What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response, and sometimes includes electrical stimulation or injections at acupuncture points. Each acupuncture point (shu-xu) has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The earliest veterinary acupuncture book is believed to have been written between 659 BCE and 621 BCE.
For Which Conditions is Acupuncture Indicated?
Acupuncture is indicated for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:
· Musculoskeletal problems; arthritis, muscle soreness, back pain, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease.
· Neurological Disorders; seizures, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), laryngeal hemiplegia, nerve paralysis.
· Gastrointestinal problems; diarrhea, gastric ulcers, colic, vomiting, constipation, and impactions.
· Other chronic problems; cough, asthma, Cushing’s disease, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, weakness, skin problems.
· Quality of life, maintenance, enhancement and hospice care.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Although acupuncture has its roots in ancient times, many modern studies have been done to indicate how acupuncture works and what physiologic effects are induced. Using functional MRI (fMRI) to examine 15 different points, the basic tenets of acupuncture have been proven. Stimulation of these points results in specific changes in the central nervous system.
In western medical terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by inducing physiological changes:
· Pain relief
· Promotion of tissue healing processes
· Regulation of gastrointestinal motility
· Anti-inflammatory effects
· Hormone and reproductive regulation
· Anti-febrile effects
Is Acupuncture Painful?
For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless, and once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Rarely, acupuncture may cause sensations, presumed to be tingles, cramps, or numbness.
Is Acupuncture Safe for Animals?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.
How Safe is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture should never be administered without a proper veterinary medical diagnosis and an ongoing assessment of the patient’s condition by a licensed veterinarian. This is critical because acupuncture is capable of masking pain or other clinical signs and may delay proper veterinary medical diagnosis once treatment has begun. Elimination of pain may lead to increased activity on the part of the animal, thus delaying healing or causing the original condition to worsen.
In general, acupuncture can be effectively combined with most conventional and alternative therapies. Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists have the comprehensive training, knowledge and skill to understand the interactions between different forms of treatment and to interpret the patient’s response to therapy.
The American Veterinary Medical Association considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery.
Please call Delhomme Animal Clinic at 337-442-6303 to schedule your pet’s first visit and consultation with Dr. Arielle.