Alternative Medicine


What is Acupuncture?

Medical acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body, usually involving the insertion of fine, sterile needles, which have the ability to change chemistry and function of the body in order to achieve a healing effect. Veterinary medical acupuncture has evolved and grown since its origination from Traditional Chinese Medicine. In North America it has been used for decades, in both domestic and exotic animals, with proven results. Acupuncture is one of a variety of therapies a veterinarian may use to treat your pet.


How Does Acupuncture Work?

Veterinary medical acupuncture is a research and evidence based therapeutic method that uses needling to activate nerve fibers near a specific point. By stimulating these nerve fibers we can release muscle tension and balance neurotransmitter activity from the peripheral nervous system (individual nerves) to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). For example, acupuncture is used to stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and results in the release of natural pain relieving hormones such as endorphins.


What Are Some Benefits Of Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is known to have therapeutic effects in a wide variety of animal diseases. Pain modification is an important application of veterinary medical acupuncture, but there are much wider applications as well.

Examples of conditions where veterinary medical acupuncture may be used are:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders, including inflammatory and motility problems
  • Respiratory problems, including recurrent infections, asthma and sinusitis
  • Musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis, tendinitis, back/neck/knee pain
  • Dermatological problems, including immune related allergies/skin disease
  • Neurologic disorders, such as disk disease, spinal cord problems, and peripheral neuropathy


How Long Do Acupuncture Treatments Last, And How Often Are They Needed?

The length and number of treatments depends on each individual patient and condition. For conditions that have been present for a long time, one to two treatments per week for several weeks may be needed to make a meaningful difference. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may be for as little as 10 seconds or as long as 30 minutes. A positive response to acupuncture is generally noted within the first few treatments.


Can Acupuncture Be Combined With Other Types Of Veterinary Medicine?

Acupuncture is useful as an adjunct therapy to manage post-operative pain and to speed healing after injuries. However, as a complete and well-developed system of medicine, acupuncture is effective as the sole form of treatment for most conditions, and is used that way by skilled practitioners. Using several therapies simultaneously can make it difficult to determine which therapies are of the most benefit to the patient.


What Is The Cost Of Acupuncture?

Comprehensive acupuncture treatment involves a taking a thorough history and complete physical examination, followed by a patient assessment and formulation of a treatment plan. It rarely involves a single visit, and costs will vary according to the specific condition being treated, the equipment required and the response of the patient.


Who Can Perform Acupuncture Therapy?

When choosing a veterinary acupuncturist there are two crucial criteria to keep in mind:

  • The acupuncturist must be a licensed veterinarian
  • The acupuncturist should have had formal training in veterinary acupuncture
  • It is illegal to administer acupuncture in most states without a proper license

Dr. Brianna Bodley-Gomes is our veterinarian on staff who performs medical acupuncture and will be happy to discuss acupuncture as a therapeutic option for your pet. Dr. Bodley-Gomes received her acupuncture training from the Chi Institute.

To inquire about scheduling a consultation, give us a call at (978) 249-7967.