Traditional Chinese medicine enters into its dog days

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2008, 12:00am

Traditional Chinese medicine has gone to the dogs, literally. Pets Central's hospital services now include animal acupuncture thanks to the arrival of new doctor Ann-Si Li (right).

A native of Berkeley, California - where else? - Li was working in Beijing until less than a month ago, when she decided to relocate to Hong Kong, bringing her combination of western veterinary training with eastern alternative medicine to help local sick pets, um, heal.

'I got into it because I wanted to find out more about something that was linked to my heritage,' the doctor said. 'Initially, I was quite sceptical but I discovered it really works. Then I found I really enjoy it. The practice is not that new. In the United States, it's been around since the 1950s and '60s but it really picked up in the 1990s. It's much more accepted in California.'

However, the practice is still limited to cats and dogs, and Li only suggests the treatments are applied to animals in much the same way they are used on people.

'I'm working in an area complementary to regular medicine. It should be a mix to get the best of both worlds. It's about enhancing treatment with other aspects of western services. I would encourage people to look into this sort of service in situations when there's nothing more that conventional doctors can do or in situations that are inoperable.'