Integrative Veterinary Medicine FAQs

What can be treated with Integrative Medicine? 

Most conditions can benefit from treatment with Integrative Medicine (the use of Western Veterinary Medicine with Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, Photobiomodulation [Light] Therapy, and other Complementary treatment modalities). 

A general overview of conditions that can be treated are: 




-Hip dysplasia


-Behavioral Issues/Anxiety (Storm Phobia, Separation Anxiety, and more)

-Neurologic Conditions


-Kidney Disease

-Heart Disease

-Respiratory Diseases

-Liver Disease

-Gastrointestinal Issues




-Vestibular Syndrome

-Many more

While this list is a general overview, if you have a concern with your pet that is not on the list, please don’t hesitate to reach out to see if we can be of help (it’s likely that we can!). Please use the form [here] to contact us; we can’t wait to help you and your pet! 


What is Traditional Chinese Medicine?

“Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), although relatively new to the Western world, is a medical system that has been used in China to treat animals for thousands of years.  It is an adaptation and extension of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) used to treat humans.  Speaking broadly, Chinese Medicine is a complete body of thought and practice grounded in Chinese Daoist philosophy.  Though it can be traced back over two millennia in recorded history, it, like any medical system, continues to evolve today, and current research on acupuncture and herbal medicine is beginning to shed light on its mechanism of action.”

“In Chinese Medicine theory, disease is understood as an imbalance in the body, and diagnosis proceeds through identifying the underlying “pattern” of disharmony. Pattern diagnosis differs from conventional Western medical diagnosis in that it takes into account not only disease signs but how these signs relate to the individual patient. Thus, TCVM practitioners will consider the temperament, sex, age, activity, and environment of an animal along with the animal’s particular disease signs. This approach stems from the belief that the body is an interconnected system of forces and functions so that disease and disharmony must be examined with respect to the whole patient.

– Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine


After a TCVM Pattern Diagnosis has been obtained, there are four branches of TCVM that can be used to treat patients. These are Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy, and Tui-na (Chinese Medical Massage). At HHHVS, we use primarily two branches of TCVM, Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine. 

What is Photobiomodulation [Light] Therapy?

Photobiomodulation (or PBMT) is the use of light-emitting diodes [LEDs] or low-level lasers to treat various conditions of the body. Broken down, Photo[Light] – Bio[Body] – Modulation[Changing] essentially means using light on the body to enact changes. 

PBMT is used to reduce pain and inflammation as well as to improve the function of individual cells. This results in faster healing and more comfortable patients. Soft tissue injuries, wounds, and osteoarthritis are prime candidates for PBMT, but it can be used equally well to maintain the function of different bodily systems that are affected by disease processes, such as kidney disease and liver disease. Anxiety is another condition that can be treated successfully with PBMT.

The wavelengths of light (red and near-infrared) that are used trigger a response on a cellular level. The specific wavelengths of light we use (about 600-950 nm) are appropriate for proper penetration into tissues. The proposed primary photoreceptor used is Cytochrome C oxidase. The impact of light on Cytochrome C oxidase ultimately results in an increased production of ATP (energy that drives processes in cells), which signals a variety of changes in the body that work to reduce inflammation and speed up healing time. A related branch of photomedicine that you may be familiar with is the use of light therapy to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 


Why use TCVM and PBMT with Western Veterinary Medicine?

TCVM, PBMT, and other complementary forms of veterinary medicine are used most successfully in conjunction with Western veterinary medicine (WVM). We call this Integrative Veterinary Medicine. The reason Integrative Veterinary Medicine is the best option to care for your pet is because WMV and TCVM/PBMT have complementary strengths that come together for a complete picture of your pet’s health and prevention and treatment of any conditions your pet may have or develop. 

WVM excels at getting a specific medical diagnosis and treating acute or emergent conditions where TCVM/PBMT can be less precise, but WMV might have a few gaps in options for treating chronic conditions, beyond supportive care. TCVM, PBMT, and other complementary options can be used to provide additional pain relief, support, treatment, and slowing of disease progression when WMV might not have any additional options. At HHHVS, we strive to work closely with your regular, family veterinarian. This results in the complete care of your pet to ensure that your pet can live their best life and have many years of fun and enjoyment with you. 

Services Available

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine/Photobiomodulation Therapy Consultations

After obtaining a thorough medical history, the appearance of your pet’s tongue, eyes, pulse quality, limbs, and general attitude and constitution will be observed.
A basic Western physical exam will also be performed.
This information, along with any information from your family veterinarian, will be used to determine a Chinese Veterinary Pattern Diagnosis.

After diagnosis is obtained, there will be a discussion of helpful treatment options and an opportunity to ask questions.
Remember, even if your pet’s primary problem has been resolved or you have a young pet, it is a good idea to do seasonal or yearly appointments to head off any issues that may arise before they become serious.


Very small needles are placed at specific acupuncture points to treat different conditions.
Needles are left in place for about 10 to 30 minutes.
Each acupuncture point treats one or more aspects of the body, and several different points are combined to treat a specific Chinese Veterinary Pattern or Western Diagnosis.
Many animals are actually quite tolerant of acupuncture treatments, much to the surprise of their pet parents.
If your animal is one of the few that won’t tolerate acupuncture needles, we can try other treatment modalities.
There are several different forms of acupuncture:
-Dry Needling: Small, solid needles are used to stimulate the points.
-Aquapuncture: Saline, vitamin B12, or both are injected into an acupuncture point using a hypodermic needle.
-Electro-Acupuncture: An electrical current is hooked up to some of the needles to increase stimulation.

Photobiomodulation (Light/Laser) Therapy [PBMT] 

Photobiomodulation Therapy, also referred to as Low Level Light Therapy (LLLT), is a critical component in the branch of medicine called photomedicine. You may already be aware of another well known application of photomedicine: light therapy boxes used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

PBMT is the application of red or near-infrared wavelength light, produced by medical grade equipment, to injuries,wounds, arthritis, anxiety, or a variety of disease processes, such as kidney or liver disease. PBMT can speed healing and reduce pain and inflammation. We use both LEDs and Class 3B laser light. This laser is different from high powered lasers used for surgery. Because the laser is low powered, little heat is generated and the treatment is painless. A handheld device that looks similar to a shower head is placed directly against the skin/fur and delivers an application of light for 30 seconds to one minute. As with acupuncture, multiple points and areas of the body are treated.

Herbal Medicine

Each formula is composed of several herbs that are combined to treat various conditions; these herbs are specifically chosen for their medicinal and energetic properties.
Most often, they are in pill or powder form that you will give once to twice daily for a specified period of time.
One way to think about herbal medicines is that they are a form of daily acupuncture.
In China, herbal medicines are actually used more frequently than acupuncture.

Contact Dr. Jessi Turner for more information!