Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used in China for over 3500 years to maintain health and wellness in both humans and animals.
While conventional Western medicine and Chinese medicine address the same physical disorders, they do so in very different ways. The doctor of Western medicine treats specific diseases or disorders, whereas the doctor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) attempts to identify and address the underlying cause of the disease. The goal of veterinary TCM is to restore the pet to a state of balance so they are able to remain healthy.
TCM includes herbs, acupuncture, food therapy, and body work. Herbal therapy and acupuncture are typically used together, as the combined effects are greater than using one of them alone.
Chinese herbs can be used to treat most conditions recognized by conventional medicine. They can be used alone or in combination with other therapies or conventional prescriptions for an enhanced effect.
TCM herbs are especially helpful in the treatment of chronic diseases and conditions common to geriatric animals. They can be used to relieve pain, help improve and restore organ function, as well as strengthen and support the immune system. TCM herbal prescriptions are specific for the individual patient and are used to correct the root cause of an illness, not just to control the symptoms.
Our doctors have extensive training and experience in veterinary traditional Chinese medicine.
Veterinary Western Herbal Medicine
Western herbal medicine is similar to TCM in that it also examines the patient for imbalances and seeks to bring the body back into a state of balanced health. Treatment is aimed at correcting the imbalance through proper lifestyle, diet and herbal therapy. Many of the herbs used in WHM can be found in both TCM and Ayurvedic medicine.
The oldest known use of plants as a form of treatment dates back to prehistoric times, when herbs were discovered in graves over 60,000 years old. Ayurveda, developed in India over 5000 years ago, is considered to be the very first medical system known to man. Chinese medicine is likely the next system of medicine that was developed 3500 years ago.
During the 17th and 18th century, there was increased use of chemical medicine as well as heroic medicine. Unlike the name suggests, heroic medicine involved using materials such as animal feces and burnt animal matter in medicines. It also utilized procedures such as bloodletting and the administration of dangerous chemicals such as mercury, antimony, and arsenic.
Thankfully, there was a rebellion against the use of these barbaric procedures during the 1800’s and herbal medicine experienced a revival.
Unfortunately, during the 20th century, due to pressure from the American Medical Association and drug companies, chemical drugs began to once again dominate the health industry. People felt that herbal medicine was no longer needed because all chemicals could be synthesized by extracting them from the plant.
Fortunately, since the 1960’s herbal medicine has experienced a resurgence in popularity, due primarily to its safety and cost. At Sarasota Animal Medical Center, we find that herbal medicine can often treat conditions where conventional medicine has failed.