Integrative Medicine

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine or TCVM draws upon the skills, techniques and knowledge developed over thousands of years and practiced in several oriental countries. Although the diagnostic techniques are quite different from western style medicine, the treatments have evolved from thousands of years of careful observations and recorded results. Over the last 50 years, practitioners of these ancient techniques have modified them in such a manner that they are very complimentary to traditional western treatments. Holistic modalities, such as acupuncture and herbal medicine, are used to balance the “whole” animal, so that your friend can heal and maintain the highest possible quality of life. What makes holistic treatments different from more traditional care is that they are customized to the whole pet, not just to the disease. Holistic treatments are more sensitive to imbalance in the animal and focus on strengthening (tonyfying) or reducing those imbalances.

The techniques used in holistic medicine are gentle and minimally invasive. Knowing your pet’s western diagnosis is an important part of using holistic medicine to aid in their current therapy and can be pivotal in helping your pet reach a healthy state when western medicine is simply not working. During appointments, we focus on the patient’s well-being and stress reduction. As part of ongoing treatment or a general wellness plan, our holistic specialists provide the following services:

  • Acupuncture
  • Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Homeopathic Nutritional counseling

We work with clients to teach them how to help their companion animal maintain good health. Holistic medicine can be used to address most conditions, including the following:

  • Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis and hip/elbow dysplasia
  • Recovery after an injury or a surgery
  • Chronic degenerative diseases
  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Asthma
  • Gastro-intestinal problems, such as irritable bowel disorder
  • Kidney, liver and other organ failures
  • Pancreatitis
  • Depressed immune system function
  • Behavioral issues, such as fear and aggression
  • Anxiety, insomnia and stress
  • Skin allergies and other dermatologic conditions


Veterinary Referral Associates offers Veterinary Acupuncture Services for your pet. According to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine theory, life force (Qi) flows through the body via 14 invisible channels known as meridians, regulating all physical and mental processes. Opposing forces within the body (yin and yang), must be balanced to keep Qi flowing properly. The meridians run deep to the internal organs and along lines in the body’s more superficial tissues, surfacing at some 360 places identified as acupuncture points. Research has shown that these meridians strongly correlate to neurologic pathways. Therefore, stimulating these points is said to balance and restore the flow of Qi as well as stimulating local nerve channels. Acupuncture point stimulation has been shown to modulate signals within the nervous system and even cause endorphin release.

Stimulation of the points is performed by inserting thin, smooth, sterile needles. The depth of insertion, type of stimulation, and duration of treatment vary according to the disease or the condition being treated. Veterinary acupuncturists may use needles alone, needles with electrical stimulation, or stimulation using a specific type of laser.

Research studies on veterinary acupuncture are limited, but numerous human studies have demonstrated that acupuncture is an effective treatment option for many disorders. Veterinary acupuncture is most commonly used for the treatment of pain, arthritis, and neurologic disorders. However, acupuncture may also be used in conjunction with traditional Western medicine to help pets with chronic kidney disease, chronic digestive disturbances (i.e. inflammatory bowel disease), dry eye, epilepsy, and more.

Although acupuncture is often considered in cases of joint or generalized pain, it should be considered for many other conditions and in particular when western medicine has failed to bring about the desired result. Although acupuncture and herbal medicines are quite powerful, to appreciate their effect one should be prepared to try several treatments before considering the results.