Understanding the Five Energies of TCVM…Part 3…Chinese Pattern


A 2-year-old Male English bulldog presents with itchy, smelly, painful ears. Upon examination we see red inflamed ears with a gooey discharge. In western medicine we identify this as an ear infection and treat with antibiotics/antifungals and anti- inflammatory pharmaceuticals. The goal is to destroy the infectious agent. This will bring quick relief to the dog. But, for us that have experienced dogs with ear infections they typically are repeat offenders and these infections occur over and over again.

In TCVM we attempt to assign a Pattern Diagnosis. So, we know that the acupuncture meridian for the Liver/Gall bladder runs around the ears. This leads us to determine that the Liver or Wood Element is involved. The  ear infection happened very quickly and is therefore acute and the dog is young. We then label this as an excess. But an excess of what?

The redness is heat and the gooey discharge is damp so our TCVM pattern diagnosis is  Liver/Gallbladder Damp Heat and our treatment strategy would be to cool the heat, drain the damp in the Liver and Gallbladder. Food therapy, Herbal therapy, Acupuncture and Tui-Na can all be used to help restore harmony and balance. An Integrative Veterinarian would use the good predictive value of the western therapies to bring quick relief and then use Chinese therapies to address the underlying root cause of the condition to help prevent re-occurrence.  The best of both worlds!



 My goals as a health care practitioner are to prevent disease and to promote health. When I finally began integrating both western and eastern philosophies, I have even surprised myself. Before embracing, studying and implementing TCVM modalities and approach, I faced many times during which my only comfort for a grieving or scare pet parent was to empathize with them.

“I’m so so sorry…. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything else I can do to help ”

With a pat on the shoulder and completely authentic sorrow for the pet and their family, I’d turn them away leaving

them (and me) feeling helpless and heartbroken. I was empty inside, as I could not provide more for my patients. But that was before TCVM.

Now, I have so much more to offer, so many options to consider and present. I have seen animals with diabetes be able to stop taking insulin injections. I have many patients with cancer beating all the odds presented by the western studies. I have patients who lived for years in chronic pain, now completely pain free. With my deeper  and broader tool chest I can know effectively help more patients live a better quality of life. With the simple placement of stainless steel needles in the appropriate places on the body I helped an animal walk that couldn’t before it met me.

With TCVM, I was able to go from breaking hearts to providing helping hands. My desire to be the best health care practitioner I can be has allowed me to open my mind, body and soul so that I can study an ancient philosophy of medicine that is still in use today, after over 3000 years of practice. Together, with my advanced education in western medicine and my advanced education in Chinese medicine I can offer my patients the best of both worlds.

“It matters not whether medicine is old or new, so long as it brings about a cure. It matters not whether theories are Eastern or Western, so long as they prove to be true” 

Please stay tuned for next weeks blog….. Using Food as Medicine…. The Beginning


Michel Selmer, DVM, MS, CTCVMP – “The Caring Vet”

Michel Selmer

Dr. Michel Selmer is an Integrative Veterinarian and one of a handful of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Practitioners in the world that holds a Masters Degree. Dr. Michel Selmer attended Long Island University and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. Read More...
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