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How TCVM Changed My Life

How TCVM Changed My Life

by Ana Stela Fonseca, DVM Rio De Janeiro, BRAZIL

Author: Chi Institute/Tuesday, November 1, 2011/Categories: TCVM Newsletter, 2011 Winter Issue

I will never forget the time when I was 8 years old and I saw a news segment about a race horse that had been put to sleep (he had broken his leg in an accident at the racetrack). It was that very same day that I told my mom, "mom when I grow up I will be a veterinarian so I can help horses, so they will not have to be put to sleep like that."

Before I started my studies in Veterinary Medicine, I started to study to become a Business Manager. Both myself and my ex-boyfriend chose that path because we were too young and immature to decide what we wanted to do with our lives. However, within the first year of my studies I realized that my passion wasn’t for numbers. I remembered how much I loved the animals and I decided to dedicate my life to them and study to become a veterinarian.

I wasn't the best student in my class but I was very interested in all things that could provide me with more knowledge (especially cases that people couldn’t explain why they happed or how they happened). After my time at the University I moved to Rio de Janeiro where I experienced some health problems. Rather than going to a doctor, I decided to treat my issues with acupuncture. I was treated by a teacher who worked at a school that specialized in Chinese Medicine for humans. During my treatment, he told me that one of his fellow teachers was a veterinarian as well and asked me why I hadn’t taken any acupuncture course before.

This led me to start my studies in Chinese Medicine in 2004. When I began the course I hadn’t realized that I could use acupuncture on animals however, after a period of time I began to apply the techniques I learned for humans to treat animals. All my life I felt like I was a little lost but when I started my studies in Chinese Medicine I finally felt like I finally found my way.

During my second year of studies I shadowed the veterinarian my acupuncturist had told me about. I loved the experience however, I really wanted to work with horses and he did not. I did some research online and found information about Dr. Xie and ended up buying his book. I then asked one of my masters in Argentina if he know someone who could teach me more about equine acupuncture and he told about a colleague who was living in Spain, Dr Jose. I contacted him via email and he told me that I would have to wait two years before I could take the course in Spain due to the high demand for the course. I couldn’t wait for two years, I wanted to start right away.

A few days later, one of my colleagues sent me a case about a horse with back and pelvic pain from Dr Sue Dyson from Animal Health Trust in United Kingdom. I was very interested in the case and emailed Dr. Dyson telling her of how I had treated a horse with similar issues. But She is a well known researchers in orthopedic equine medicine and she can also understand horses very well because she is a rider herself; she "open the doors" to me to go to the Animal Health Trust and see what they could do about Back Diagnoses in Horses there! I still was looking for someone to teach me Acupuncture in horses... I went two times to the UK once in 2007 and once in 2008, Dr Sue Dyson told me that I was the first one to go back there – I am persistent!

Now I know why this happened that life put in front of me Back Diagnoses and although I wanted to do Chinese Medicine it was good know Western Medicine methodologies first! I still was looking for acupuncture...

When I was there I told Dr Sue Dyson that I had to write something in Portuguese about all the things that I saw there about back pathologies and diagnoses because a lot of veterinarians in Brazil could not read in English and it will take approximately 10 years before the research goes into a book in Portuguese and I could see a lot of horses in UK , US and Brazil that had back pathologies, atrophy, problems to work and all the things that involved a syndrome of Back Pain. But where was my interest in finding someone to teach me Acupuncture in horses, did I forget?

One day, I found Dr. Xie’s school, the Chi Institute, while researching on the internet. I finally had found somewhere where I could learn all about veterinary acupuncture! Later that day I received a call from a barn owner in Rio de Janeiro. He called to ask me if I would like to have a female horse that was going to be put to sleep the next day because she was diagnosed for EPM and western medicine was not working. She had been treated for a month and the owner spent more $5,000 in medication for her and she hadn't improved. What did I say? You know... Yes for sure!!! We have a famous Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho that said, "If you want one thing so much - so much that it is like the air you breath- the universe will make it so that thing comes to you!"

That is how I become the new owner of one special horse called Top Heights. She was the daughter of the most important racehorse in Brazil an ataxic horse; some months after I discovered that the horse had Wobbler Syndrome not EPM - we have to try to understand that an ataxic horse can be a lot of things... that a hind limb lame horse can be a lot of things and that it doesn't matter how good or how important you are we always can say " I don't know exactly what this horse has at this time".

I began my acupuncture treatment on her. At that time I was a veterinarian in the Brazilian Army, so I took her with me to my quarter and treated her once a week with electro acupuncture for 5 months. I also used Cervical Stiffness for 3 months. The goal of my treatment was to move Qi and Blood and to improve her Yin Qi Deficiency. She stopped her ataxia in two months and on the third month she was moved to the barn where she could go out to the pasture 2 or 3 times a week. After 5 months I stopped her treatment.

In October of last year after one month without any kind of treatment I saw her running - stopping - turning at the hind limbs, running - stopping - turning at the hind limbs and I decided that it was time to take her to ride. I took her for a ride every day and she started to do dressage for beginner horses and she will also be a very good jumper, I don't know exactly at which level of training she will be but in my experience in training horses and as a veterinarian I think that she will be a normal horse since she is receiving electro acupuncture every 20 or 30 days and the most important thing for me is that "she is very happy and is my first one". I tried acupuncture on another two horses before but I didn’t have Dr. Xie herbal medicine. I used the same herbal medicine on a Wobbler Army's dog and in another horse - he is 8 years old and has an Atlanto-Occipital malformation; more than 5 veterinarians have seen him because the owner only felt that the horse couldn't do some dressage exercises in a regular position and all the vets thought that the horse is fine since he had jumped 1.30 mt on the previous weekend...It is amazing to think that I saved two lives and improved the health and performance of many animals with just a little bit of knowledge and experience in the field of Chinese medicine!

So today, after exactly 30 years I can say that my dream is starting to become true...

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