What is medical acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the use of small needles placed in precise locations to stimulate the nervous system, release the body’s natural pain-fighting molecules (ie opioids), increase blood flow, and loosen restricted/tight skin and muscles.
Acupuncture can be used for a wide variety of illnesses: neurologic disorders (disc disease, nerve injuries, etc), arthritis, muscle strains or other athletic injuries, organ dysfunction, and even wound healing.
What does an acupuncture appointment like?
On the first appointment, the doctor will thoroughly assess your pet and help to develop the best plan of care moving forward depending on your pet’s individual needs. This may be include acupuncture only but may also include things like physical rehabilitation and laser therapy.
Placing acupuncture needles is normally painless. Occasionally an animal may twitch or react slightly to the placement of a needle in a sore area. It takes anywhere from 10-15 minutes for all the needles to be placed. Once placed, they will remain in your pet anywhere from 5-20 minutes depending on the purpose of the needles. You are welcome to stay with your pet for the entire acupuncture treatment.
How does acupuncture work?
- Veterinary acupuncture stimulates the release of the body’s own pain relieving and anti-inflammatory substances.
- Relaxation of muscles at the site of needle insertion and more distant locations body is achieved with veterinary acupuncture treatment, creating both a local and generalized pain relieving effect.
- Veterinary acupuncture improves tissue blood flow, oxygenation and removal of metabolic wastes and toxins.
- Unlike prescription and over the counter pain medications, veterinary acupuncture lacks potential adverse side effects for your pet’s internal organs.
- Your pet’s medications or supplements will not adversely interact with veterinary acupuncture treatment; therefore it can safely be used to treat a variety of illnesses.
What can acupuncture treat?
Veterinary acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of conditions, particularly those that involve inflammation and pain.
Arthritis, or joint inflammation, can occur at any life stage (juvenile, adult, senior) and creates a variety of physiologic changes that create pain.
Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
DJD is the progression of arthritis where joint surfaces become irregular, leading to decreased range of motion and increased pain.
Surgery, car accidents, animal fights and falling are forms of trauma that cause inflammation and pain.
Cancer can promote tissue swelling or enlargement of organ systems leading to pain, nausea, decreased appetite and lethargy.
Kidney and liver failure, pancreatitis, feline hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, hypothyroidism, and diabetes mellitus cause nausea, appetite and energy changes.
How many treatments will my pet need?
Dogs and cats start with more frequent treatments then are tapered off to a less frequent interval for maintenance. Most patients benefit from one to three sessions per week during the initial few weeks. The goal is to achieve the greatest duration of time where a pet’s condition appears improved or has resolved.
The effects of veterinary acupuncture treatment are cumulative, so consistent treatment is more beneficial than intermittent.