Veterinary General

53217 Hayes
Shelby Township, MI 48315



Introduction and History

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) includes treatments involving acupuncture, herbal medicine, meditation, and exercises.  Veterinarians who study TCM apply the use of acupuncture and herbals to their patients.  The first known use of acupuncture on animals was on an elephant suffering from a stomach ailment over 3,500 years ago.  The first acupuncture needles were sharp rocks tapped into the skin with rocks.  TCM began to slowly worked its way from use in working animals to use to companion animals.

Today, traditional Chinese medicine has been rediscovered by pet owners and veterinarians in conjunction with Western medicine. Conventional medications can lose their effectiveness in time resulting in changing medication or increasing dosages.  TCM can help reduce the doses of conventional side effects, and decreasing their associated side effects.  The American Veterinarian Medical Association has recognized acupuncture as a valid veterinary alternative, and the World Health Organization considers acupuncture an effective medical treatment. Veterinarians have since formed the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncturists.

Acupuncture is used to treat a variety of conditions and disorders, not just pain.  It is used to treat pain from disc disease, hip dyplasia and arthritis, skin problems including allergies and lick granulomas, chronic renal failure, congestive heart failure, neurological problems, and more.  It has also been effective in improving athletic performance.

How Acupuncture Works:

From an Eastern perspective:

The Chinese discovered the health of the body depends on the flow of Qi (pronounced chee) and the balance of Yin and Yang (polar opposite forms of Qi).  Pain, bacteria, viruses, etc., can cause the flow of Qi to slow, stop, or the Yin and Yang get out of balance.  Acupuncture unblocks the flow of Qi in the body through nerve channels, also called meridian or energy paths, in the body.  The ultimate goal to restore homeostasis by bringing the body back into balance.

From a Western Perspective:

Acupuncture works primarily through the central nervous system affecting the musculoskeletal, hormonal and cardiovascular systems.  Acupuncture increases circulation and causes the release of many neurotransmitters and neurohormones, some of which are endorphins, the bodies' natural pain-killing hormone.  It relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves, and stimulates the body's defense systems.  It is not a panacea (cure-all), but works with conventional medicine to improve quality of life.

 The Five Personalities

In TCM there are five personalities types based on the five elements.  When designing a herbal or acupuncture plan we look at your pet's personality type to determine appropriate treatments.  TCM can promote one element, or calm another, so care must be taken to keep the elements in balance.  Your pet may have a single dominant personality, or a mix of the elements.

The Fire Personality

Fire personalities are friendly, playful, love to be petted, like to be the center of attention, can be noisy and sensitive.  Fires feel the world is a party thrown just for them!  When the fire element gets out of balance we can see dogs that become hyperactive, high strung, and even describes as crazy.  Diseases associated with fire personalities include cardiovascular disorders and tongue ulcers.

The Earth Personality

Earth personalities tend to be laid back, easy going, friendly, sweet, slow moving, and tolerant.  Earth types tend to be care givers, and referred to as happy mama earths.  When there is too much earth, these pets may be prone to excessive worry, and obesity.  Health concerns include GI disorders including poor appetites, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation.


The Metal Personality

Metal personalities are aloof, independent, quiet, and likes rules and order.  Metal dogs tend to be great working dogs, and will put the job above affection.  When unbalanced metal types can be sad or appear to be grieving.  Associated disorders include upper respiratory conditions include infections, asthma, and coughs.

The Water Personality

Water  personalities can be described as timid, shy, fearful and may even snap out of fear.  Water pets tend to bond very closely to their families and weary of outsiders.  Too much water can lead to withdrawal and premature aging.  Urinary and kidney concerns are common in water personalities.   

The Wood Personality

Wood personalities tend to be dominant, aggressive, competitive and fearless.  Working police dogs can fall into the wood category, they charge into situations with confidence.  Too much wood in a pet can lead to irritability and they can appear angry.  Associated medical disorders include disorders involving the ligaments, tendons, liver, gall bladder, and eyes. 

The Treatment

 Is it painful? How will my pet react?

Acupuncture is performed with sterilized thin stainless sterile needles.  There is occasionally a brief moment of sensitivity as the needle penetrates the skin in certain sensitive areas.  Once the needles are in place, most animals relax and remain calm during the treatment.  

Is it safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies utilized if practiced by a competent acupuncturist.  Side effects are rare.  Occasionally an animal?s condition may deteriorate temporarily before improving.   Because acupuncture can balance the bodies own system of healing and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely, if ever, develop.

How often and for how long does one treat?

Treatments may last from 10 seconds to 30 minutes depending upon the condition treated and the method employed.  There are many ways of stimulating acupuncture points including needles, electro acupuncture, as well as laser acupuncture.   Some simple ailments or injuries can be treated once, but more complex problems take longer to resolve. Weekly treatments are not unusual and acute cases can take up to three treatments per week.  Treatments are then tapered off to whatever is necessary to maintain the patient's improvement.  Normally patients are seen every two to six months for continued maintenance therapy.