Acupuncture is a natural treatment used in holistic medicine. It causes relatively few side effects and has been a practice used in human medicine since the origin of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It's also been used on animals for quite some time as well.
An acupuncture session consists of our doctors inserting needles in certain spots in your pet or animal's body, based on his or her particular issue. The needles are very thin, so they don't cause pain. In Chinese medicine, it's thought that the needles stimulate the flow of energy, which they refer to as qi.
The practitioner specifically applies the needles to different meridians that are aligned with different areas that could benefit the health issue. In Western medicine, practitioners believe that acupuncture points focus on the connective tissue, nerves, and muscles. Additionally, it's also thought that the needles stimulate the body to produce certain natural painkillers.
What We Use Pet Acupuncture for
In many of our patients with pain, we recommend acupuncture, in particular, for soft tissue pain. Besides pain relief, acupuncture may also have an impact on inflammation, which is ideal for our patients with acute injuries and arthritis. It's thought that acupuncture may also help with the immune system.
Your pet may benefit from acupuncture's ability to increase microcirculation. This refers to the circulation of blood through your pet's smallest blood vessels -- the venules, metarterioles, terminal arterioles, and capillaries. They're located throughout your pet's body including in his or her organ tissue.
We may recommend acupuncture for other reasons as well.
Evaluation Before Acupuncture
Our doctors perform an evaluation before conducting acupuncture to ensure it's safe for your pet. The first part of this evaluation consists of gathering information about your pet's medical history. We want to make sure he or she doesn't have any conditions that acupuncture could make worse. Our practitioner will also conduct a visual examination and assess the location of the issue.
We won't use acupuncture if the root of your pet's pain is from a fracture or infectious condition. We also can't apply the needles in an open wound. For these issues, your pet will need to have another treatment better suited for his or her issue. Our vets won't conduct acupuncture on a pregnant animal.
At your pet's appointment, we may also conduct blood work or imaging to ensure the safety of the procedure.
What to Expect During Your Pet's Acupuncture
Once our doctors determine that acupuncture is safe for your pets, they will determine the cause of your pet's pain or other symptoms and decide if acupuncture could benefit your pet.
During the procedure, our doctors applies ultra-thin needles into specific parts of your pet's body. The needles consist of stainless steel and are flexible. Additionally, we only use fresh needles to avoid the risk of infecting your pet.
Our doctors will apply five to 30 needles, depending on your pet's condition. We leave the needles in position for anywhere between five to 30 minutes. The entire session will last from 20 to 60 minutes.
Sometimes, our patients only require one treatment if they have an acute condition. However, in most cases, between three to five are necessary. For pets with degenerative conditions, or to prevent recurring issues, your pet may benefit from routine acupuncture sessions.
Acupuncture may help lessen your pet's pain and other symptoms without side effects. Generally, the treatment is safe. Plus, our doctors tailor the treatment to your pet's particular needs. To learn more about acupuncture treatments for your pets, or to schedule an appointment, contact Arrow Animal Hospital today at (505) 865-1826.