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What is acupuncture?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) defines veterinary acupuncture as the examination and stimulation of specific points on the body of animals by the use of needles (and other techniques) for the diagnosis and treatment of numerous conditions. Used either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, veterinary acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes.

Dog-Acupuncture_phixrWhat sort of conditions is acupuncture used for?
Acupuncture is mainly indicated for functional problems such as those that involve pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, arthritis, and paralysis. Including but not limited to the following.

  • Digestive problems such as colic, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Arthritis
  • Itchy skin and allergies
  • Urinary problems
  • Liver or kidney disease
  • Eye or ear conditions
  • Cancer pain or side effects of chemotherapy
  • Heaves and asthma
  • Stiffness, lameness or other performance limiting issues
  • Infertility
  • Others? (please call about your animal if you do not see the condition listed here!)

How does it work?
A healthy body is said to be in ‘homeostasis’ or ‘balance’. Illness and/or injury cause the body to become unbalanced. Acupuncture is a key therapy used to bring the body back into its proper homeostatic state and is known to affect all major physiological systems. It works primarily through the central nervous system affecting the musculoskeletal, hormonal and cardiovascular systems. It does more than relieve pain. How it works depends on what condition one is treating and which points are utilized. Acupuncture increases circulation, causes a release of many neurochemicals, some of which are endorphins, the body’s “natural pain-killing” hormones, relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves, stimulates the body’s defense systems, as well as numerous other beneficial effects.

dog-acu-300x199Is acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is performed with sterile, thin stainless steel needles. It is one of the safest therapies utilized if practiced by a competent acupuncturist. Side effects are rare. Because acupuncture balances the body’s own system of healing and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely, if ever, develop.

Does it hurt?
Most animals do not appear bothered by the needles and likewise people do not report pain from the needles. In fact many animals show visible relief from pain while receiving acupuncture.

How many treatments will be needed?
The number of appointments is determined on a case by case basis. Your animal may feel better after one or two treatments, but more may be needed to fully resolve the problem. I usually recommend a series of 3 treatments, once per week. After this some conditions will be corrected, others may need additional treatments.

If you have any questions please call Dr. Brittany Factor to see how your pet can benefit from acupuncture.