Acupuncture

Dr. Syngajewski at our hospital offers Acupuncture Services for your pet, and it may be recommended as a preventative measure or to help treat disease.

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that is believed to stimulate the flow of energy forces that nourish tissues, stimulate blood flow, and enhance body systems. According to ancient Chinese medical theory, the life force (called qi or ch'i) flows through the body via 14 invisible channels known as meridians, regulating all physical and mental processes. Opposing forces within the body (called yin and yang), must be balanced to keep ch'i flowing properly. The meridians run deep within the body's tissues and organs, surfacing at some 360 places identified as acupuncture points, which are often areas where nerves and blood vessels meet. Stimulating these points is said to balance and restore the flow of ch'i, and can enhance blood circulation, improve healing, and stimulate the nervous system. Acupuncture improves blood flow, which increases oxygenation of tissues. It relaxes muscles both where the needle is inserted, and muscles located elsewhere in the body, so it relieves pain both locally and generally. By stimulating the release of naturally occurring pain relieving and anti-inflammatory substances, acupuncture may decrease the amount of pain medications needed to treat these dogs.

Acupuncture is done by inserting thin, smooth, solid needles into the acupuncture points. The depth of insertion, type of stimulation, and duration of treatment vary according to the disease or the condition being treated.

Veterinary acupuncturists may use needles alone, needles with electrical stimulation, or stimulation using a specific type of laser. Research studies on acupuncture are limited, but anecdotal information suggests it may be helpful in the treatment of pain, hip dysplasia, chronic digestive disturbances, lick granuloma, epilepsy, and other miscellaneous conditions in pets. 

The initial consultation for an acupuncture appointment involves a general medical assessment, which includes a review of the pet's previous medical history, lab tests, radiographs, and current medical therapy. The veterinary acupuncturist will perform his or her own physical examination, discuss treatment options, and explain exactly what happens during an acupuncture session. Even though patients may be a little nervous in a new clinical setting, most become very relaxed after needle insertion. Depending on the conditions addressed, the actual session may last 20-30 minutes. The doctor outlines a treatment protocol that may involve one to three sessions per week for several weeks. Often, the number of sessions is tapered off as the dog improves, so visits are scheduled less frequently.

The effects of acupuncture treatment are cumulative so there is a benefit to repeated sessions, but the goal is to achieve the greatest degree of improvement and maintain that level with the fewest treatments necessary. There are few side effects with acupuncture, but some dogs may be sore or stiff following a treatment session, while other patients appear tired. These symptoms usually resolve within 24-48 hours. 

Ask your veterinarian if acupuncture may be right for your pet.

(Some information gathered from LifeLearn ClientEd Online services.)

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