Acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment modality that allows our veterinarians to address a variety of health issues.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system by inserting very fine needles into specific points of the body. From the perspective of Western medicine, pet acupuncture decreases inflammation by stimulating nerve centers; thus causing your pet’s body to release its own pain-relieving substances. Eastern medicine describes the practice of acupuncture as stimulating Chi meridians and removing blockages so that energy can move freely through the body. However, perhaps the most important perspective is that of cat owners that consistently see improvement in their pets’ quality of life after receiving cat acupuncture treatments.
How Can Acupuncture Help My Pet?
Most cats tolerate acupuncture treatments very well. Acupuncture is able to effectively treat a variety of health issues that are common in the lives of cats. Often used in conjunction with Western methods of medical care ranging from diet recommendations to prescription medications to surgical procedures. Acupuncture directly addresses one of the most important and hardest to measure aspects of cat care, pain relief. Cats are incredibly adept at hiding pain. Instinctually cats downplay weaknesses. As humans, it is natural for us to talk about and seek solutions for our pain. Cats do not do this. Most cat owners overlook pain in their cats because cats simply do not talk about it.
While acupuncture isn’t appropriate for every dog or every situation, it can safely be used to treat dogs with a variety of health conditions, especially those suffering from pain or inflammation. Dogs with arthritis, digestive problems, kidney disease, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, asthma, and certain neurological disorders can all benefit from acupuncture.
What Conditions Can Feline Acupuncture Treat?
It is important to understand that at Village Veterinary Clinic our veterinarians use traditional methods of veterinary medicine to diagnose the condition of a feline patient. After our veterinary staff has performed any medical exams deemed necessary to reach an accurate diagnosis, acupuncture may be recommended treat conditions such as:
Kidney and liver disease
Arthritis in their spines, necks and lower limbs
Metabolic diseases such as kidney disease, thus helping to slow down the progression of the disease
Helping to increase an animal’s appetite which is important if they have kidney disease
Treating inflammatory bowel disease
Pain management, pain relief or muscle spasms
What Will An Acupuncture Session Be Like For My Cat?
Most cats tolerate acupuncture sessions very well. Our goal is for cats to be comfortable throughout the session and cats often times fall asleep. The needles we use are very small and slide easily into the skin. Through training, our veterinarians have learned exactly how to administer acupuncture without stimulating any pain response. For some patients, it may be calming for the owner to stay with the cat. Once acupuncture needles have been inserted, they will remain in place for about 5-12 minutes depending upon the condition that is being treated. After enough time has passed, the needles are removed and the cat is free to go home.
How Soon Will My Pet Experience Results?
Some cats will experience relief after their very first cat acupuncture session. It is very common that cat owners will report to us that their cats have returned home with a healthy appetite and seemingly rejuvenated physical abilities. However, when treating chronic conditions, it may take a number of consistent acupuncture treatments before significant progress can be easily seen.
Positive improvement is typically seen within a matter of days. Some dogs may appear to feel worse for a day or two after treatment. Others may become lethargic or sleepy. These effects are an indication that physiological changes are occurring, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the dog’s condition which differs depending on the condition being treated but commonly includes increased appetite and rejuvenated movement.
Is Acupuncture Painful For My Pet?
No. When performed properly, acupuncture is typically a painless experience. A tiny prick may be felt when needles are inserted, and sometimes a duller, deeper sensation when the needles hit the acupuncture points. Most pets relax and actually seem to enjoy this experience after the needles are in. Our veterinarians know how to administer acupuncture without stimulating any pain response.
How Frequently Will My Pet Need A Veterinary Acupuncture Treatment?
This depends entirely on the cat and the condition being treated. Some cats respond immediately, for others it takes a number of consistent cat acupuncture sessions for improvements to become noticeable. Prior to beginning a cat acupuncture treatment or series of treatments, one of our veterinarians will discuss their recommendation with you so that you have a complete picture of the treatment regimen that is being proposed. It is our job to accurately diagnose your cat’s medical condition and to make sure that you understand the prognosis and treatment recommendation. As always, we are here to help you understand what is in the best interests of your cat and to help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.
The recommended veterinary acupuncture treatment frequency will depend on your dog’s condition. Typically, dogs start out receiving between one and three weekly sessions. Once the problem is under control, the number and frequency of sessions typically taper off to the minimum necessary to maintain quality of life.
Other Types Of Eastern Medical Practices Used To Treat Pets
In addition to acupuncture, there are a few other eastern medical practices that are successfully used as an integrative approach to feline healthcare. Where acupuncture utilizes needles inserted into specific locations throughout the body, acupressure for cats is the practice of simply applying pressure at specific points on the body. Also, the use of herbs and food therapy are very common and beneficial in treating feline illnesses. Of course, as a cat owner, you know that cats can be finicky eaters, so food therapy may require some patience on the owner’s part and may not be plausible for some patients. For cats that are accepting of new foods, herbs, and medicinal nutritional choices can make a world of difference.
In many cases, canine acupuncture is used in conjunction with traditional, Western medicine (i.e. medication, antibiotics, and surgery) and other holistic approaches such as herbal supplements, massage, and dietary changes.