Recently, there was an article in Carolina Tails on the use of acupuncture with pets. It featured Milo, my cat of fifteen years who recently passed away. It highlighted the magic of acupuncture and Chinese medicine with animals. Why do I say magic? Because when working with animals, they have no belief or expectation (placebo effect) around the treatment and its results. You just see the medicine in action, in its purest form. And, it is amazing and exciting. Having this positive experience with Milo wasn't my first.
One of my earliest experiences with Chinese medicine involved another cat of mine. His name with Sid. He was a black and brown tabby, who was always pushing his limits and getting into loads of trouble. When he was about 11 years old, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Because he was a fighter, I decided to allow Sid to undergo chemotherapy to increase his life span. The chemotherapy was supposed to extend his life approximately 6-8 months. And, if he remained comfortable during the process, we were going to go for it!
Personally, I had just started exploring Chinese medicine (both acupuncture and herbs) for myself. So, I thought…why not try it for Sid? I knew that is would likely be a nice complement to the chemotherapy and potentially help to aid his appetite, digestion, energy levels, and overall comfort with the entire chemotherapy process. So, we incorporated herbs and acupuncture into his regime. Sid’s oncologist supported the addition of Chinese medicine and we worked together for several months of treatment. Eventually, Sid entered remission. At the urging of his veterinarian, he stayed on his herbal and acupuncture regime for nearly two years. He recovered from the chemotherapy process and truly thrived. His entire health team acknowledged that Chinese medicine made a significant difference for him. What was only going to be six more months at the onset turned into two more happy years.
This was my first lesson on the magic of Chinese medicine. I witnessed its effectiveness in my cat, who was none the wiser and had no expectations around treatment. Seeing the magic of acupuncture and herbs in animals truly inspired me in my studies and inspired me to become a practitioner. And, I acknowledge that the magic is actually thousands of years of study and observation on the body, its relationship to nature and the seasons, and its relationship to the stars. I want to share this ancient knowledge with people and my patients. I want them to take a chance on Chinese medicine and believe in its potential to help with so many ailments and conditions. I want them to see the magic!
Thank you Sid and Milo for this wisdom and for everything.