Acupuncture has been used successfully for nearly 4,000 years on animals as well as humans. Medical veterinary acupuncture, also known as neuroanatomical acupuncture, stimulates the nervous system of the animal and helps the nervous system modulate the body to heal on its own. When integrated with traditional veterinary medicine, acupuncture aids in treatment of many medical conditions, and is used for pain relief and therapy for seizures.
Acupuncture utilizes the insertion of hair thin needles into the body to interact with the connective tissue to send messages to the brain that can alter brain chemistry. Through acupuncture we increase the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer, interrupt chronic pain signals that travel through the nervous system, decrease cortisol, and increase serotonin and dopamine levels. Acupuncture also has a local effect at the site of need insertion by increasing muscle relaxation and blood flow to the area.
Frequently asked questions:
What conditions respond well to acupuncture?
Acupuncture does more than relieve pain. Acupuncture can be integrated with traditional veterinary medicine to aid in treatment of medical conditions allowing our patients to experience increased quality of life.
In small animals acupuncture is commonly used for various orthopedic and neurologic problems including muscle strains, arthritis, post-operative orthopedic conditions, and diseases of the nervous system, including post-operative neurologic conditions and seizure control. Acupuncture can also be used for various medical disorders such as kidney or liver disease, dermatologic conditions and pain control.
In large animals, acupuncture is most commonly used for musculoskeletal and reproductive issues. Treatment may also be sought in cases of facial paralysis, temporomandibular pain, and sinus problems, among others.
How does it work?
Our veterinary acupuncturists utilize a contemporary neuroanatomical approach to acupuncture, reflecting the idea that needle placement is guided by the practitioner's detailed knowledge of veterinary anatomy and neurology. How it works depends on what condition one is treating and which points are utilized. Ultimately, acupuncture stimulates the body's own defense systems, resulting in increased circulation, reduced inflammation, and the the release of neurotransmitters such as endorphins from the brain
Is it painful? How will my animal react?
Acupuncture is performed with sterilized single-use thin stainless steel needles. There is occasionally a brief moment of sensitivity as the needle penetrates the skin in certain sensitive areas. Once the needles are in place, most animals relax, and even may fall asleep during treatment.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies utilized if practiced by a competent acupuncturist. Side effects are rare. Occasionally an animal's condition may appear to deteriorate temporarily before improving, similar to what humans experience following a deep tissue massage. This phenomenon typically resolves in 24 hours. Because acupuncture balances the body's own system of healing and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely, if ever, develop.
How often and how long does one treat?
Sessions are either 30 or 60 minutes in duration. Each session will begin with a complete myofascial examination so that the doctor can determine the exact areas that should be treated. Once the needles are placed the duration of the treatment is determined by the patient and there level of tolerance of the treatment. A positive response is often noticed within the first 2-4 treatments, sometimes earlier, depending upon the condition treated. Following the initial treatments the patient will be scheduled for maintenance therapy as needed.