What can Acupuncture be used for?
Acupuncture can be used alone or combined with other therapies to help with numerous issues including; musculoskeletal (hip and elbow dysplasia, cruciate ruptures, arthritis), neurologic (IVDD, paralysis, seizures), cardiovascular, GI (vomiting, diarrhea, constipation), respiratory (URI, sinusitis, asthma, cough), dermatologic (skin and ear allergies and infections), urinary (kidney disease, cystitis), immunologic (FeLV, FIV, stomatitis, IBD), neoplasia, reproductive (irregular estrus cycles, infertility), geriatric (quality of life, overall support, stiffness and pain relief), and trigger points.
How does Acupuncture work?
Small sterile stainless-steel needles are inserted into various points. Local irritation caused by needle insertion leads to microtrauma of tissue resulting in increased blood flow to the area, increased immune response, and relaxation of muscles and tissues.
Scientific investigations have shown that accumulations of free nerve endings, small arterioles, veins and lymphatics, and tissue mast cells are located at the acupuncture point. Stimulation of points results in degranulation of mast cells, activation of the inflammatory cascade, alterations in blood and lymph flow, and conduction of nerve impulses to the CNS.
What will happen during an Acupuncture appointment?
An Acupuncture appointment will start out with a discussion on concerns. What is your companion doing that has you concerned? Have any diagnostics been performed (lab work, radiographs, ultrasound)? What has been tried to remedy these issues (diet, supplements, medications)? Has anything helped?
A thorough physical exam will be performed to evaluate the health of your companion. Any abnormal findings along with realistic goals and possible diagnostics are discussed.
The Acupuncture treatment is best performed in a quiet environment on a relaxed animal, which makes our new mobile service an ideal option. Either at the hospital or in your own home, your companion needs to either lay or sit while acupuncture needs are inserted and left in place for approximately 6-20 minutes. This is usually accomplished with affection and treats and most animals stay calm (some may even sleep), while others may need gentle restraint to inhibit movement.
How often will my companion need to be treated?
Generally, chronic conditions are treated every 7-14 days while acute conditions are treated every 2-3 days. Treatments continue until either: a) the animal has improved to a certain point but does not improve significantly more with further treatments (treatment plateau), or b) no improvements are seen after eight treatments.
When an animal reaches a treatment plateau, treatments are then based on how well the animal stays improved for a certain length of time. For example, your companion may do well for three weeks but start to decline by the fourth, so a treatment every 3-4 weeks should be appropriate.
Other treatment options may include Aquapuncture (injection of a liquid into an acupuncture point) or Electroacupuncture (electrodes are hooked up to placed needles and electrical energy is applied).
What will I see?
As with humans, each individual animal will respond differently and realistic improvements depend on what issue is being treated (ie. decreasing the frequency of seizures and the amount of medication used for epileptic patients). While some patients improve after the first treatment, others require several treatments before improvements are seen.
An overall increased sense of well-being (eating, playing, sleeping, decreased pain) is usually seen, which can be especially beneficial to our geriatric companions.