Acupuncture and Your Pet --
Frequently Asked Questions
in greater detail
How Does Acupuncture Work?
The vital energy of the
body, called Qi (pronounced 'chee'), circulates all through the major organs and the head and
extremities in circulatory channels called meridians. Acupuncture treats
disease by accessing those meridians by the insertion of needles into certain
designated points. If the flow of Qi is smooth and in balance, the pet is
healthy. If it is blocked or disturbed, there is illness or pain. The
stimulation of specific points along the meridians can help to regulate and
balance the flow of energy in the meridians and their related organs, and the
health of the animal can be restored. Acupuncture can be used to treat
diseases, and also to strengthen the body and prevent disease.
What Conditions Can Benefit
There are many situations
where acupuncture is useful, alone or in conjunction with chiropractic and
This is one of the most common ailments that
we see in our clinic. Acupuncture can be quite effective in easing the pain
and increasing the mobility of these animals.
Older animals are especially appreciative of the boost in physical strength
they derive from periodic acupuncture treatments.
Epileptics whose seizures are not adequately controlled by conventional
medication, paralyzed animals who have not responded to conventional
medication, and those with neurologic deficits and loss of control over their
limbs are some examples of patients whose owners found hope and success with
acupuncture treatment for their pets.
Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation can all be effectively treated
Musculoskeletal Strains and Pains
Back soreness, hind end weakness, ligament and tendon damage (though not
rupture) and muscle pain can be significantly eased by acupuncture and
Internal Medical Problems
Liver and kidney disease are well suited to nutritional therapy and can be
helped by acupuncture as well. Best results are seen early in the course of
disease, when establishing energy flow and balancing Qi can have a beneficial
effect, rather than waiting for severe organ damage to occur.
Problems with an animalís disposition can be related to organ imbalance as
well as physical pain, both of which are treatable with acupuncture.
Acupuncture should always
be considered when an animal has not responded to conventional medicine. It
is a tool for us to use in addition to the other wonderful medical and
surgical tools that we as veterinarians can offer your pets.
How Many Treatments are
Each treatment plan is
individualized, depending on the particular animalís condition and response.
For most conditions, we do weekly treatments for the first 3 to 6 visits, and
most beneficial reactions will start within that time. Sometimes that is all
that is needed. In very acute injuries or paralytic conditions, treatments
can be given as often as every other day. It is recommended that you commit
to at least 3 treatments before deciding if acupuncture is right for you and
your pet. As the condition improves, the treatment interval is increased
until no longer necessary, or until we find a maintenance schedule that is
right for the pet. For example, many geriatric pets do well with a treatment
every 6 to 8 weeks.
What is an Acupuncture
When animals come to our clinic for acupuncture, they
are brought into a section of the building that is only used for that
purpose. There are two acupuncture rooms, warmly decorated with human and
animal comfort in mind. Nothing painful happens in those rooms, no traumas,
no blood, no medicinal smells. There are no exam tables; the pet is examined
on a foam pad on the floor, or on someoneís lap. We start with a detailed
history of the problem, which often includes questions about the personality
and habits of the animal. Records from a referring veterinarian are always
appreciated. During this time, the animal is free to wander and explore the
room, allowing observation of his gait and demeanor. Then the hands-on part
of the visit begins, with a chiropractic exam and adjustment. The owner is
encouraged to be right with the animal, and very little restraint is usually
needed. By the time the needles are inserted, the pet is usually relaxed
enough to be distracted by a little scratching behind the ears, and by a few
minutes after all the needles are in, many of them are asleep. It is common
to use about 10 needles per treatment, although very young and very old
animals would be treated with fewer, and those with musculoskeletal problems
would get more. Most needles are left in for 10 to 20 minutes. Some
conditions, especially paralysis, are further helped by electroacupuncture.
This is the application of a small electrical current between needles.
Another technique is aquapuncture, which is the injection of a liquid (usually
vitamin B 12) into acupuncture points for a longer effect. Some conditions
are helped by moxibustion, which is the application of heat through the
needles, using a cigar-like stick of a dried herb called mugwort.
was certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society in 1999.