Veterinary Acupuncture By HolisticalVets
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What is veterinary acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very thin, sterile needles into certain points on the body, with the goal of providing beneficial and therapeutic effects. It has been used for over 5,000 years and there have been multiple scientific studies showing its benefits.
Other techniques, some of which are listed below and are also offered by HolisticalVets, are also included under the acupuncture umbrella:
- Electroacupuncture (which is great for painful issues) is when electrical stimulation is used to encourage a prolonged therapeutic and beneficial response
- Aqua-acupuncture is when a safe, sterile liquid is injected in certain points to extend the beneficial effects of acupuncture
- Moxibustion (which is great for cold animals or animals that live in cold environments) is when certain points are warmed up to encourage blood flow and decrease cold
- Hemoacupuncture (most often used in horses) is when blood is drawn to decrease heat, and therefore pain, from the body
Dozer enjoying a mix of dry needle acupuncture and electroacupuncture while waiting for treats.
Does veterinary acupuncture hurt?
Rarely! A huge percentage of pets (over 95%!) are comfortable when it comes to acupuncture, and many will even fall asleep during treatment. That, plus treats? Can’t beat that!
How does veterinary acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works by sending nerve impulses to the brain. These impulses are triggered by acupuncture needles being placed in key areas, which house clusters of nerves in the body. These nerve impulses encourage the brain to pay particular attention to the targeted areas of the body, resulting in the brain being focused on reducing pain and promoting healing and therapy from within.
Numerous studies (many of which can be found on pubmed.gov) back up the effectiveness of acupuncture and indicate that acupuncture releases feel-good hormones (e.g., endorphins and serotonin) in the body. Those studies have also known that acupuncture provides pain relief, tissue healing, gastrointestinal motility, anti-inflammatory effects, regulation of the immune system, and more!
Is veterinary acupuncture safe?
When performed by a veterinarian that’s trained and certified in veterinary acupuncture and the necessary precautions are taken (for example, not inserting needles in a lump or mass), acupuncture is usually very safe and can be used on many different kinds of species. If needed, it can also be combined with conventional/Western medicine to help pets get the best of both worlds medically.
What can veterinary acupuncture be used for?
Acupuncture can be effective for many disorders and problems, including (but not limited to):
- Musculoskeletal (e.g., arthritis, joint diseases, back pain, muscle soreness or spasms, sore feet, weakness, mobility problems, tendon/ligament injuries, etc.)
- Gastrointestinal (e.g., diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, nausea, ulcers, etc.)
- Neurological (e.g., IVDD, seizures, nerve paralysis, etc.)
- Skin problems (e.g., ear infections, lick granulomas, allergies, inability to sweat, etc.)
- Respiratory (e.g., asthma, coughing, sneezing, heaves, etc.)
- Diseases affecting organs (e.g., kidney disease, incontinence, heart disease, hypo- or hyperthyroidism, liver disease, eye problems, Cushing’s disease, Addison’s disease, fertility problems, etc.)
- Behavioral problems (e.g., anxiety, stress, sleeping problems, etc.)
- Autoimmune diseases
- Cancer, quality of life, hospice care
- Slowing down of disease
- Preventative therapy
- Performance enhancement for competitions
- And so much more!
Noodle enjoying dry needle acupuncture.
Are results guaranteed with veterinary acupuncture? If so, how soon can I expect improvement?
Often times, holistic medicine and treatments require more time and effort from everyone involved and since holistic medicine is not a quick fix, overnight resolution is uncommon. Most conditions need 4-6 treatments before the effectiveness of the treatment can be accurately assessed (even though it can be common for pet owners to notice an improvement after the first treatment).
While conventional/Western medicine may provide faster results, holistic medicine helps set the foundation and attempts to balance out the scales in hopes of improving health and providing a better quality of life. Regardless of the type of medicine used, whether holistic or conventional, every animal is unique and may or may not respond to treatment in different ways and just like with conventional/Western measures, there are no guarantees in medicine.
Holistic medicine can be helpful for a multitude of problems that may afflict pets (and secondarily, their owners). These problems are not just limited to diseases and illnesses affecting muscles, bones, and nerves, but also those that affect behavior, the skin and other organs, the immune system, and so much more.
While some conditions may be able to be resolved completely, other times (just like in Western medicine) there are afflictions that cannot be resolved (or if they can be, only partially). Often times, especially if the condition is chronic or at or near end-stage, the goal is to simply extend the pet’s quality of life and to slow down or possibly halt the progression of the disease/illness for as long as feasibly possible.
What are my pet's options if they don't like needles?
Most of the time, pets don’t seem to mind acupuncture since the needles are incredibly thin. However, for animals that aren’t big fans, HolisticalVets LLC is able to offer Tui-na, which is just like acupuncture, but without the needles. Essentially, by utilizing chiropractic and medical manipulation techniques, our veterinarians can stimulate acupressure points and provide the same benefits that acupuncture does. To learn more about Tui-na, please click here.