I am looking forward to incorporating a new treatment modality into my veterinary practice. I recently completed a veterinary acupuncture certification class and I have already found that looking at cases from both sides (Eastern and Western) requires some flexibility and open-mindedness on my part. I have spent the last 15 years looking at medical cases the same way. Treat the problem at hand in an effort to solve the current illness. This is the way of western medicine.
Eastern medicine tells us to look at the patient overall. The eastern practitioner will evaluate the patient’s constitution – what is a patient’s innate strengths and weaknesses? The practitioner will ask how is my patient doing overall, how is his or her energy balance? The questions that I found difficult to answer with western information now seem to tell me more about my patient and his or her constitution. For example, “why does my cat like to sleep on the radiator all the time?”, “why does my dog like ice cubes in her water?”, or “why does my dog get skin lesions on certain regions of her body and not others?”. These were questions that I found didn’t always make sense. With Eastern medicine, many of these quandaries actually help paint a more elaborate picture of the patient and his or her weaknesses or strengths. Knowing these strengths and weaknesses, help the integrative practitioner treat the medical problems he or she sees.
I am glad to have both Western and Chinese medicine to help me work with my cases because I am finding if I am looking at all the symptoms and signs that my patients are showing me, I find out more information that helps me treat them overall. Things that I used to disregard, may actually help me put the pieces of the clinical puzzle together.
I hope that my clients will be open to experiencing this new integrative approach (conventional medicine meets complimentary medicine). I find the prospect exciting and hope to help more of my patients especially in areas where conventional medicine sometimes fails. It is in these cases where the opportunity to try something new has the potential for being the most enlightening and exciting. Take geriatric medicine and pain management, western medicine offers medications to treat pain but what do we do when the pain medication alone isn’t enough? Currently one option pet owners are faced with is euthanasia. Acupuncture has had good success with pain management and is an option for these animals and their owners.