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Acupuncture is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has been used for over 5,000 years. Traditional Chinese Medicine theory holds that Qi (vital energy) flows throughout the body along energetic channels called meridians. Each meridian is also associated with a specific internal organ, which reflects the physiological and pathological conditions of that organ. The meridians connect the exterior of the body with the interior.


Acupuncture points are located along these meridians, and, when stimulated, can relieve pain and restore normal body functions. Acupuncture points have specific locations and effects and have been documented over millennia. From a Western perspective, acupuncture has been shown to stimulate a variety of sensory nerves in the body that transmit the signal through the nervous system to the brain, which then releases various chemicals that produce multiple physiologic effects that activate the body’s homeostatic regulatory mechanisms.


Acupuncture Techniques Used at SCVH:

  • Acupressure (manual): The stimulation of acupoints using finger pressure.
  • Acupuncture (needles): Sterile disposable stainless steel needles are inserted into the acupoints on the body.
  • Electroacupuncture (electrical current): Electronic alternating current devices provide very strong stimulation to acupuncture points. Acupuncture needles are placed and then electrical leads that fit around the needles are attached. The strength of the stimulus is adjustable. EAP is typically used for acute and chronic pain and is the technique of choice for intervertebral disc disease with paralysis and other cases where nervous tissue damage is present.
  • Aquapuncture (water): Allows the treatment to last longer and is used in animals that do not accept the needles well.


Acupuncture FAQ:

Is acupuncture safe?


Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals, when it is administered properly by a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist. Side effects are rare and are usually sleepiness or lethargy for 24-48 hours following treatment.


Does acupuncture hurt?


Over 95% of animals are comfortable with acupuncture. Some animals will even relax to the point of falling asleep during their treatment. Sedation is not recommended, as this may interfere with the healing effects of acupuncture.


How long does an acupuncture treatment last?


Stimulation of an acupoint can vary, depending on the technique used and the condition treated. The first appointment will include a Traditional Chinese Medicine exam with the veterinarian, which will take an additional 20-30 minutes before the first acupuncture treatment. Each individual treatment will take 20-30 minutes.


How often will my pet need acupuncture?


The frequency of treatments depends on the nature, severity, and duration of the disease. In some acute cases, only 1 or 2 treatments may be needed, whereas, with chronic conditions, a series of 3 to 10 treatments may be warranted. Some degenerative conditions may need monthly treatments over time. Typically, most animals need weekly treatments over 4 to 6 weeks for best results.


How long does it take to see the benefits?


Results vary from animal to animal. In some cases, a response can be seen after one to two treatments, however, to achieve a maximum positive response, it typically will take approximately 4 to 6 weekly treatments. Acupuncture treatments build upon each other, and a series of treatments is necessary. After a maximum response is achieved, acupuncture treatments are tapered to a maintenance schedule that depends on the individual animal.


How can acupuncture help my pet?


Indications for acupuncture may include:


- Cancer support
- Pain management
- Post-operative rehabilitation
- Chronic conditions
- Intervertebral Disc (spinal) Disease
- Arthritis
- Autoimmune disorders
- Epilepsy
- Anxiety
- Shen Disturbance