Acupuncture is a medical practice that is thousands of years old. The earliest veterinary acupuncture book was believed to have been written around 621 B.C. The Chinese believed that the health of the body depended on the state of the Qi (pronounced chee). Qi is the life force or vital energy of the body. Qi maintains the balance of Yin and Yang, and when the balance, or flow of Qi, is upset then disease can occur.
Today, modern research shows us that acupuncture points, found by trial and error thousands of years ago, are actually the locations of highly dense areas of free nerve endings, blood vessels and lymphatics. Stimulation of these special points causes release of endorphins, serotonins and other neurotransmitters that can give pain relief and increase blood flow.
Acupuncture is very safe when performed by a qualified acupuncturist. Very few side effects have been found in clinical cases. Sometimes, the pet will be slightly more uncomfortable for a day after the treatment. Improvement in the condition being treated is many times seen with the first treatment, but typically 3 to 10 treatments are necessary to resolve chronic issues. Some degenerative issues can need ongoing monthly treatment.
Physiological effects induced by acupuncture include:
- Pain relief
- Regulation of gastrointestinal motility
- Immune regulation
- Hormone and reproductive regulation
- Anti-febrile effect
For what conditions is acupuncture indicated?
- Musculoskeletal problems: muscle soreness, back pain, disc problems, arthritis, degenerative joint disease.
- Neurological disorders: seizures, laryngeal paralysis, nerve paralysis
- Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, gastric ulcers, vomiting, constipation and impaction
- Chronic conditions: Cushings disease, asthma, hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, kidney failure, skin problems, palliative cancer therapy, wound healing and more.
Acupuncture is a wonderful modality for all ages and species of animals. It is minimally invasive and has minimal potential adverse effects. It can be used in combination with most medications and can often times reduce the doses necessary for treatment.
Acupuncture therapy is different for each animal. Dr. Zenker will perform a detailed evaluation/examination on their first visit. The initial evaluation will include the first treatment and subsequent treatments will be determined at that time. If you feel acupuncture could benefit your pet, please call and set up an appointment.