The use of acupuncture for pets is increasing, as more people realise the value of integrative medicine for their furry family members. Some owners seek acupuncture as an alternative to western medicines and therapies, however most are looking for a way to compliment these mainstream therapies, to help improve their efficacy and to reduce potential side effects.
What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the stimulation of precise acupoints on the body and is part of one of the world’s oldest systems of medicine – Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
How does it work?
Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat various conditions and works by stimulating the body’s own natural anti-inflammatory, pain inhibiting and self-healing processes. It works by restoring the natural flow of energy (Qi, pronounced chee), throughout the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, this energy (Qi) travels along pathways, called meridians. There are hundreds of points along these pathways, where needles can be inserted, to correct the energy flow, and restore balance within the body.
Is it painful for my pet?
Acupuncture needles are incredibly thin and virtually pain-free. The majority of patients are very comfortable with their treatment and will completely relax or even fall asleep. If your pet finds the needles too scary, then laser acupuncture can be used on select points, as an alternative, and is completely painless.
- We will ask a range of questions, which will help us determine how the energy (Qi) is flowing through the body, enabling us to make a TCM diagnosis and to design an appropriate acupuncture treatment.
- Most consultations take approximately 30 minutes and will involve both a Western and Eastern clinical examination.
- Treatment with needles, laser or acupressure usually lasts for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Many long-standing or chronic conditions will require weekly treatments initially, however an appropriate treatment plan will be tailored to your pet’s specific needs.
What can Acupuncture treat?
Although used most often for pain management, acupuncture can be very effective in a variety of conditions, especially in chronic disease.
- Pain Management: Acupuncture has been used successfully in osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, intervertebral disc disease, tendon/ligament injuries, muscle soreness and abdominal pain.
- Geriatric or Chronic Conditions: Older patients can suffer from conditions that reduce their quality of life. Some of these patients are too weak or compromised to tolerate conventional therapy and acupuncture can provide safe and effective alternative treatment.
- Cancer Patients: Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatments can experience digestive upset, extreme fatigue or general discomfort. Acupuncture can often relieve or lessen some of these side effects and improve their quality of life.
- Palliative Care: Patients experiencing terminal illnesses, or struggling with multiple pain issues toward the end of life may find great comfort with acupuncture treatments, providing relaxation, better quality sleep, improved appetite and decreased pain and anxiety.
Acupuncture and your pet
The success of the treatment will vary according to the condition being treated and the number and frequency of acupuncture treatments. Each patient is unique and will have acupuncture sessions individually designed for their current medical problems. Acupuncture is a complex therapy, therefore it is best to only consult with a qualified veterinary professional, who is trained in both veterinary medicine and veterinary acupuncture.
Dr Rebecca Williams is a qualified Veterinarian who is also a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (IVAS). Call the clinic on (07) 3808 1085 if you would like to make an appointment or if we can answer any questions.