What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
How does acupuncture work? Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles into specific points on the body. This works along with the central nervous system and the ancient Chinese concept of “Qi” to stimulate points and redirect the energy. This releases stagnation and can help alleviate pain as well as treat other ailments.
What can acupuncture do for my pet? Acupuncture can relieve pain and help treat many chronic illnesses. It has been proven to work along with Western medicine and treatment plans as well as it can replace parts or even all of those plans. Acupuncture along with herbal therapy, and food therapies reduce the use of Western medications, helping to alleviate the risk of long term side effects from those medicines. Occasionally, it can replace standard treatment plans, forgoing the need for surgery or invasive and expensive procedures.
What medical conditions does it treat? Acupuncture and Holistic Medicine can help treat (but is not limited to):
- Pain Management from aging, arthritis, post surgery, hip dysplasia, IVDD and others.
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Cardiovascular disease
- Immunological disorders
- Behavioral disorders
- Anxiety problems
- Neurological disorders
Acupuncture is going to “cure” my pet, right? Acupuncture does not typically “cure” most disorders it is used to treat. The majority of these issues are chronic disorders which are seldom cured. The use of acupuncture will help decrease the need for medications, surgeries, and make the patient more comfortable. We do see drastic improvement in the health of the patient when on an acupuncture plan and a significant decrease in symptoms.
What should I expect in a first visit? The first visit consists of a consultation with the doctor. There is an extensive review of the patient’s medical history and day to day life. The doctor will evaluate the patient’s condition and may request x-rays or blood work in order to fully evaluate the condition and create a treatment plan. The first visit typically takes the longest, as the doctor reviews everything with you. Once a plan is established the visits are much shorter.
How often will we have to do it? Each treatment plan is individualized to the needs of the patient and the timing of treatments may vary. However, typically the patient should get treatment once a week for the first 6 weeks and then usually becomes an every other week then a once a month schedule. As the patient improves, the duration between lengthens. Some patients do well getting treatment every other month and others come once a week. Every visit will be evaluated by the doctor and plans will get adjusted based on how the patient is responding.
Will I see results right away? Every acupuncture case and patient is different. Some cases, the owner will note that there is immediate improvement in symptoms; others take longer to start seeing the effects of the treatment. Just like with any course of therapy for long-term ailments, acupuncture can take multiple sessions before the improvements are seen. It is important to keep in mind that even after the patient starts to improve, follow up treatments are important to help maintain!
Is it painful? Acupuncture uses very thin sterile needles that are smaller than needles used for other medical needs. This allows the point to be stimulated with very little to no pain. Occasionally there is a brief moment of sensitivity when the needle penetrates the skin, but most animals relax after initial contact. If a patient does seem to react to a point, it generally means that the point is not in harmony with the rest of the meridian and stimulation was needed to help release the stagnation!
My pet is on a lot of medications, is it safe to add on acupuncture? Medication or supplements do not adversely interact with acupuncture treatment, allowing it to be safely added on to current treatment plans or in some cases, used as a substitute.
My dog has long hair and we accidentally took a needle home! What do I do? A needle left in for longer is not going to hurt your dog. If you find one, simply gently pull it out and dispose of it.
There is blood! Is that bad? TCVM treatments rejoice in blood appearing at an acupuncture site! Some forms of acupuncture actually intentionally make the patient bleed a little. When blood appears it is an indication that the Qi is beginning to move and stagnation is being released!
I wasn’t paying attention and my dog ate a needle! What do I do? Don’t panic! The needles used in acupuncture are very small and flexible and should pass easily. We recommend feeding the dog a bulky, fibrous meal to help “trap” the needle and push it along. You may monitor the stool, but it should pass in 2-5 days!
Acupuncture Costs & Plans
Typically we recommend 3-4 initial treatments to see if a patient is going to respond favorably to acupuncture and if it is going to be of benefit to the patient. If we are seeing no changes or improvement in the pet after 3-4 treatments then acupuncture is less likely to be beneficial for them overall. We have tried to establish packages based on these principals.
Each of the plans includes using one or more modalities of acupuncture at a treatment, i.e it is the same cost when dry needle acupuncture is used or electroacupuncture is used.
- Initial Consult, set up and first treatment – $90
- Individual treatment – $70
- 4 sessions of acupuncture – $240
- 6 sessions of acupuncture – $360
- Focal treatment- one particular area (eye, joint, ect) – $25
Each plan is for one particular pet/patient and cannot be shared between pets, i.e if a package of 6 is purchased, 2 pets cannot each receive 6 treatments.