What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complimentary medicine where fine needles are inserted into the body at specific points to help treat various conditions. There are two different approaches to acupuncture – Traditional Chinese acupuncture which is based on the belief that it can restore the flow of Qi, an energy that flows through your body and Western acupuncture which involves the use of acupuncture as a therapy following a clinical diagnosis. Debra is trained in Western Veterinary Acupuncture and here at OBVC she uses this approach.

What conditions can be treated with Acupuncture?

Pain is the most common indication for acupuncture. In dogs and cats this is usually pain associated with arthritis but also muscle strains and pain secondary to disc disease and bony changes in the spine can all respond to acupuncture.

Functional conditions such as constipation and cystitis in cats and irritable bowel type problems in dogs can also sometimes responds as well.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture works through the bodies nervous system. The needles block pain messages and encourages the brain and central nervous system to produce more of the body’s own natural pain killers. In non-painful conditions acupuncture can help to reset some of its normal functions such as gut contractions and increase blood circulation.

Is acupuncture painful?

The insertion of acupuncture needles in cats and dogs is virtually painless, some of them will feel the needles as they are first inserted but once in place there should be no pain. In fact most patients become very relaxed and some even fall asleep.

How often would your pet need to be treated?

The initial course is usually once a week for 4-6 weeks. After 4 weeks we generally know whether acupuncture is working for your pet and then can plan future treatment and management. This usually involves decreasing the frequency of the acupuncture to a point where we get the effect lasting as long as possible with a lot of patients requiring a “top up” every 1-2 months.

Just like with people all animals respond differently to acupuncture so there is not one formula for all patients and there will be some animals that won’t respond at all and if this is the case we can usually tell by the 4th session. But about 80% of animals will have a good response to acupuncture as a treatment option.

If you are concerns about your pets arthritis and/or pain please contact us to discuss further.

Click here for more information on acupuncture to manage chronic pain