About TCVM

Frequently Asked Questions

Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM), although relatively new to the Western world, is a medical system that has been used to treat animals in China for thousands of years. It's an adaptation and extension of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which is used to treat humans. Speaking broadly, Chinese Medicine is a complete body of thought and practice grounded in Chinese Daoist philosophy. Though it can be traced back over two millennia in recorded history, it, like any medical system, continues to evolve today. Current research on acupuncture and herbal medicine is beginning to shed light on its mechanism of action.

The Four Branches of TCVM

Though the terms Chinese Medicine and acupuncture are often used interchangeably in Western societies, acupuncture is actually only one modality or “branch” of TCM and TCVM. There are actually four branches of TCVM – Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Food Therapy and Tui-na

Acupuncture is a treatment that involves the stimulation of points, typically achieved through the insertion of specialized needles into the body. Acupuncture points typically lie along the body’s Meridian Channels where Qi flows. Most veterinary acupuncture points and Meridian lines are transposed to animals from humans, however, we are fortunate to have knowledge of some species-specific “classical points” from ancient times. 

Herbal Medicine, as the name suggests, utilizes herbal ingredients listed within the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica to treat specific disease patterns. Herbal formulas are administered orally and are typically given in powder form to horses and other large animals and in tea pill or capsule form to cats and dogs.

Food Therapy is the use of diet to treat and prevent imbalance within the body. This therapy utilizes knowledge of the energetics of food ingredients to tailor diets for individual animals.

Tui-na is a form of Chinese medical massage in which different manipulations are applied to acupoints and Meridians to promote the circulation of Qi and correct imbalances within the organ systems.


The World Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (WATCVM) and the American Association of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (AATCVM) are non-profit organizations that support practitioners of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) and promote high-quality research in all aspects of TCVM including: acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Tui-na and food therapy. These organizations promote the practice of evidence-based TCVM by funding high-quality studies to research the basic science and mechanisms of action of TCVM treatments and randomized clinical trials of the efficacy of TCVM treatments. The WATCVM encompasses the AATCVM and functions internationally. 

To further support its mission to promote the continuing education of TCVM practitioners and evidence-based TCVM, the AATCVM publishes an international, peer-reviewed, scientific journal, the American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (AJTCVM). The AJTCVM is a venue for the dissemination of information regarding research findings, continuing education for TCVM practitioners, issues of interest to the TCVM community and TCVM news.

Your gift will be used to support one of our four key missions: 

  1. Promote the education of TCVM by providing financial support to veterinary students and assist in the development and functions of TCVM Student Associations at veterinary colleges.
  2. Fund basic and applied research projects and provide recognition for findings at the annual TCVM conferences.
  3. Develop TCVM research standards through the International Organization for Standards.
  4. Assist developing countries with per capita income of less than $1,000 USD to develop TCVM programs at veterinary colleges and award scholarships to students.