Traditional Chinese Medicine: Why Your Dog Needs It Now

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Ah, Traditional Chinese Medicine… But wait a minute, I hear you ask. Why is this Veterinarian talking about Chinese Medicine? Didn’t he spend 6 years in University learning to think that all that alternative stuff is junk and hocus-pocus? Well yes, I did think that once upon a time. And then one thing changed my mind. Make that two things – they are called skin allergy and osteoarthritis.

You see, these are probably the biggest money earners for Veterinary clinics everywhere – skin allergy in Summer and osteoarthritis in Winter. We treat a lot of it. In fact ‘treat’ is probably a bit of an overstatement. You see, most of what Veterinarians do is dispensing medications to control and relieve the symptoms. When I dispense anti-inflammatories for osteoarthritis or cortisone for skin allergy, I know two things for sure. One, is that it will make the dog better. The second is that it will predictably, inevitably recur. So in a sense I am not a ‘healer’, I am a medication dispenser.

Let me give you another example. Let’s say you have an aging dog. You go to the Vet and he tells you three things:

1. Do a blood test.
2. Come back for regular check ups.
3. Do a dental procedure.

That’s great. These things will probably help your dog. They will also make a good income for the Veterinary clinic. BUT, and here comes the punch line:

None of the treatment options the Vet will offer can address what caused the problem in the first place!

Let me say this again because this is very important:

None of the treatment options the Vet will offer can address what caused the problem in the first place!

You can put the dog on a chemically modified diet or scrape the plaque off his teeth but that’s not reversing the disease – it’s modifying the disease.

I have been having these thoughts for some time before deciding one day in 2007 to study Veterinary Chinese Medicine.

You see, Chinese Medicine doesn’t see the body in terms of ‘disease’. There isn’t really a concept of disease, only of ‘imbalance’. Everyone has imbalance. Weather you feel an occasional itch or a raging skin allergy, the nature of the imbalance is the same, only the severity is different. What Chinese Medicine aims at is correcting the imbalance so it doesn’t become the disease in the first place. This is achieved through the use of diet, exercise, acupuncture, acupressure etc. These address what the Chinese practitioners perceive as the cause of the imbalance, not just the symptoms.

That’s not to say that the Western approach is wrong. A course of antibiotics will do more to treat bacterial infection then a cart-full of herbs. And a broken leg is repaired best with orthopedic surgery. But when it comes to keeping the body healthy, the Western practitioner really doesn’t have much to offer.

This is why I now strongly believe that Chinese Therapy should be not a last-ditch hope but a component of every dog’s healthy life routine, no different from heartworm treatment or microchipping.

Over the next few weeks I plan to write in depth on this topic. Please stay tuned and feel free to contribute.

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About Dr Vadim Chelom

Dr Vadim Chelom is a Registered Veterinarian, a writer and an educator

One comment

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