I am currently doing my advanced certificate in veterinary chinese herbal medicine with CIVT. Why would I do this? I’ve taken on the new barn for the practice, I have two small children, I’ve got the wonderful acupuncture, laser therapy, rehabilitation and sports medicines skills in my toolbox as well as the usual veterinary skills so why add to the workload? It’s a good question. Herbal medicine slots in nicely with most of the treatments above, but particularly the acupuncture. With Chinese acupuncture, (and remember, chinese medicine is very much metaphorical, using stories to pass information on, so don’t get too waylaid with the next bit that sounds crackers) we can move Qi and Blood and the other Fundamental Substances, we can nourish the organs that make these Fundamental substances but we can’t put anything into the body if the body is deficient (most patients are, especially if they are elderly). The beauty of herbs is that we can move things around but also put more of these Fundamental Substances into the body. This means that we can get a faster response, and in many cases increase the time between treatments.
Chinese herbal medicine is a little different to western herbal medicine. With the latter, it is a case of looking at the clinical picture of the patient from a western perspective and then prescribing certain individual herbs to treat that condition. Sometimes several individual herbs are given to a patient. With chinese herbal medicine, a chinese pattern diagnosis is made and this pattern is then treated with a herbal formula - this consists of multiple herbs. It is rare to use individual herbs, although sometimes formulas are modified by the addition of specific herbs to make the formula bespoke for the pattern nd conditions that the patient is exhibiting.
I have been using herbal formulas with patients for a little while now and I have been mighty impressed with the results thus far. I’ve had dogs with chronic diarrhoea (more than a year) resolve within a few days/couple of weeks of being on the herbs, I’ve had dogs with cognitive dysfunction improve to the point that owners are no longer being kept up all night with incessant barking. I’ve had dogs with arthritis become more comfortable.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that because herbs are ‘natural’ that they are safe - this is simply not the case and the mistake that many people make. As my teacher once said, ‘acupuncture is pretty forgiving but herbs - well ya gotta know!’ Hence the training - it will take two years to reach advanced certification but if I’m going to do something I want to do it to the best of my ability! And this means that I will be able to prescribe the herbal formulas safely.
if you would like more information, please do get in touch. Having the barn means that I now stock a large number of herbal formulas and am able to dispense these readily. If I don’t have the appropriate formula or it needs tweaking, I can get the herbs in within a few days (currently I am obtaining my herbs from Natuurapotheek in The Netherlands).