Dr Cindy Tan was nine-years-old when she lost her beloved pet; there wasn’t a vet in the town where she lived and her pet needed urgent attention.
“The vet was an hour away and at that time there was no transport to get there easily,” Cindy says. “It was devastating to see her dying. From then on, I wanted to be a vet so that I could treat my own pets. That goal stayed with me but now it expands to other pets as well.”
Cindy is now a qualified Brisbane Vet but with a difference—she combines her Western vet training with Traditional Chinese Medicine in her business, Vetpoint Mobile Vet Services.
How the West and East met
“In Vet School, I was trained in conventional Western veterinary medicine only. I didn’t realise that Traditional Chinese Medicine could be helpful for animals too,” Cindy says.
“Traditional Chinese Medicine is not a foreign approach for me because I am of Asian heritage, it is infused in my daily life,” she says. “When I was young, my mum would routinely cook certain herbal soups for the family; use certain herbal ointment or tincture when we were injured or unwell,” she says.
“A good friend and mentor—who is a small animal internal medicine professor from the University of Minnesota—told me about Chi Institute, an institute based in Florida to train vets in traditional Chinese vet medicine (TCVM). I suddenly had a new direction.”
Cindy says she realised she could have more tools in her box to help her patients!
“I was so excited about it and things just fell into place,” she says.
“The Chi Institute had a formal veterinary acupuncture certification course in Perth and that course really opened my eyes and mind to an integrative approach.”
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine combines evidence-based complementary medicine (also known as alternative medicine) with a conventional Western medicine system. The complementary includes but is not limited to traditional Chinese medicine, western herbs, botanics, dietary supplements, or other means to help the animals.
Cindy says she started integrative medicine by adding acupuncture and Chinese herbs into her Vet practice.
“From there, I become more open-minded and I started to learn more about other tools that can be helpful such as essential oils,” Cindy says. “I tailor which one to use or which ones to combine, not only to treat the patient but to achieve the balance, and thus prevent it from happening again. I apply it in my own life too.”
But Cindy reminds us it is important to get a formally trained vet because vets have undergone many years of training to understand physiology and anatomy difference between different animals.
Cindy says there are a few amazing success stories including a paralysed pet who could not walk but is able to walk after acupuncture.
“But the most amazing success I have had is with a dog with a chronic skin disease. He was presented for euthanasia for his severe condition. He was treated successfully with an integrative approach. After two years, he is still alive happy and healthy.”
Cindy said she encounters more allergy-related and immune-mediated conditions than ever before.
“But my humble opinion on disease and problem is that there is a loss of balance between the internal—mind, energy flow, mental health, emotion, genes, the physical body—and the external factors—germs, pollutants, food, poison and negative energy around us.”
Cindy says when our internal and external factors lose balance, we are susceptible and show up with clinical symptoms or disease.
“So this emphasises how important it is to have a holistic and integrative approach.”
Cindy’s pet family—Archie and Rumble
“I grew up with different types of dogs but my best buddy is Archie—a Golden Retriever who was adopted when he was 10, about two years ago. I also have a cat named Rumble; she is a princess. Both Archie and Rumble are part of our family.”
A message for pet owners
“Your pet is for life,” Cindy says, “care for them is life-long. Don’t forget to enjoy their unconditional love and the special bonds. I would not be the same person without growing up with my dogs and learning how to keep a cat now!
“A pet owner has the right to be well informed of all available options and should not be afraid to ask for second opinions. Please take the best of all worlds, not just limit your chances with one.”
Why a mobile pet service?
“The immense stress for clients and pets in the waiting room and consultation room was obvious to me,” Cindy says. “A home visit is less stressful for everyone.”
“Vetpoint Mobile Vet Services is approaching its two years anniversary soon. It has been a journey not only as a professional practitioner, but as a person.
“I have gone through emotional and spiritual growth with owners when we treat their beloved pet. We always care and do our best,” Cindy says.
“My clients and their pets have given a lot of encouragement and support. I say thank you to them.”
If you would like to consider an integrated approach to your pet’s care, visit Dr Cindy Tan’s website – here.
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