Patricia Cahill DVM LLC
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the practice of placing needles into a specific area of the body to produce a therapeutic effect. This practice is a part of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM). Acupuncture is believed to work by removing blockages or imbalances in the vital life force of the body know as Chi (Chee). Chi energy flows through pathways in the body called meridians. Acupuncture points are found just below the skin surface along these pathways. In TCM, disease is treated by balancing the pathways of chi and assisting the body’s own ability to establish harmony.
Modern science is currently exploring the mechanism by which acupuncture affects the body. One theory is that the energy meridians are a part of the nervous system and the body’s own natural pain killers (endorphins) are released by the needles.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles are very small. Most animals feel a momentary sensation when the needles are inserted. They usually relax once the needles are placed. Some even get drowsy or fall asleep. I do most of my work on the floor so the pet feels more comfortable. The owner can hold their dog or cat in their lap. I usually keep the needles in for 15-20 minutes and try to keep the animal from moving too much during the treatment.
No sedation or anesthesia is used while receiving acupuncture. I use flower essences rubbed on the head and ears to help with relaxation. There is also a point on the top of the head that can be needled. A homeopathic solution or Vitamin B12 is often injected on the points (aquapuncture) in order to produce a therapeutic effect. This can be done quickly and does not require the same amount of quiet time as the dry needles. Every patient’s level of stress is carefully considered and the benefits of therapy weighed with the patients ability to undergo treatment.
Can my pet be on medication?
Acupuncture is used in conjunction with many pain medications such as Rimadyl as well as nutritional supplements such as glycosamine/chondroitin. High dose of prednisolone or other steroid drug may interfere and it is best to do treatment while off those types of medications.
How many treatments are needed?
Initially, I recommend between 3-5 treatments, weekly or every other week. The treatments enhance the natural healing of the body therefore it may take time to observe the positive effects. If there is no improvement by the 4-5 treatments we may discuss other options such as chiropractic, massage, laser or referral to a rehab center.
Who performs acupuncture on my pet?
Performing acupuncture on animals requires an understanding of animal anatomy, disease processes and training in acupuncture. Only a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with training in acupuncture should be performing acupuncture on your pet. I completed the certification program from the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine in 2000.