Acupuncture is defined as placing fine needles into specific areas of the body to achieve therapeutic effect. Originating in China, acupuncture has been used in veterinary practice for at least 3,000 years. Today, acupuncture is used all over the world to treat disease either alone or as a compliment to Western Medicine. An Acupucturist uses sterile needles, hypodermic needles, electricity heat, lasers and massage to stimulate acupuncture points.
Acupuncture is not a cure-all, but can work very well when it is indicated. In small animals, acupuncture is often used to treat pain and can also be considered for the following conditions:
•Musculoskeletal problems, such as osteoarthritis, sprains, or disc disease
•Dermatological problems, such as lick granulomas
•Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
•Gastrointestinal problems, such as inflammatory bowel disease or inappetance
•Cardiovascular, renal disease and epilepsy as well as certain behavioral problems
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, disease is the result of an energetic imbalance in the body. The body no longer works in harmony. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy thus allowing the body to heal. In Western terms, acupuncture can assist the body's natural ability to heal itself by stimulating nerves, increasing blood flow, relieving muscle spasms, and causing a release of hormones such as endorphins (a natural pain control chemical) and cortisol (a natural anti-inflammatory chemical).
When acupuncture is performed by a properly trained veterinarian it is one of the safest medical treatments for animals. Side effects are rare, but can occur. An animal may necome sleepy or lethargic for 24 hours after acupuncture or their condition may seem worse up to 48 hours after treatment. These effects indicate that some physiological changes are occurring and are most often followed by an improvement in the animal's condition.
The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the patient's condition. Acupuncture visits may take 15 to 60 minutes each visit. Stimulation of an acupuncture point may take as little as 1 minute to 30 minutes. Acute conditions may need only 1-2 treatments, where as a more severe or chronic condition may require weeks of treatments. Patients will often begin with 1-3 treatments each week for 4-6 weeks. Response to treatment is usually seen after the first to fourth treatment. Once a maximum positive response is achieved, treatments are decreased. Chronic conditions can often be maintained with 4-6 treatments each year.
CATS, CATS, CATS . . . . . don’t forget about treating cats with acupuncture for their aches and pain. Acupuncture can be extremely effective for osteoarthritis and kidney disease, most cats find acupuncture to be a very enjoyable experience!
When Should acupuncture be considered?
How does acupuncture work?
What are the side effects of acupuncture?
How long do acupuncuture treatments take and how often are they given?