While you may think of acupuncture as a treatment for humans, pets can also benefit from this 3000-year-old practice. Acupuncture uses the precise placement of thin needles to stimulate nerve centers, improve blood circulation and release pain relieving hormones.
Similarly to humans, when your pet undergoes acupuncture, the veterinarian will insert tiny needles into their skin at specific points. This traditional Chinese veterinary medicine is virtually painless and aids in relaxing muscle tissue, oxygenating the surrounding area and allowing the body to heal rapidly. Shallowford Animal Hospital is proud to offer pet acupuncture services, and our team looks forward to helping your pet feel their best.
Why Would My Pet Need Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a beneficial treatment at all stages of life and is a standard alternative and complementary therapy for companion animals like horses, dogs and cats. If your pet is nervous in a new environment or moves around often, you may need to restrain them to keep them still during the procedure. After the first visit, many pets tend to sit and lie quietly for all following acupuncture sessions.
Your pet may be a candidate for acupuncture for various reasons. If they have difficulty taking medication or their current treatment is ineffective, their veterinarian may recommend acupuncture. Older pets may also undergo acupuncture treatment if they cannot undergo surgery due to their age or medical condition.
Pet Health Conditions Acupuncture Can Address
Some of the main conditions veterinary acupuncture can treat include:
- Idiopathic Epilepsy: Acupuncture can reduce seizures for pets diagnosed with epilepsy.
- Gastrointestinal Problems: If your pet frequently suffers from diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues, acupuncture can help relieve their symptoms.
- Skin Conditions: Acupuncture is an ideal complementary treatment for allergic dermatitis. Our team may also recommend acupuncture treatment if your pet develops lick granulomas or a skin lesion from frequently licking or biting a particular area, such as the front legs.
- Trauma: Pets that have bites from other animals, broken bones or severe trauma from injuries that cause pain and inflammation may benefit from acupuncture services.
- Hormonal or Metabolic Conditions: Patients with hormonal conditions such as Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism or Addison’s disease may experience relief through acupuncture. If your pet has liver or kidney disease, they may also benefit from this treatment.
- Cancer Side Effects: Acupuncture is an effective treatment method for improving cancer symptoms and quality of life. Some benefits of acupuncture in your pet’s cancer treatment include increased energy levels and appetite while reducing nausea and pain.
- Surgery: When used in conjunction with medication, acupuncture treatment can help relieve post-operative pain and reduce anxiety surrounding surgery.
- Intervertebral Disc Disease and Nerve Pain: Pets with a pinched nerve, bulging disc or spinal arthritis may experience a reduction in pain levels with an acupuncture treatment.
- Arthritis and Degenerative Joint Disease: One of the most common uses of acupuncture is treating chronic pain and mobility loss from joint disease.
Many scientific studies show that acupuncture can also serve as a supplemental therapy to aid full-body wellness. If you wish to pursue an alternative treatment, following a veterinarian’s recommendation is best to ensure your pet experiences the best results.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
Before your pet starts their acupuncture treatment, you and your pet will meet with one of our veterinary acupuncturists. During this visit, your pet will undergo a general medical assessment, and the veterinarian will review your pet’s medical history, as well as lab tests and radiographs. Our veterinary acupuncturist will then perform an examination and explain what to expect during the treatment process.
While your pet may initially be nervous, many patients relax after the acupuncturist inserts the first few needles into the acupuncture points. Depending on your pet’s condition, their acupuncture session may last 20 to 30 minutes. Our team will then outline a treatment protocol for follow-up sessions ranging from one to three sessions per week for a few weeks. As your pet’s symptoms improve, they’ll visit our office less frequently.
Acupuncture is a cumulative process, so your pet will experience the most benefits with repeated sessions. However, the goal is to achieve the most significant level of improvement with as few treatments as possible. While acupuncture has few side effects, some pets may be sore, stiff or tired after treatment. These symptoms typically relieve themselves 24 to 48 hours after treatment.
Acupuncture is a safe and comfortable treatment process. Most pets feel no pain during the procedure because the needles are as thin as a single strand of hair. Since acupuncture is so relaxing, many pets fall asleep during the process, and most do not require sedation during their treatment.
What Are Its Benefits?
Veterinary acupuncture is quickly gaining popularity due to its success as a supplementary treatment method. Acupuncture has many benefits, including:
- Natural Healing: Acupuncture promotes a natural healing process by improving blood flow to help your pet’s body heal.
- Nerve Stimulation: Using acupuncture helps to stimulate nerve function, which may improve wellness throughout the entire body.
- Improved Circulation: Acupuncture treatment encourages healthy blood circulation by increasing the dilation of constricted vessels.
- Endorphin Release: When a pet receive acupuncture treatment, the process aids in relieving muscle spasms and releasing beneficial hormones, such as endorphins and cortisol.
- Holistic Wellness: Acupuncture treatment approaches your pet’s body as a complete system with a focus on improving overall health.
- Pain Relief: Acupuncture helps to relax the muscles near the insertion sites to provide general and local pain relief.
- Waste Removal: Since acupuncture improves the nervous and circulation systems, your pet’s body can naturally increase processes to remove waste and other toxins to improve overall health.
Help Your Pet Feel Better With Acupuncture Services from Shallowford Animal Hospital
Take control of your pet’s health and help them relieve their symptoms with our veterinary acupuncture services. Our expert team has years of experience providing acupuncture treatments and will ensure your pet feels relaxed and comfortable throughout the treatment process. To learn more about our services in Chattanooga call 423-892-6671.