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Acupuncture has been used in veterinary practice in China for almost 3500 years to treat many ailments. Today, acupuncture is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of maladies in every species of domestic and exotic animals. Acupuncture is not always a cure-all, but it is very effective in treating chronic problems with a holistic approach. If your pet is struggling with chronic pain or another health problem and traditional veterinary intervention has proven ineffective, then your pet may be a good candidate for acupuncture. Additionally, animal acupuncture can be used for general relaxation and well-being, musculoskeletal problems, arthritis, vertebral disc pathology, skin problems, respiratory problems, gastrointestinal problems, selected reproductive problems, seizures, some paralysis, alleviation of cancer treatment side effects, and pain management.
Veterinary acupuncture is very similar to the type of acupuncture used to treat humans. Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. Long, thin needles are inserted at specific pressure points along an animal's body to alleviate pain and stimulate the central nervous system. Typically only a certified veterinary acupuncturist may administer acupuncture treatments to animals.
The owner of Ahwatukee Animal Care Hospital, Dr. Jeffrey Jenkins, has received specialized training and certification in veterinary acupuncture from Colorado State University School of Veterinary Medicine and the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association in 2000. This prestigious program is the only veterinary medical acupuncture education program in the United States with a scientific, evidence-based curriculum. Dr. Jenkins performs numerous acupuncture procedures a month. Acupuncture is not a cure-all, but it can work very well when it is indicated. It is indicated mainly for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammations (such as allergies), and pain.
Veterinary acupuncture has its roots in traditional Eastern medicine. According to Chinese philosophy, the "chi" (a body's energy) travels through energy pathways, known as meridians. A blockage or obstruction in these pathways affects the chi's ability to travel through the body. Contemporary medicine recognizes that the concept of the "chi" is very similar to our understanding of the central nervous system. Stimulating different points along the central nervous system stimulates the release of chemicals in the muscles, brain, and spinal cord. These chemicals affect the brain's perception of pain and stimulate the release of other chemical mediators to improve organ function.
Studies suggest that veterinary acupuncture may be beneficial for a variety of animal species, including dogs, cats, and horses. In fact Chinese and Korean farmers have treated horses and cattle with acupuncture for centuries. In recent years, the applications for veterinary acupuncture have expanded to include zoo animals, small mammals, and pet birds.
When a pet is suffering from pain, it can be a very frustrating experience for pet owners if they are unable to do anything directly to alleviate this pain. If a pet is not responding to conventional anti-inflammatory medication or other pain medications, then acupuncture may be able to help.
Veterinary acupuncture may be beneficial for the following conditions:
Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis or vertebral disc pathology
Skin problems, such as Lick Granuloma
Respiratory problems, such as Feline Asthma
Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea
Selected reproductive problems
Chronic pain management
Paralysis of the rear legs
Facial nerve paralysis
Additionally, regular acupuncture treatment can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. If your pets are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help keep them in top physical condition.
If your pet is receiving treatment for cancer, acupuncture may also be effective for alleviating the side effects of these treatments, including pain, fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite. Talk to Dr. Jeff Jenkins to find out if your pet is a good candidate.
Acupuncture is Safe
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare. The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation used by the doctor.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
According to ancient Chinese medical philosophy, disease is the result of an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy and, thereby, assist the body to heal disease. In Western terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body's pain control chemicals) and cortisol ( a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture's physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be conducted to discover all of acupuncture's beneficial effects and additional uses in veterinary medicine.
How long do acupuncture treatments last and how often are they given?
The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation that is used by the veterinary acupuncturist. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may take as little as 10 seconds or as much as 30 minutes. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, while a more severe or chronic condition or ailment may need several or several dozen treatments.
When multiple treatments are necessary, they usually begin intensively and are tapered to maximum efficiency. Patients often start with one treatment per week for 4-6 weeks. A positive response is usually seen after the first to fourth treatments. Once a maximum positive response is achieved (usually after 4-8 treatment), treatments are tapered off so that the greatest amount of symptom free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can taper off to 2-4 treatments per year.
"I brought my cat in for acupuncture treatment. Nobody is more skeptical than i am, but it really seemed to make a difference! It must have been calming because my cat slept all the way home and most of the afternoon - a sharp contrast to the car ride on the way to the clinic. I was amazed how calm he was and how much better he seemed to feel!" John Callahan
|Dr. Jeff Jenkins providing an acupuncture treatment.
Did you know?
Acupuncture needles can be as thin as three times the diameter of a human hair.
Needles used in acupuncture are so thin, many pets feel absolutely nothing when they are applied.
Please call (480) 893-0533 and make a consultation appointment with Dr. Jeffrey Jenkins if you have questions or health concerns about your pet.
For more information about acupuncture and all of our services, please visit the links below.