At Shiloh Veterinary Hospital we strive to provide the most comprehensive care for all animals. We are thrilled to now offer medical acupuncture as one of many tools for pain management. Dr. Andy Anderson is certified in veterinary medical acupuncture to treat dogs, cats, rabbits, pigs, goats, reptiles, and even birds.
What is Medical Acupuncture?
When people think of acupuncture, they generally think of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). They envision needles being inserted in mystical spots in the body and herbal concoctions administered to help the flow of qi, balance yin, and yang, and cleanse toxins. Many aspects of TCM are completely inaccurate and have no scientific basis. There is no such thing as qi, nor are there energy meridians within the body that acupuncture needles can influence. Medical acupuncture dispenses with metaphor and magical thinking and is completely science-based. There are many studies that prove medical acupuncture has a quantifiable benefit for patients and provides relief from numerous issues and ailments.
How Does it Work?
- Acupuncture needles communicate with the nervous system in a process called neuromodulation.
- Increasing blood flow to an area to increase oxygenation and removal of metabolic wastes.
- Stimulating the body to release its own natural pain relievers and anti-inflammatory substances which increases healing and pain relief.
- Needles inserted into tight muscles or “knots” relaxes them, reducing pain and inflammation.
What Can Medical Acupuncture Treat?
Medical acupuncture is a wonderful addition to many medical treatments and in some cases can serve as the sole treatment. A brief listing of treatable conditions is:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Intervertebral Disc Disease
- Post-Surgical Pain Relief
- Cruciate Ligament Pain
- Cancer Pain
- Neurologic Disease
- Feline Asthma
- Renal Disease
- Urinary/fecal Incontinence
- And more
How is it done?
Before any acupuncture treatment can begin, a complete medical workup is necessary. An accurate diagnosis is important for acupuncture to be effective. Depending on the patient, it may be necessary to order blood tests, radiographs, or other diagnostics. A complete examination of the muscles and joints is also done on every acupuncture patient to look for other sources of pain and discomfort.
Once a diagnosis is made, acupuncture points are chosen that will address the specific complaint. Thin, sterile acupuncture needles are gently inserted into the points. Most of the time this is completely painless, although some points can be more sensitive than others.
How Long Does it Take?
The length of each treatment will depend on what is being treated and the patient’s response to therapy. Generally, most visits last 15-20 minutes and are repeated 1-3 times per week until the goal of the therapy is reached. Many patients only need maintenance treatments once every month or so.
Is Medical Acupuncture Safe?
Absolutely. When done by a certified veterinary medical acupuncturist it is very safe and has few to no side effects. Medical acupuncture does not interact with any medications and can be used as an adjunct to many medical and physical therapies. There are no diseases or disorders which would make acupuncture unsafe. Rare side effects may include lethargy and post-treatment soreness.
If you are interested in the science involved in medical acupuncture or just have questions please call.