“Head To Tail Wellness:Western Veterinary Medicine Meets Eastern Wisdom”

By Dr. Stacy Fuchino. Wiley Publishing Inc., $19.99.

After finishing this insightful read, I envisioned the California veterinarian/author positioned at the intersection of Help Ave. and Hope Road directing oncoming traffic toward his busy hospital. 

Few practitioners embrace both Eastern and Western veterinary treatment methods as openly as Fuchino. Most are in one camp or another, and some even view the other with deep reservations. 

From chi to sha, Fuchino emphasizes that neither modality should be viewed as a cure-all, but taken together with commitment by the owner, they offer optimism and a course via which the patient’s health can be altered positively. Yet another key is willingness of your principal veterinarian to refer you to an area veterinarian practicing Eastern treatment.

Fuchino has treated animals for arthritis, allergies, kidney disease, heart and lung problems, cancer, behavioral problems, skin condition and other ailments, citing dozens of case histories throughout this 248-page volume, which includes an empowering appendix of alternative veterinary practitioners in the United States and Canada, plus web sites of interest.

A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, Fuchino began focusing on Eastern medicine because he “hit a wall,” recognizing that too many patients “had chronic problems that stubbornly evaded diagnosis by veterinarians trained in Western techniques.”  The author emphasizes he has not abandoned Western medicine, only complemented it with Eastern principles.

In treating patients, Fuchino’s emphasis is on the big picture, i.e. owner lifestyle, which he illustrates is sometimes the trigger mechanism for the pets’ woes. These can include sedentary lifestyle, obesity (of owner and pet), changes in relationships, jobs or moves to a new area.

Here’s where chi, the life energy that you need to begin healing yourself and your pet, fits in. But most people fail to take advantage of it, he says, simply because they don’t understand this energy, which he details thoroughly. Conversely, sha, negative energy, draws plenty of emphasis, too, and how to combat it.

There may be more detail here of the Eastern approach to veterinary care than you’re up for, but this is the type of volume you can take slowly. In fact, you may recognize yourself or your pet in the process, opening up an entirely new pathway for its care.

This primer is a balanced reminder that good intentions aren’t always enough. Be proactive on your pet’s behalf, Fuchino emphasizes, and don’t wait for late intervention that places the animal at the doorsteps of euthanasia.

The author approaches his subject with refreshing pragmatism and philosophical elasticity that should inspire owners with new options and resolve.