What is medical acupuncture for animals?

Acupuncture is a healing art used in China for thousands of years to treat various medical conditions. it is the insertion of needles into specific points in the body to cause a desired healing effect. Acupuncture is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in both domestic and exotic animals.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture is performed by inserting thin, sterile stainless steel needles into specific points on the body. These points produce a physiologic response that can provide pain relief, stimulate the immune and nervous systems, increase microcirculation and decrease inflammation. Acupuncture can also help restore the balance between organ systems for optimal health and overall well-being.

What will happen during acupuncture treatments?

The veterinarians will want your pet as relaxed as possible, and therapy may even lead to further relaxation. We will have a dost bed or mat available if your pet wants to lie down. The needle insertion is usually not painful; however, certain points can be sensitive, so we provide frozen treats as a distraction. Multiple acupuncture needles will be placed depending on the point of prescription. Some animals become very quiet and even fall asleep during treatment. Treatment time varies depending on the animal, the acupuncture technique and the condition being treated. Acupuncture effects are cumulative, so several treatments are usually necessary for chronic medical conditions, while acute conditions may need fewer treatments. The treatments are then tapered down as needed for maintenance.

What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?

Acupuncture can be used to treat an endless array of conditions. Some common veterinary applications include:

  • Degenerative joint disease (arthritis)
  • Neurological disease (seizures, disc disease)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Renal disease
  • Skin disease (allergies, lick granulomas)
  • Urogenital disease (incontinence)
  • Immune-mediated disease
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Post operative healing
  • Behavioral issues
  • Respiratory problems (feline asthma)
  • Gastrointestinal problems (inflammatory bowel disease and diarrhea)
  • Sports injuries
  • Side effects related to cancer

Is acupuncture safe for animals?

Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects fo acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. Acupuncture can result in a temporary relaxed state, which can be misinterpreted as lethargy or a worsening of the condition for up to 48 hours after treatment. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in your pet’s condition. If needed, your veterinarian will adjust the treatment at the next visit. Acupuncture needles are sterile and never reused, so infection from the needle site is extremely rare. Any concerns that you have about the treatment should be discussed with your veterinarian.

If you would like to learn more about pet acupuncture, please call us to discuss your pet’s conditions and if this option will provide relief.