Eastern medical treatments have been around for thousands of years. They are of tremendous value supplementing western medicine. Certain dogs and cats with specific medical conditions can be managed better when eastern medicine is incorporated. At La Verne Animal Hospital, we believe integrated veterinary medicine is the way of the future.
What medical conditions can be treated by acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been used to treat almost everything in human medicine. For dogs and cats, the following conditions respond very well to acupuncture:
- Paralysis. Electroacupuncture is particularly effective in treating paralysis, especially in recent injuries. The more common causes of paralysis in dogs and cats include intervertebral disc disease, trauma, embolism, etc. In acute cases, electroacupuncture treatment may be repeated daily to exert strong stimulation to the nervous system until the condition improves.
- Arthritis and pain. For older patients who suffer from back pain and arthritis in the joints, acupuncture can help lessen the discomfort and slow down degeneration. Acupuncture treatment may be needed weekly or every two weeks at the beginning and then repeated on an as needed basis depending on how the patient responds to it. Pain and inflammation resulting from trauma or surgery can also be helped by acupuncture.
- Skin disease. Skin disease can be very frustrating to manage in dogs and cats. A lot of patients require long term steroid and antibiotics to remain comfortable. Unfortunately some of them will end up suffering from unwanted side effects of the medications. Acupuncture is a benign form of treatment to control itchiness and inflammation by adjusting the imbalance in the body. Most skin cases can be better controlled by incorporating food therapy and herbal medicine.
- Cancer. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be helpful in treating cancer patients by improving their quality of life. Patients that develop nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy will feel better and eat better. In certain cases, acupuncture and herbal medicine can help shrinking cancer masses or help patients coexist with the cancer cells for longer periods of time.
- Internal diseases. Acupuncture and herbal medicine can be used alone or in conjunction with western medicine to control liver disease, kidney failure, urinary tract problems, digestive problems, etc. From Chinese medicine point of view, a body can function normally when everything is in balance. Everybody has a different born-constitution and therefore prone to a different type of imbalance. Severe imbalance will lead to disease. In order to treat the root of the problem, acupuncture and herbal medicine aim at adjusting the imbalance and thus restore normal body function.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture has been practiced in Eastern culture for over 3000 years. It may be defined as the insertion of needles into certain points on the body to induce a healing response. Acupuncture points are distributed over our body in meridians which are Qi-carrying energy channels. Qi is believed to be the source of life. When there is blockage or stagnation of Qi, there is pain and disease. Acupuncture works by stimulating proper Qi movement through the meridians to alleviate pain and imbalance. When Qi flows normally, the body is healthy.
What is electroacupuncture?
Electroacupuncture is a form of acupuncture by applying a very small current of electricity to acupuncture points through acupuncture needles to increase stimulation and enhance response. It is most helpful in treating paralysis and controlling pain.
What is aquapuncture?
Aquapuncture is to inject fluid directly into acupuncture points. The most commonly used fluids include Vitamin B12 and sterile saline. Pets with severe arthritis can benefit from aquapuncture by having Adequan injected into certain acupuncture points.
What is pneumoacupuncture?
Sometimes air can be injected into subcutaneous space at acupuncture points to stimulate Qi flow. The most common indication is for temporal muscle atrophy.
Does acupuncture hurt?
Acupuncture needles are extremely fine. Most pets do not even feel it when the needle is inserted. However, every individual has different tolerance for pain. Some pets may not be good candidates for acupuncture if they are very sensitive to needles.