BY KATIE BRESNAHAN, NORTHSIDE ANIMAL CLINIC
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a treatment method with roots stemming back to the practice of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). Modern veterinary acupuncture involves using specialized needles to stimulate specific points on an animal’s body to achieve a desired effect. Specific points are selected and used on an individual basis to treat each animal’s unique condition.
How does it work?
From a western perspective, acupuncture acts in two ways: it has a local effect and a systemic effect. Research conducted in both animal and human medicine has shown that the local effect of acupuncture includes the decrease of inflammation, the promotion of healthy blood flow, the growth of tissue, and the decrease of localized pain. Systemically, acupuncture causes the release of endorphins and natural opioids in that brain that results in pain-relieving and calming effects throughout the body.
What can it be used to treat?
In TCVM, acupuncture is one tool that is used to treat a wide variety of conditions from arthritis to respiratory disease, from behavior concerns to infertility. Thus far, it has been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain, nerve damage, gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, ulcers, or colic, and enhancing performance to prevent disease.
Acupuncture can be a very powerful tool when used correctly. Integrative veterinary medicine uses both western and TCVM to treat each patient on an individual holistic basis. Both branches of medicine have strengths and weaknesses. For example, western medicine utilizes powerful technology to find the cause of disease, while TCVM is minimally invasive, has few side effects, and can offer significant results in chronic illnesses. Together, these two types of medicine can fine-tune diagnosis and treatment for the best outcomes possible.
Could Acupuncture be right for your animal?
Acupuncture can be helpful with a variety of conditions. If you have questions or would like to learn more, reach out to your TCVM veterinarian and ask if acupuncture could benefit your animal.