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:
-Behavioral Issues/Anxiety (Storm Phobia, Separation Anxiety, and 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.