Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine,TCVM, uses a combination of acupuncture, food therapy and herbals to treat or assist in treating chronic conditions such as allergies, arthritis, spinal cord disease, seizures, gastrointestinal conditions and cancer. It is also beneficial in cases where traditional Western medicine has only been somewhat effective or cannot be used due to adverse side effects. The added benefit is that there are little to no side effects of these treatments so they may be used in combination with a traditional Western treatment plan.Determining and resolving the underlying reasons why illness is occurring is one of the aspects of TCVM’s approach that can reduce the cumulative effect of chronic illness and help pets have a better overall quality of life. Since most pets’ health problems are diagnosed once illness has become very advanced, it is vital to strive to prevent disease from occurring and address early warning signs.

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine gauge needles into specific points along the meridians of the body. It moves Chi and realigns the body’s energy to promote healing and reduce pain. Results are usually seen with 48 hrs but the longer the condition has been present the longer it takes to balance the body. Typically a series of 6 weekly or biweekly treatments will determine if acupuncture will benefit the patient.

In TCVM,food is medicine. Dr. Galina incorporates Food Therapy into all of her Acupuncture appointments.Specific foods may be used to help balance the body to aid in healing while treating specific conditions with acupuncture and herbal therapy. Many foods have different thermal properties. That is, some foods are warming and some are cooling to the body. Depending on the animal’s diagnosis, a diet with warming or cooling properties may be prescribed as part of the therapy. Dietary considerations for specific medical conditions are designed according to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles.

Herbal therapy uses plants as medicine and depending on your pets condition and history may be used in combination with Acupuncture and Food Therapy. Herbs are plants that contain ingredients with active therapeutic properties. These active ingredients may be present in the whole plant or only in a specific part. Other parts of the same plant, or other plants in the same genus, may have no activity or may in fact be toxic.An herb may be used in various forms, including teas, granular extracts (Chinese medicine), fresh herbs, dried herbs, oils or tinctures. It may be commercially available as a loose herb, capsule, tablet, liquid extract, lotion or cream. Herbal therapy is the use of herbs, either as single products or in combination with other herbs, for medicinal purposes.Herbal approaches have been developed for the management of almost all conditions that currently challenge conventional veterinary medicine, including epilepsy, chronic kidney failure, chronic lameness, hormonal disorders, behavioral disorders, allergic skin disease, liver failure, and inflammatory bowel disease. Other herbs may simply support the normal function of healthy organs by acting as “tonics”.


Just a few general actions of plants confirmed by clinical and laboratory research include the support of normal function of the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system; reduced inflammation and improved blood flow through damaged tissues; normalization of smooth muscle contraction; promotion of the differentiation, aging and death of tumor cells, and elimination of pain. In many cases, herbal medicine can eliminate the need for chronic medications. The components of herbal formulas may act synergistically to give greater positive effects than would be possible when used individually. Such synergistic interactions between herb constituents have been repeatedly demonstrated in laboratory research on both single herbs and herbal formulas.Herbal therapy should never be administered without a proper veterinary diagnosis. The success of herbal treatment will vary according to the age of the patient, prior treatment history and diagnosis. Since the science of herbology hasn’t caught up with herbal practice at this time, even scientifically trained practitioners must rely upon clinical experience and traditional knowledge when deciding on an herbal prescription. When high quality herbs from reputable sources are used, dosages are more consistent and the outcomes are more predictable.

What Can Veterinary Acupuncture Do for My Dog or Cat?

  • Veterinary acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s own pain relieving and anti-inflammatory substances.
  • Relaxation of muscles at the site of needle insertion and more distant locations body is achieved with veterinary acupuncture treatment, creating both a local and generalized pain relieving effect.
  • Veterinary acupuncture improves tissue blood flow, oxygenation, and removal of metabolic wastes and toxins.
  • Unlike prescription and over the counter pain medications, veterinary acupuncture lacks potential adverse side effects for your pet’s internal organs.
  • Your pet’s medications or supplements will not adversely interact with veterinary acupuncture treatment; therefore it can safely be used to treat a variety of illnesses.

How Does Veterinary Acupuncture Work?

The goal of acupuncture is to promote the body to heal itself. From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective, veterinary acupuncture encourages healing by correcting energy imbalances in the body. Acupuncture enhances blood circulation, nervous system stimulation, and the release of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving hormones.

Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into body tissue where nerve bundles and blood vessels come together. These collections of nervous and vascular tissue are termed acupuncture points, which course over all aspects of the body’s surface on meridians (energy channels). The meridians permit a cycle of energy to occur throughout the entire body over the course of the day’s 24 hours.