Progressive, Alternative Veterinary Care at Fairview Veterinary Hospital
Acupuncture is one of four main components of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). It involves the insertion of thin, sterile needles (dry needling) into specific points on the body to cause therapeutic effects. Other methods include: electrical stimulation, moxabustion (heating the needle or applying heat over an acupuncture point using an herbal stick), and aquapuncture (injecting Vitamin B12, for example, into acupuncture points). Acupuncture has been practiced in both animals and humans for thousands of years in China, and is currently used worldwide to treat a variety of conditions.
How Acupuncture Works
The goal of acupuncture is to promote the body to heal itself and involves the insertion of needles into specific points in the body to cause desired healing effects. From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective, acupuncture encourages healing by correcting energy imbalances in the body. While the effects of acupuncture for non–painful medical conditions cannot be fully explained in Western medical terms, research has been conducted showing positive results in the treatment of both animals and humans.
There are many conditions that can be treated using acupuncture. It can be employed separately or used in conjunction with other Western therapies. While you should always consult with us before making any decisions, below is a list of problems that can be addressed using acupuncture:
- Painful conditions (arthritis/degenerative joint disease, hip dysplasia, cruciate disease, back and neck pain)
- Neurologic conditions (paresis/hind end weakness, paralysis, nerve damage, seizures)
- Medical conditions (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, liver/kidney/heart disease, urinary incontinence, immune mediated disease)
- Endocrine disorders (diabetes, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease)
- Dermatologic conditions (chronic ear infections, pruritus, allergies)
- Quality of life (maintenance, enhancement) and hospice care
In addition to the physical examination, we review your pet’s previous medical history, lab work, and x-rays to determine the best course of acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture Treatment: What to Expect
Although treatments vary depending on your pet’s condition, each session generally lasts 10–15 minutes and is performed once a week for 4–6 weeks. Longer intervals may be recommended if a positive effect is observed.
Pets vary in their response to acupuncture. Some show no sensitivity during the placement of needles, and some show discomfort briefly upon insertion (some acupuncture points are more sensitive than others). Generally, once the needles are placed, a pet exhibits no discomfort. During the treatment, pets can become relaxed or even sleepy.