What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine which has been used to treat animals for over 2,000 years and is one of the oldest documented forms of medicine. It incorporates very thin needles placed under the skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing. These needles are placed along “Meridian” lines which are classical points with energetic significant in eastern medicine. To describe the therapy in modern medical terms, the needles are placed into muscle bellies and near nerves and important structures. The needle placements stimulate the body’s natural healing properties (Cytokines, White Blood Cells, and more) to reduce inflammation and deliver the needed energy for cellular function and nerve firing. Some of the needles placed can be connected to an Electro Acupuncture unit, which allows micro pulses through the acupuncture needles to stimulate muscles and nerves. This allows muscle fibers to re-align and for nerve cells (axons) to regain their firing potential. Acupuncture is based on thousands of years of clinical application, and has had a surge in scientific research to support its use and help fine tune disease application.

What is a Veterinary Acupuncturist?

In order to be a Veterinary Acupuncturist, a licensed Veterinarian has completed extensive training in acupuncture. Dr. Kristin Cameron studied Acupuncture as a foreign exchange student through the Chi Institute in Guangzhou, China hosted at the South China Agricultural University. Her training in Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine primarily focused on Acupuncture but also included Herbal Medicine.

What to Expect During Your First Acupuncture Session?

The needles used are a very small gauge and the patient typically does not feel them as they are inserted. There may be a small sensation as the needles are inserted, but typically does not cause pain. Most animals handle acupuncture very well and may even fall asleep during treatment. Acupuncture works best with multiple treatments, and they are condensed in the beginning and gradually spaced out over time as we achieve our therapy goals.

What is Acupuncture Used for?

Acupuncture is very effective for orthopedic and neurologic disorders, please see the below list of specific diagnosis that benefit from acupuncture. Acupuncture is a great alternative for pain control, releasing chemical mediators to reduce pain (opioid like peptides, serotonin, and more). The primary goal of Acupuncture is to improve Quality of life. Make our animal patients feel more comfortable and more like themselves. It is best to use an integrative approach in adding Acupuncture to current Western Medical therapies.

General Applications:
– Arthritis (shoulder, hips, knees, neck, etc.)
– Hind End Weakness
– Back Pain
– Disc Disease (IVDD)
– Vestibular Disease
– Improve Quality of life
– Help a patient undergoing Chemotherapy
– Behavioral Disorders (Anxiety, Noise Phobia)
– Enhance Immune System

Musculoskeletal Issues:
A common application of acupuncture is in treating pain associated with Musculoskeletal diseases. It has been proven scientifically to help animal patients with back pain and general pain from arthritis and orthopedic injury. Acupuncture stimulates the release of natural molecules to promote pain control (serotonin, endorphins, and more). Musculoskeletal pain can be difficult to manage with Western Medicine alone, and thus pain from the neck, back, and lower back respond very well to an integrative approach to add Acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture for Musculoskeletal diseases may not correct underlying cause but is used primarily for pain control and improve patient comfort.

Neurologic Disorders:
The application of Acupuncture for use of Neurological Disorders is suspected to improve nerve cell (Axon) firing rates. It is used in adjunct with proper Modern Medical diagnosis of the underlying issue. Improve Ataxia from IVDD, Nerve Impingement, or Fibrocartilaginous embolism. It can be very useful for epilepsy patients, but please inform Dr. Cameron if you patient has a history of seizures.

Improve Overall Quality of Life:
Acupuncture is very useful in improving the overall quality of life of our animal patients, it improves energy levels, promotes appetite, aids in comfort level from a multitude of diseases. It is commonly used for patients undergoing chemotherapy or have cancer, but is not a cure for neoplasia.

Internal Medicine:
Many diseases can be adjunct treated with acupuncture; Inflammatory Bowel Disease, megacolon, and more.

Are there any side effects?
Acupuncture can lead to a relaxed state the following day after treatment, which can be mistaken for lethargy. Acupuncture needles are sterilized so infection from the site is very rare, but it is a risk.

The use of Acupuncture in conjunction with Modern Medicine is a powerful therapy and can help your pet. Please call today and Dr. Kristin Cameron would be more than happy to discuss your pet’s medical concerns and if Acupuncture is right for them.