Acupuncture is one of a variety of therapies that we might use to treat your pet or exotic pet. Its stands for: acus- needle punctura- puncture
Dr. Seto is using her own hand to demonstrate how painless the needles are. She has a special interest in animal acupuncture.
According to Chinese philosophy, disease is an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture rectifies this imbalance, therefore, correcting the flow of energy on the body (chi). It is the stimulation of specific points on the body which have the ability to alter the physiology of your pet or exotic pet. It is a means of helping the body heal itself. Acupuncture has been used successfully for 4000 years on animals and humans alike. And, it is the treatment of choice for one quarter of the world’s people for many problems.
Acupuncture bridges the gap between medicine and surgery. In the western world it is used primarily when medications are not working or are contraindicated. It is also used when surgery is not feasible. In contrast, in China it is used as the primary treatment.
In select cases in small animals acupuncture is used for:
- musculoskeletal problems like hip dysplasia
- disk disease
- skin problems like lick granulomas
- nerve disorders
- respiratory problems like feline asthma
- various other ailments.
Acupuncture works by stimulating the central nervous system. This has significant impact on the musculoskeletal, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems. How it works depends on what condition is being treated and which acupuncture points are being used.
It relieves pain, increases circulation, and stimulates release of neurotransmitters and neurohormones in the animal. The endorphins that are released are natural pain killers, and muscle spasms are relieved while the defense system is stimulated.
It is performed with sterilized thin stainless steel needles. The needle penetrates the skin rapidly with minimal sensation. The endorphins released by needling can cause the patient to relax and sometimes fall asleep during the treatment, or later at home. In some cases, the patient’s symptoms may appear worse for a short time after treatment, then improve a few hours later, and by the next day at the latest.
Acupuncture is one of the safest treatment modalities available, especially in comparison to drugs. Side effects are rare. Treatment may last from 10 seconds to 30 minutes, depending of course upon the condition treated and the method employed. Patients are often treated 1-3 times per week for a total of 4-6 weeks. A positive response is often noticed within the first 4-6 treatments.
It is sometimes used in combination with laser therapy and VNA. In all of these treatment modalities, drugs are not used, just the bodys’ natural healing processes. It does not work in all pets, but is worth a try in select cases because it usually has some effect and we don’t have to put your pet on drugs necessarily.