our modalities


dog_head_MERIDIANSAcupuncture has been practiced in both animal and human being care for thousands of years in China. The earliest veterinary acupuncture book, Bo Le Zhen Jing, (Boles Canon of Veterinary Acupuncture) is believed to have been written by Dr. Bo Le in the Qin-mu-gong period, (659 BC to 621 BC).

Since then, acupuncture was and is still a central part of the mainstream veterinary medical system in China. Veterinary acupuncture utilizes both the ancient theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the western observations of physiological response and correlation of effect, in the selection of acupuncture points to treat.


© Photo by Gabriella Marks

Acupuncture has been used to promote balance in the bodys total energy system and ability to heal. In all animals there are precise locations on or near the surface of the body known as acupuncture points; these points, when stimulated, may produce changes in the bodys internal organs and functions.

Along with the increased blood flow, stimulation of acupuncture points restores the flow of Qi or Chi, the vital energy that TCM identifies as sustaining the body. When Qi is interrupted the blockage of energy may result in pain or illness. Acupuncture works to resolve these blockages and free the flow of Qi, enabling the body to heal itself. Acupuncture can employ the use of dry needles, electro stimulation, moxa, and cold laser integrated with the massage of specific tissue areas or the gentle structural manipulation of osteopathy.

Only licensed veterinarians are eligible to practice acupuncture in most states in the US.


Cat+Jars_2Xsize.2Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) is a major branch of Traditional Veterinary Chinese Medicine (TVCM). Although most people associate TCM with acupuncture, the majority of casesin Chinese clinics are treated with herbs, either with acupuncture or alone, rather than just with acupuncture. In the States, more and more TCM doctors are incorporating herbs in their practice. Chinese Herbal Medicine therapies have their origin with TCM, dating back 4,000 years. Herbs today are prepared using modern technology, but are still guided by the historical wisdom underlying TCM. In a CHM practice, herbs are prescribed to correct the imbalance underlying a disease pattern and to promote the body’s ability to heal itself. Each herb has a different effect on the body and can fall under a number of classifications, such as: warming, cooling, sour, or bitter and can affect a variety of organs including: the liver, lungs, or heart. Chinese herbal formulas are made from a combination of single-herb ingredients to treat specific patterns of disease.

The increasing popularity of CHM lies in the fact that it provides an all-natural treatment option and is generally safe when prescribed correctly. An extensive body of clinical research has shown CHM to be extremely effective in treating chronic veterinary medical issues in the fields of: gastroenterology, cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, reproduction, oncology, and sports injuries, as well, respiratory and behavioral issues. In addition, CHM can increase the quality of life for geriatric patients, especially those diagnosed with terminal cancer, since it assists the body’s ability to reduce tumor size when chemotherapy is not an option. CHM can be combined with acupuncture and/or Western Medicine to enhance clinical results. (source: The Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine)


There is truth in the old saying: food is the medicine you take every day. The healing power of food is central to Chinese Medicine, where food therapy can be utilized alone or more often, in conjunction with other modalities to treat disease patterns. Food therapy is one of the four major branches of TCVM, alongside acupuncture, herbal medicine and Tui-na.

The art and science of tailoring diet plans for individual patients considers their unique inborn tendencies, age, species, geographical location, personality, and current disharmony or disease process. Food ingredients are selected based on their energetic properties, including temperature and taste. Recipes are developed according to TCVM theory, (Yin-Yang, Five Elements, Eight Principles and Zang-Fu Physiology and Pathology), and are typically classified into the following categories:

¢ Health promotion and prevention: to improve health and prevent seasonal and climate-related problems

¢ Disease Treatment: to treat clinical conditions, including autoimmune diseases, skin problems and immunodeficiency

¢ Adjunct Therapy: to compliment primary treatments, (acupuncture, herbs or Western Medicine), for diseases such as urinary stones and crystals, otitis, UTI, IBD, CHF, cancer, renal and liver failure

Like other TCVM modalities, the ultimate goal of food therapy is to restore and maintain balance in the body. However, given its nature, the effects of food therapy are slower-acting than modalities like acupuncture and herbal medicine. Food therapy is a mode of treatment that be used safely throughout a patients lifetime, with virtually no side effects. (source: The Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine)


Dr. Holly Johnson is certified in Equine and Canine Osteopathy.

Osteopathy is a modality and philosophy of healthcare that sees an inherent relationship between the organs and the musculoskeletal system of the body, blending chiropractic, cranial sacral and gentle range of motion therapy techniques to aid in removing restrictions to an animals optimal health and strength. Osteopaths treat the whole individual, rather than just the disease, and believe strongly in the healing power of the body.

Osteopathy shares many of the same goals as traditional medicine and recognizes that physical, nutritional and chemical factors influence ones state of health; as well, that a range of medicines and surgery may also be necessary in the treatment of disease.

Pain is the chief reason patients seek musculoskeletal treatment. Pain is a symptom, not a disease by itself. Of critical importance is to diagnose the root cause of the pain. Brain or spinal cord disease, cancers and many other conditions may be underlying the symptom. Once it is clear that a patients pain is originating from the musculoskeletal system, treatment that includes manipulation is appropriate.

Osteopathic manipulation focuses on returning joints to their normal configuration, mostly those of the vertebrae and ribs, which may be only the first step in treating these disorders. There was a reason for the initial pain-developing event. It may have been a fall, a stumble or mild impact. Or, there may be a postural misalignment, such as a shorter leg, a limp or a stretched ligament that permits the joint to slip back into dysfunction after an adjustment. As well, if the pain has been present for any length of time, there will also be muscle deterioration to address.

Osteopathy was founded in the 1890s by Dr. Andrew Taylor, who believed the primacy of the musculoskeletal system was central to health. Similar to Chiropractic, the original theory behind both approaches presumes that energy flowing through the nervous system is influenced by the supporting structure that encases and protects it”the skull and vertebral column. (source: Medical Dictionary)