continued. Herbs may be combined with diet changes, lifestyle adjustments, and acupuncture treatments to enhance their benefits.

What can TCM herbs be used to treat?
TCM herbs are used in dogs and cats to treat many conditions. These may include, among others: skin conditions such as allergies or infections, gastrointestinal conditions such as vomiting, diarrhoea, inflammatory bowel disease or constipation, kidney disease, cystitis or other bladder problems, urinary incontinence, liver problems, heart problems, respiratory problems eg asthma or bronchitis, painful osteoarthritis, anxiety, hormone imbalances and behavioural problems, geriatric health issues and immune imbalances.TCM herbs are also used as part of a cancer support plan, and can be used with or without chemotherapy.