Acupuncture is both an art and science that dates back to 2500 BCE where it was first described for people and then animals. Today, acupuncture and herbal therapies are part of what is commonly known as Integrative Medicine which brings both Eastern and Western medicine together to provide the best care for patients whether human or animal.
Acupuncture decreases pain and inflammation and therefore can be considered for such conditions as: arthritis, allergies and itching, recurrent ear and or urinary infections, inflammatory intestinal problems, seizures, and post-operative pain, to mention just a few indications. As part of an integrative program acupuncture and herbal therapies may help reduce the dosage of medications that your pet presently takes and or offer options to those veterinary patients who have reactions to certain drugs or treatments.
Needles in Pets, Does It Hurt?
Acupuncture is not a painful procedure as the needles used are much thinner than those used in Western medicine, roughly twice the thickness of a human hair. Acupuncture needles have a solid point that easily slips into tissue usually without causing skin damage or bruising. Therefore acupuncture needles push the muscle and other tissues out of their way rather than cutting like conventional Western needles. In fact a majority of animal patients don’t even notice the needle being placed in a specific acupuncture point on their body. Many dogs and cats become very relaxed after the needles are placed.
How Does an Acupuncturist Select the Right Points?
Success with acupuncture requires a diagnosis which is determined by a thorough history, in many cases more detailed than what one might expect and a thorough Chinese medical examination which will include evaluation of the patient’s tongue and pulse. The diagnosis will differ from that of a Western one where your veterinarian may have diagnosed allergies but the Chinese diagnosis might be defined as Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat. Many older patients (dogs and cats) are brought in because of severe arthritis or degenerative joint disease which would be diagnosed as Bi Syndrome according to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). Acupuncture treatment points are determined according to these TCVM conditions.
How Quickly Will I See Results?
While some clients report positive changes after their pet’s initial visit, most patients require 6 to 8 treatments spaced 7-14 days apart to evaluate their benefit. In some cases, improved results can be accomplished when acupuncture is coupled with herbal therapies and or physical therapy such as underwater treadmill workouts.
What About Treatment Cost?
Most of our clients consider the cost very reasonable. Treatment packages are available to minimize the expense and many pet health insurance policies will also cover part of the cost. For more specific information contact one of our two facilities listed in the “contact tab.”