<? echo $title; ?>Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is offered at our Pet Townsend Veterinary Clinic and is a special focus of Dr. Abbie. TCVM modalities are especially useful in managing the following conditions:

  • Chronic pain and arthritis
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Seizures
  • Cancer management and inoperable tumors
  • Prevention of cancer recurrence after surgery
  • Chronic gastrointestinal disease (diarrhea, anorexia, constipation, weight loss)
  • Behaviorial issues and anxiety
  • Diseases of the immune system


Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body to alter various biochemical and physiologic conditions and help the body heal itself. Used successfully for nearly 4,000 years on animals and human beings, it is one of a variety of therapies that Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital and Pet Townsend Veterinary Clinic offers to support your pet's wellness.

Traditional Chinese Medicine, the basis of acupuncture treatment and theory, views pain as the result of the blockage of Qi (pronounced “chee”) and Blood (a vital substance, similar but not the same as our Western view of blood) in the meridians, which are the energy channels that Qi travels through. The placing of needles in specific acupuncture points helps move the Qi and Blood and remove obstructions in the meridians.

There are many theories about how acupuncture works, and experimental evidence indicates that acupuncture stimulates many pain-modulating systems within the body, causing release of endorphins and enkephalins, and releasing neurotransmitters such as serotonin. No single theory completely explains how acupuncture can result in long-lasting relief of pain.

Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available and side effects, if any, are usually minimal. Pets may be treated as frequently as one to three times a week but, typically, are treated once weekly for six to eight weeks. After the initial treatment period, the intervals between acupuncture visits are then extended based upon your pet's response. Most pets are seen once every two to six months for maintenance therapy. Some pets no longer need acupuncture therapy once their condition has resolved.

Conditions that can be treated with acupuncture include:

  • Arthritis
  • Intervertebral disc disease and back pain
  • Hind limb weakness
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Seizure disorders
  • Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, and neck pain
  • Neurologic conditions
  • Pain and nausea related to cancer
  • Chronic digestive disorders (IBD, diarrhea, constipation)
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Other medical conditions such as immune-mediated diseases and chronic liver or kidney diseases

A comprehensive physical, medical, and acupuncture examination is completed prior to initiating acupuncture treatment. It is important to let us know about any physical changes that occur in your pet's health during and after all acupuncture treatments.

All treatments are performed by Dr. Abbie, who is certified in veterinary acupuncture. A confident and skilled practitioner of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine, she has a personal story about its very real healing power.

While studying acupuncture—she had completed many hours of courses and labs, but had yet to be certified—a couple brought their dashshund named Cookie to her for treatment. Cookie was acutely paralyzed from severe intervertebral disc disease and could not move or feel his hind legs. Unable to afford the emergency back surgery that is the standard treatment protocol in such cases, Cookie’s owners turned to Dr. Abbie and acupuncture. Dr. Abbie began weekly sessions with Cookie and by the third week, the young dog began regaining sensation in his legs; by the fourth week, he was standing and bearing weight; and by the sixth week, he was, according to Dr. Abbie, “hobbling away too quickly for me to put needles in him.”

Acupuncture treatments “successfully helped this little dog’s body to heal, when according to many veterinary school texts, we should have given up on him.”

What to Expect During and After an Acupuncture Treatment

Pets vary in their response to acupuncture. Some show no sensitivity or response during the placement of the very fine, thin acupuncture needles while others may experience a brief discomfort (some acupuncture points may be more sensitive than others). Generally, once the needles have been placed, a pet exhibits no discomfort. During the treatment, pets may become very relaxed or even sleepy.

After a treatment, pets vary greatly in their response. Some are energized and very lively; others are sleepy and tired for several hours. If a pet is receiving treatment for arthritis or a painful condition, he may experience immediate relief or gradually improve over several treatments. Occasionally, a pet may be temporarily worse immediately after a treatment, and then improve over the next few days or remain unresponsive to acupuncture treatment.

<? echo $title; ?>Herbal Medicine

Herbs are plants that contain ingredients with active therapeutic properties. Herbal approaches have been developed for the management of almost all conditions that currently challenge conventional veterinary medicine—including epilepsy, chronic kidney failure, chronic lameness, hormonal disorders, behavioral disorders, allergic skin disease, liver failure, and inflammatory bowel disease.

The veterinarians and staff at Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital and Pet Townsend Veterinary Clinic believe that in some cases using herbal remedies produces improved outcomes and fewer side effects than many pharmaceutical products. Clinical and laboratory research has shown that certain herbs can support normal function of the liver, kidneys, heart, and immune system; reduce inflammation and improve blood flow through damaged tissues; promote the differentiation, aging, and death of tumor cells; and eliminate pain. In many cases, herbal medicine can eliminate the need for chronic conventional medications.

The success of herbal treatment will vary according to the age of the pet, prior treatment history, and diagnosis.

Therapeutic Nutrition

At Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital and Pet Townsend Veterinary Clinic, we use diet along with vitamin and mineral supplementation as a form of therapy not only to maintain health, but to treat disease. Although therapeutic nutrition may mean a longer period for a desired outcome (as compared to traditional medications), it ultimately provides the body with a better support system to fight disease by boosting the immune system and enhancing the healing process.

The benefits of therapeutic nutrition include:

  • Enhancing cellular regeneration
  • Boosting the immune system
  • Improving enzymatic activity
  • Promoting natural self-healing

Therapeutic nutrition is a key aspect of treatment in all of our patients with musculoskeletal conditions to chronic or terminal illnesses, such as cancer.