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Welcome to the Qi Party!! Introducing Dr. Elena McComas and Eastern Medicine

Hi everyone, it’s Dr. Cozzarelli writing to you through VCMC’s newest blog.  As many of you may be aware, we offer a wide range of therapies for our four legged companions, whether they are cats or dogs.  I am very fortunate to be able to work alongside Dr. Elena McComas, B.V.M.S. here at the Veterinary Center of Morris County. She not only practices modern medicine but also provides a unique outlook on care through the use of acupuncture and Eastern medicine.  It is with great pleasure from both myself and my kitty-cat Earl (who by the way adores Dr. McComas!) to welcome her to the VCMC. “Earl’s of Wisdom” is happy to invite you to the “Qi” Party, which will focus on the unique and fascinating world of Eastern medicine!

Thanks Dr. Cozzarelli and Earl! Welcome to the “Qi” Party! Growing up and in my professional life I have always asked the question, “Is there something else that can be done?” After I had graduated veterinary school and started practicing I often found myself asking this question. I turned to Eastern Medicine, also referred to as Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), for the answer.   TCVM is a system of medicine developed by ancient Chinese cultures.

Qi, pronounced “chee,” is what provides energy to all living beings and provides an important role in the overall health and well-being of an animal. Qi flows through the body in a pathway referred to as a meridian.  Imbalances to the flow of Qi in the body makes the body more susceptible to disease.

When doing an exam and coming up with a diagnosis, I take into account the temperament, sex, age, activity, and environment of an animal along with the animal’s particular disease signs.  Eastern medicine can be used to treat a variety of medical problems, including seizure disorders, allergies, intervertebral disc disease (“slipped discs”), arthritis, and many more.

The beautiful thing about Eastern Medicine is there are multiple ways to treat your pet. Many folks often wonder if their pet will sit still during acupuncture sessions.  You’d be surprised how many pets lay down and some even take a nap! There are some pets that don’t like having needles placed. Don’t let that discourage you though. There are other disciplines of Eastern Medicine that can be used. They are Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy and Tui-na.  More often than not, the best treatments often include a combination of all of these therapies.

Below is a list of the different Eastern Medicine Modalities.

1. Acupuncture is a treatment that involves the stimulation of points, achieved through the insertion of specialized needles into the body. Acupuncture points typically lie along the body’s Meridian Channels (pathways) along which Qi (energy) flows. There are different ways to stimulate an acupoint. Dry needling is the insertion of a needle into the point. Electro-acupuncture is the use of low voltage electrical currents passed through the needles to stimulate the point. Aquapuncture is the stimulation of a point by injection of a liquid (Vitamin B-12/ sterile saline/etc.)

2. Herbal Medicine utilizes herbal ingredients from different plants to have a medical effect.  They are used in combinations to treat particular disease patterns. Herbal formulas are administered orally in powder, tea pill, or capsule form. As with other medications, herbal therapy takes a while to build up in your pet’s system. You may not see the results of herbal therapy for up to two weeks from the starting date. Every pet is different, sometimes pets will respond more quickly to treatments, other times it can take longer to see full benefits.

3. Food Therapy is the use of diet to treat and prevent imbalance within the body. It utilizes knowledge of the energetics of food ingredients to tailor diets for individual animals.

4. Tui-na is a form of Chinese medical massage in which different manipulations (almost like a massage) are applied to acupoints to promote the circulation of Qi and correct imbalances within the organ systems.

I feel blessed that I can practice Integrative medicine.  This is a methodology of medicine that combines Western medicine (stethoscope, lab work, imaging studies such as X-ray and MRI) and TCVM/Eastern Medicine. TCVM is often viewed as a form of complementary therapy. It can be used as sole treatment or used in conjunction with Western Veterinary Medicine (WVM). Both TCVM and WVM have their own strengths and weaknesses.  TCVM is a holistic approach that is suited to assessing the well-being and treatments are generally non-invasive with few side effects. On the other hand, WVM utilizes the tools of modern science to diagnose disease with great precision, and Western drugs and procedures are powerful and fast acting. Integrative medicine allows for the strengths of one style to compensate for the weaknesses of the other.

I would love for you to contact me to discuss Eastern Medicine and the benefits it can offer you and your pet!

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