It’s A Dog’s (And Cat’s) Life!

Dr. Brijesh Raj is a Mumbai-based practicing Companion Animal Veterinarian, an Integrated Medicine Expert, being a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine, Florida) and a Tai Chi teacher. He is known for his pioneering work in animal acupuncture and Integrated Medicine Therapy for animals. He commands over two decades of expertise with healing animals and provides some of the most effective and dynamic scientific techniques for the holistic healing and overall wellbeing of all pets.

Be it the two cats who were unable to stand, with floppy, lifeless tails… or the paretic/paralytic dogs… or the unfortunate Labradors with hip and spine pain… there is nothing more satisfying than successfully treating such cases, where one can provide relief to the speechless. Some of the latest patients are making steady recoveries with acupuncture and ‘tuina anmo’ massage – an ancient Chinese practice that help get rid of blockages or imbalances that are believed to lead to pain and illness.

Both – acupuncture and ‘tuina anmo’ massage – are highly effective modalities of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), which help alleviate pain by opening up the vital energy flow. But, these treatments are not limited to just relieving pain – both modalities help heal internal organ dysfunction by working on their corresponding acupoints and improving the circulation of the vital Qi (energy).

Traditional Chinese Medicine consists of Acupuncture, Tuina anmo massage, Herbology, Food therapy and Taichi Qigong. I have had the unique and singular good fortune of learning and practicing Taichi Qigong, for over 18 years now, which has deeply enhanced my understanding of acupuncture and Tuina courses.

For greater context, I’d like to share with you two unforgettable cases. My surgeon and I had just finished up, when a little kitten was brought in by a rescue worker. It was winter and the kitten had fallen into a gutter and remained trapped in it overnight. On examination, it was unresponsive, unconscious and in hypothermic shock.  Its eyes were open but not responding to light or gentle touch and the blood pressure was perilously low. I immediately put in two emergency acupuncture needles. We set up a warm drip, gave steroid and antibiotic shots and gently wrapped it in a hot water bag.

By the time the treatment was done there were some sluggish reflexes seen. After three days of care, the kitten made a full recovery. Such is the power of integrated medicine. Integrated medicine combines the best of Western and Eastern medicines. The emergency acupoints resuscitated the kitten and bought us the time to do the rest. Allopathy can prove very effective for emergency care and diagnostics. Prevention, though, is largely restricted to vaccination and neutering surgery. TCVM, on the other hand, is focused on life-force energetics. It shores up immunity and prevents illness; and in case of illness, it speeds the recovery process.

Another time, a neighbour got in an Indie dog (community animal). He was sedated and kept pressing his head against the wall. On administering the emergency needles, he woke up instantly with a jerk! (It’s a different matter that he turned out to be a blind biter!) But the manner in which he woke up was spectacular!

Tuina massage techniques are of great value in Musculo-skeletal, pain disorders, geriatrics, end-of-life care and internal medicine. At our clinic, we also practice basic food therapy, which really benefits our lovely 4-legged patients. Unfortunately, today, food is often equated to commercial dry dog food or cat food. Fresh food is far superior in nutritional value and thanks to TCVM, it can be actually tailor made for individual patients and as per the prevailing season. For instance, one must try and give cooling foods such as sabja water, mint leaves and fish in summer and warming foods such as chicken, red meats and ginger in winter.

Veterinary medicine is my passion and I had decided my calling whilst in school. Having practiced Western Veterinary Medicine for over two decades, I have witnessed up close, its limitations. Allopathy diagnoses the condition and treats it similarly in similar cases. TCVM arrives at a pattern diagnosis, which is far more precise. So, two patients with similar maladies might be treated differently. Since the past several years now, I have been incorporating TCVM alongside mainstream veterinary medicine, and the results are far superior. It even reduces the harmful reliance on antibiotics and pain killers, thus leading to a safer yet more effective treatment for our pets. Such is the power of integrated medicine!

Dr. Brijesh Raj’s Pet Clinic specializes in Integrated Medicine, with emphasis on Acupuncture and Tuina anmo massage. It is open Mondays to Saturdays, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, located at Dadyseth Wadi – Ground floor, Chowpatty Band Stand, 3 Siri Road, Mumbai – 400006. Dogs and Cats welcome, ideally by appointment. For Consultations/Appointments, Call: 9322289370

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