What is Veterinary Medical Acupuncture?

Veterinary Medical Acupuncture involves the insertion of very small, sterile, stainless steel needles into specific points in the animal’s body to stimulate specific nerves, muscles, connective tissue or blood vessels to release the body’s natural opioids, endorphins and serotonin. These substances help to decrease pain signals, as well as allows the animal to experience an overall euphoria feeling.  The needles also help to increase circulation and lymphatic flow, which promotes faster healing of the body.

When should I consider using acupuncture?

There are many medical conditions that would benefit from acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used to help control pain due to surgery, injury or arthritis.  It has been beneficial for many other conditions such as a poor appetite, seizures, urinary and fecal incontinence, respiratory disease, heart disease, kidney disease, immunologic disease, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, intervertebral disc disease (back pain), dry eye, anxiety and cancer/hospice care.

What happens during our first acupuncture visit?

During the first acupuncture visit, our doctor will review your medical records, blood work results, discuss any concerns you have about your pet and complete a thorough myofacial palpation. This will help determine where and how many areas on your pet need to be treated.  Sometimes heshe will recommend further blood work or x-rays to evaluate your pets condition before starting a treatment.

Do I need to be present during the treatment?

It is always encouraged for owners to participate in their pet’s treatment. It helps your pet stay calm, allows the doctor to review how the he/she did after the previous treatment and helps the owner know what to look/feel for on their animals inbetween visits. Our doctor will show you what they are feeling before and after a treatment session so you are involved with the entire process.

How does the Acupuncturist know where and how many needles to use?

Your pet’s history and our doctor’s myofacial palpation helps to guide him/her on needle placement. During the initial treatment, our doctor will use a small number of needles. This gives your pet time to adjust to the chemical changes he/she will feel and also allows our doctor to evaluate how your pet reacts with the placement of the needles. Subsequent visits may involve more needles depending on your pet’s previous reaction as well as the current myofacial palpation.

How long does each treatment last?

The initial treatment session may last up to 60 minutes. This allows our doctor time to review the medical history, complete a thorough myofacial palpation and build a rapport with your pet before any needling is done. Additional sessions may take 30-45 minutes, which allows the doctor to review your pet’s response to treatment, discuss any new concerns you may have, repeat a thorough myofacial palpation and to develop a plan for continued treatment.  The actual acupuncture needling time varies. The needles may stay in place 15-20 minutes depending on your pet’s response to the stimulation. Some pets will shake the needles out after 10-15 minutes other animals will lay down and go to sleep for 30 minutes or more.

How many treatments will my pet need?

The number of acupuncture treatments will depend upon the nature, severity and duration of your pet’s disease. A single treatment may be adequate for an acute condition. A series of 8-10 treatments may be needed for a chronic condition. Other degenerative conditions may need continued treatments over time. At each visit, your pet’s progress as well as continued treatment plan will be discussed.

Does acupuncture hurt?

A large majority of pets are comfortable with acupuncture therapy. A very thin, noncutting needle is used during acupuncture. Many pets fall asleep during therapy, other pets are a little anxious so bringing treats to keep them happy can be helpful.

Are there other treatments that can be used with acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used with many other treatment modalities. Other treatments available with acupuncture include medications, cold laser therapy and canine rehabilitation therapy. Our doctor will discuss which therapies would best fit your pet’s needs.