Nassau Veterinary Acupuncture Services
What Is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of small needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. This technique has been used in veterinary practice for at least 3,000 years to treat many ailments. Acupuncture is also used as a preventive treatment against various acute and chronic conditions in animals.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) considers veterinary acupuncture a valid modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery. Used either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, veterinary acupuncture can assist the body in healing itself by affecting certain physiological changes.
How Does Acupuncture Work?
A healthy body is said to be in “homeostasis” or “balance.” Illness and/or injury cause the body to become unbalanced. Acupuncture is a key therapy used to bring the body back into its proper homeostatic state and is known to affect all major physiological systems.
Acupuncture works primarily through the central nervous system, affecting the following systems:
Veterinary acupuncture does more than relieve pain. How it works depends on what condition one is treating, and which points are utilized. Acupuncture increases circulation, causes a release of many neurochemicals, some of which are endorphins, the body’s “natural pain-killing” hormones, relieves muscle spasms, stimulates nerves, stimulates the body’s defense systems, as well as numerous other beneficial effects.
Is Acupuncture Painful? How Will My Pet React?
For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy.
Is Veterinary Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is performed with very thin and sterile stainless-steel needles. It is one of the safest therapies utilized if practiced by a competent acupuncturist. Side effects are rare. Because acupuncture balances the body’s own system of healing and no chemicals are administered, complications rarely, if ever, develop.
How Long Do Acupuncture Treatments Last & How Often Are They Given?
The length and frequency of your pet’s acupuncture treatments will depend on the condition of the patient. Treatments may last up to 30 minutes. There are many ways of stimulating acupuncture points, including needles, electro-acupuncture, and moxibustion (heating the point).
Typically, a dog or cat is treated once a week, and a positive response is observed after the first to third treatments. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, while more chronic conditions may need three to six treatments to obtain a maximum response. Treatments for chronic conditions can often be tapered off to two to four treatments per year.
What Conditions Respond to Acupuncture?
Veterinary acupuncture is mainly indicated for functional problems such as those that involve pain, inflammation, muscle spasms, arthritis, and paralysis.
For small animals, the following list contains conditions that may be treated with acupuncture:
- Hip dysplasia
- Post-operative pain
- Performance issues
- Intervertebral disk disease
- Nerve injuries
- Cerebellar disease
- Horner’s syndrome
- Cardiac disease
- Laryngeal hemiplegia
- Lick granulomas
- Cushing’s disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Dry eye
- Ptosis (droopy eyelid)
- Corneal ulcers
- Kidney disease
- Urinary incontinence
- Pooling urine
- Prostate pain
- Urethral spasms
- Urine spraying
- Oral pain
- Gall bladder disorders
- Liver disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Fecal incontinence
- Nausea, pain, and inflammation (from disease or treatments)
- Edema and swelling
- Improve immune function
- Phantom limb pain
Other conditions have responded to acupuncture as well.
Which Pets Cannot Have Acupuncture?
Pets who have very low white blood cell counts or severe clotting problems should not have acupuncture. If your pet has a pacemaker, she can still have acupuncture, just please tell your veterinary acupuncturist.
What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for an Appointment?
Call our front desk staff for an appointment! Please bring any records and radiographs from your veterinarian to help guide us in our treatment to help your pet as much as possible.
Call (518) 245-3223 to schedule your pet’s acupuncture appointment at Nassau Veterinary Clinic.
“I brought my dog to them & they took their time going over everything & treated her with such care & love.”- Stacey T
“Everyone is always helpful and kind every time we are there.”- Jackie B
“I have been going to Nassau Vet for decades. They are compassionate, knowledgable, thorough and professional.”- Cindy C