Acupuncture involves the insertion very small needles into specific locations on the body to stimulate the body’s own natural healing mechanisms. The specific acupuncture points lie along energy channels in the body called meridians. Stimulating specific meridians helps to bring the body back into balance which helps to treat and prevent illness. Acupuncture has been proven to release natural pain relief substances like endorphins and serotonin. Other effects of acupuncture include; stimulating nerves, increasing blood flow, relieving muscle spasms and decreasing inflammation.
Ideal patients for acupuncture treatment are pets with back pain or long-term arthritic conditions, sudden knee or shoulder pain or injury, as well as pets with any condition that hasn’t responded well to traditional medical therapy.
Acupuncture appointments are typically an hour in length. The first appointment is a thorough review of medical records, conditions and a traditional physical exam. Our veterinarian will then perform a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medical (TCVM) exam which includes assessing the tongue and pulses as well as an in depth review of your pet’s personality traits and behavioral preferences. This allows the TCVM practitioner to assess the overall health of your pet in a more holistic way. After the initial evaluation, the first session of acupuncture is performed. Acupuncture sessions may be recommended weekly to monthly depending on the pet’s condition and response to treatment. In many cases, an herbal supplement is recommended to enhance the effects of the acupuncture sessions.
At Northwest Animal Hospital, our approach to treating patients is to use both standard western medical options like traditional veterinarians, in addition to complementary therapies like acupuncture and herbal supplementations. Our veterinarians are trained in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine as Certified Veterinary Acupuncturists from the Chi Institute. Certification requires the completion of a 130 hour course, practical and written testing and advanced acupuncture training or an internship and typically takes about a year of studying to become certified.