What is acupuncture and how is it used to help treat our companion animals?
Acupuncture is the act of placing small, sterile needles into specific locations on the animals body for a therapeutic effect. The small needles activate nerve fibers which release neurotransmitters (certain hormones and chemical substances). These neurotransmitters can help with pain, inflammation, and tissue repair.
Modern acupuncture has been derived from Chinese acupuncture. Instead of relying on metaphors such as “Qi -a vital energy” to describe the body’s response to treatment, we apply our advanced knowledge of anatomy and physiology to describe the effect on the body. Many evidence-based studies have shown the scientific benefits of acupuncture.
Most commonly, acupuncture is used in dogs and cats with chronic disorders. Commonly treated conditions include nerve disorders, musculoskeletal problems, dermatologic diseases, digestive ailments, and chronic respiratory issues. Acupuncture can also be helpful in a myriad of other conditions.
Generally, animals tolerate the needle placement well and acupuncture treatments can relax them. Rarely, acupuncture can temporarily worsen a condition. Overall, acupuncture is a safe addition to our modern medicine.
Most animals will start with one to two sessions per week for several weeks. Usually we see an improvement within the first few treatments, but every patient is different.
Here’s a great resource regarding acupuncture for your pet: Acupuncture for Pets
Please feel free to contact Dr. Zeh with any questions you may have about acupuncture in your pet! If you would like to schedule an appointment for your pet to start acupuncture or for any other reason then please give us a call or click here.