Small companion animals such as cats and dogs as well as exotic animals are candidates for acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture is the 2,300 year old Traditional Chinese Medical art and science of using small needles inserted into specific body points to effect healing changes. Acupuncture is known through research in modern times to positively influence immune system function, gastrointestinal function, and internal organ function and give pain relief (see www.nih.gov website or do an online search for ‘CAVM therapies’ (Complimentary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine therapies).
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine practitioners use acupuncture for a large variety of medical problems and diseases including behavioral disorders such as fear, anxiety, depression and anger. Cardiovascular problems such as cardiac arrhythmias and weakness leading to heart failure or obstructive pulmonary disease are amenable to acupuncture treatment. Moreover, acupuncture may be use as an emergency therapy at home or in the clinic for cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Pulmonary weakness that may lead to exercise intolerance, chronic coughing, frequent upper respiratory tract infections or chronic nasal discharge may be successfully treated with acupuncture.
Ocular disorders such as difficult to heal corneal ulcers, chronic conjunctivitis, and eyelid muscle weakness may be helped by acupuncture treatment. Many forms of dental pain, redness, swelling and inflammation may have symptoms greater reduced or relieved by acupuncture. Some forms of chronic ear problems such as external auditory canal and middle ear inflammation may be relieved more rapidly by acupuncture when used concurrently with western medications.
Acupuncture may be best known for its positive benefit in a large variety of gastrointestinal disorders including inappetance, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation, and bloating. Hepatic disease of both infectious and endogenous origin may be soothed and hepatic regeneration encouraged with acupuncture treatment. Various forms of renal disease including kidney failure and urinary problems such as inflammation, infection, and urinary leakage may be successfully alleviated and sometimes cured by acupuncture.
Most muscular-skeletal problems including pain, strain/sprain, inflammation, and weakness are amenable to significant benefit from acupuncture. Neurological disorders including paresis, paralysis, and vestibular disease may be resolved more quickly when acupuncture is added to the animal’s western biomedical protocol.
Most companion animals readily accept acupuncture treatment. Although slightly painful, the majority of companion animals actually pull their caretakers into my office for re-checks and further treatments. It is as if they have experienced the positive effects of acupuncture and desire another treatment.
We use small, thin, sterile metal needles that are discarded after each treatment. We discard the needles because they are dulled after the first insertion and also to eliminate the possibility of iatrogenic or acupuncturist-caused infection. Occasionally other acupuncture modalities such as electroacupuncture, aquapuncture or gold-bead implants are used to increase the duration and effectiveness of an acupuncture treatment. Each companion animal is unique and will have acupuncture sessions individually designed for their current medical problems.