An Interview with Patrick Mahaney of Cardiff’s Blog

Dr. Patrick Mahaney of California Pet Acupuncture & Wellness (CPAW), Inc is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA).  He is the author of Cardiff’s Blog and Patrick’s Blog on and shares his pet care knowledge on his Los Angeles Pet Care Examiner column.

VP: Your initial veterinary training was in the standard western approach to animal care–you’re a graduate of the Univ. of Penn. School of Vet. Medicine.  What led you to pursue your expertise in veterinary accupuncture?

PM:  I became interested in the integrative approach to medicine after suffering a series of back injuries. This led to an MRI diagnosis of inter-vertebral disc disease (IVDD).  My chronic discomfort is now under control through a multimodal approach to pain management, including dietary modification and supplements, acupuncture, chiropractic, and (as needed) Western medication.

Since IVDD is a condition commonly seen in both dogs and cats, along with other musculoskeletal diseases that negatively affect a pet’s day to day discomfort, I feel a true connection to many of my patients’ problems. This is why I offer the same level of care to my clients’ pets that I pursue for myself.

VP:  You are a Certified Veterinary Accupuncturist (CVA).  What training was required to achieve this certification and what standards of expertise need to be met?
PM: I attended the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society (IVAS) course in 2005-2006.  IVAS offers the course exclusively to veterinarians, so it is a very specific training that teaches veterinarians Chinese medicine principles and treatment.  In order to achieve my certification, besides taking the IVAS course, I had to pass a rigorous written and laboratory testing process, write a publishable case study, and complete an internship with another IVAS certified acupuncture practitioner.
VP:  Your Welsh Terrier, Cardiff, suffers from IMHA.  Your treatment for Cardiff involves an integrated approach that combines both western and eastern remedies.  What does each remedy contribute to Cardiff’s overall health?

PM: I use Western treatments, such as immune system modifying drugs and blood transfusions, to treat Cardiff’s IMHA in the acute, hemolytic period.
I use TCVM treatments, such as Chinese herbs and food energy, dietary supplements, and acupuncture to manage his illness on a day to day basis. 

VP: What are some of the more common conditions that should prompt pet owners to consider accupuncture?  And are there any common misconceptions among pet owners that prevent them from pursuing accupuncture?
PM: The most common conditions I treat with acupuncture are those that cause pain, such as arthritis, degenerative joint disease (DJD), intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), obesity, metabolic and immune system diseases, and cancer.Misconceptions about acupuncture that may prevent them from pursuing treatment are that it is painful to a pet.  In my experience, minimal pain is cause by needle placement.  The majority of patients rest deeply treatment and and sleep very well after treatment.
See comfortable animals during treatment:

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