Holistic Pet Care


Acupuncture is just one of the options we offer for holistic pet care in Hudson. Acupuncture, one of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), is an ancient medical practice that has been used in people for over 3,000 years, and it is now commonly used in the veterinary treatment of animals as well.

Acupuncture is the insertion of fine solid needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. Acupuncture works by stimulating the nervous system, endocrine system, and immune system in the body.

By stimulating chemicals such as endorphins and serotonin to be released by the brain, acupuncture can control and relieve pain. Acupuncture has also been shown to support the immune system, increase white blood cell counts, improve endocrine function, relax muscles, regulate the intestinal tract, reduce inflammation, improve local blood flow, and speed healing.

Acupuncture can be successfully combined with conventional veterinary medicine to enlist the patient’s natural healing mechanisms. An integrative approach for many patients can help reduce the duration of hospitalization and improve outcomes.

It can also improve quality of life of many of our senior patients with chronic debilitating conditions by improving mobility and reducing pain. It can replace Western medications when animals cannot take them due to kidney, liver, or stomach disease. Acupuncture can support and improve organ disease when Western medicine has little to offer.

Acupuncture Benefits

Neurological Disease: Seizures, Geriatric Dementia (CCDS), Meningoencephalitis, Vestibular Disease, Cranial Nerve Disease (Masticatory Myositis, Optic Neuritis), Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD), Fibrocartilagenous Emboli, Peripheral Nerve Disease (Brachial Plexus Avulsion), Degenerative Myelopathy and EPM (Equine Protozoal Myelitis).

Musculoskeletal Disease: Arthritis (Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Spinal Arthritis, Knee Arthritis), Tendon sprains and partial tears (Cranial Cruciate Injuries, Achilles Injuries), Luxating Patellas, Geriatric Hind End Weakness, and Laminitis.

Gastrointestinal Disease: Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Anorexia, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Constipation, Megacolon, Gastric Reflux, and Equine Colic.

Endocrine Disease: Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism, Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Cushing’s Disease.

Other Diseases: Skin Allergies, Feline Asthma, Equine COPD, Cancer, Liver Disease, Chronic Renal Failure, FLUTD, Urinary Incontinence, Chronic Infections, Uveitis, and Chronic Corneal Ulcers.

Acupuncture is frequently combined with other TCVM therapies, such as Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy (the use of food as medicine), and Tui-na (Chinese Therapeutic Massage). Results are often greater when more than one modality is used.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is an acupuncture appointment?
The first appointment is approximately 1 hour and includes a consultation and examination and is followed by the first acupuncture treatment. Follow-up acupuncture appointments are approximately 1 hour as well.

How long does it take for acupuncture to work?
The effects of acupuncture are cumulative, such that a sequence of treatment sessions is recommended. Frequency of treatment sessions will vary with each patient and disease.

Acupuncture can take 3-5 treatments before changes are seen, so it is important to commit to a schedule in order for the treatments to have the desired effects.

Is acupuncture painful?
Many people wonder if animals need to be sedated to receive acupuncture. Almost all animals tolerate acupuncture well; many do not react to the needles at all and actually fall asleep during treatment.


Chinese Herbal Medicine is one of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). Herbal medicine has been used in China for about 4,000 years. In present-day China, human patients receive herbal medicines alone or in conjunction with acupuncture in 80% of cases compared to 20% receiving acupuncture alone.

Herbal medicine has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of medical conditions, including gastrointestinal, respiratory, musculoskeletal, endocrine, cardiovascular, dermatological, and cancers.

The best therapy is a combination of acupuncture and herbal medicine to balance the body and provide long-term well-being to the patient. The herbs Dr. Toolan uses are formulations containing multiple herbs that work together to treat a specific condition.

All the herbs she uses are from a company called Dr. Xie’s Jing Tang Herbal, based in Reddick, FL. Dr. Huisheng Xie, DVM, Ph.D., MS, is the owner and herbologist with over 25 years of experience. Quality Control is most important to preserve the safety and efficacy of these herbal formulas, which do NOT contain any heavy metals or material from endangered species.

With few exceptions, Chinese Herbal Medicine can be used in conjunction with Western medications, have minimal to no side effects, and are well accepted by most animals.


Tui-na or Chinese Therapeutic Massage, was first practiced in China in 1600 BC. The formal name, Tui-Na-An-Mo, is known by various names depending on the region in China and the techniques in popular use there.

Tui-na, as it is known in South China, refers to pushing and lifting techniques, while in Northern China, the term An-Mo is used to refer to acupressure, massage, and other specialized techniques.
It is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) to enhance the effects of the other branches of acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat and prevent disease. Specifically, the techniques used can help balance the body’s energy by tonifying areas that are deficient and sedating areas that are in excess.

Also, in TCVM, where there is pain in the body, there is a blockage of Qi and blood circulation. Tui-na techniques unblock and improve circulation of Qui and blood and thereby reduce pain. They can also improve organ and immune system function. Dr. Toolan uses Tui-na in three ways:

1. Prior to acupuncture, she will do a short session to help soften and loosen the tissues.

2. She can do an entire session of just Tui-na. Some pets do not like the acupuncture needles but enjoy the Tui-na techniques. She will also do acupuncture in one area of the body and Tui-na in another area or for another problem.

3. Finally, many owners would like to be able to do more to help their pets. The owner can be taught a few techniques appropriate to their pet’s condition. These can be done daily at home in between appointments.


The saying “you are what you eat” is central to the TCVM Theory of Food Therapy. Food Therapy is the use of foods to help potentiate or enhance the effects of acupuncture and herbal medicine to treat and prevent disease.

All foods have an energy associated with them, ie. temperatures such as warming or cooling, and tastes such as sweet, sour, pungent, salty, or bitter.

In TCVM, Food Therapy is used to help balance the body’s energy. As an example, if an animal is too hot, cooling foods are recommended; if the animal is cold, warming foods are recommended. Food recommendations are specific to each animal’s needs. These can be added as a supplement or topping to the current diet or grouped together in a recipe and fed as the sole diet.

The effects of Food therapy are slower than acupuncture or herbal medicine but work with these modalities to balance the body. Finally, owners enjoy being able to participate in and contribute to the healing process of their pets. Call for more information about our holistic pet care in Hudson

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