What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. There are more than 150 acupuncture points on a dog’s body with 50-100 of those points being most commonly used.
Overall, acupuncture is based on a principle of restoring balance with in the body.
Veterinary acupuncture is most commonly used for pain management and diseases of the liver, kidney, and skin.
Acupuncture is another tool to treat ailments and enhance the quality of our pet’s lives. Despite the amazing scientific advances in veterinary medicine, one of the most exciting new treatments may be thousands of years old.
Clinical research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans, and the use of acupuncture is increasing. Acupuncture will not cure every condition, but it can work very well when it is indicated.
For Which Conditions is Acupuncture Indicated?
Generally, acupuncture treatments are combined with traditional approaches to healing, such as physical therapy or the use of medications. Acupuncture treatments can also be considered for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain.
For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:
- Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, or traumatic nerve injury
- Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
- Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
- Gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea
- Selected reproductive problems
Also, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. World-class professional and amateur athletes often use acupuncture as a routine part of their training. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help them keep in top physical condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal.
In western medical terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid)
For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingles, cramps, or numbness which can occur in humans and which may be uncomfortable to some animals.
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.
The success of the treatment will vary according to the skill of the veterinarian, the condition being treated and the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several treatments.
The American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery. The National Institute of Health developed a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy. NIH said that there was compelling evidence that acupuncture was useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain.
There are two critical criteria you should look for in a veterinary acupuncturist:
- Your veterinary acupuncturists must be a licensed veterinarian.
- Your veterinary acupuncturist should have formal training in the practice of veterinary acupuncture.