Dr. Kelli Klein and her team are excited to be offering acupuncture services at Olde Towne Veterinary Clinic. She found this article that does a great job of explaining acupuncture and Chinese medicine. If you have any questions or would like more information about acupuncture please call any of our staff members!!
Acupuncture and herbal Chinese medicine has been practiced for thousands of years to help both humans and animals through sickness and injury as well as boost energy and strength the body’s own reactions and immune system. Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) is a holistic approach to assess the well-being of the whole patient. It works to correct imbalances in the body’s energy flow, enhances the immune system, improves blood flow, regulate hormones, helps to regrow nerves, reduce inflammation, provide pain relief, and boost the body’s energy. TCVM can be used as a stand alone therapy or as a complementary therapy working with Western veterinary medicine. The overall goal is to promote health, prevent disease, and improve quality of life. It is a great alternative option for many patients that are unable to under go rigorous surgeries or extensive procedures. TCVM is consider extremely safe with minimal side effects.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a form of treatment in which small, sterile needles are inserted into specific acupuncture points which stimulate a variety of responses in the body. These points may be stimulated also with injections of vitamin B12, the patients’ own serum, saline, or with electricity or moxibustion (a heating technique). Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause release of endorphins, including serotonin (pain relief). Through these mechanisms, acupuncture is a great alternative and compliment to treating our furry best friends.
When is acupuncture indicated?
· Most commonly, acupuncture alone is employed to help with musculoskeletal injuries (partial and full cruciate tears, soft tissue injuries, post operative pain), chronic pain (osteoarthritis, hip dysplasia), and neurological disorders such as IVDD or degenerative myelopathy or peripheral nerve injuries
· Reproductive disorders
· Respiratory disorders (asthma, allergic bronchitis)
· Chronic dermatology conditions (lick granuloma, allergic skin disease)
· Gastrointestinal disorders (diarrhea, IBD, pancreatitis, anorexia or decreased appetite)
· Urinary and kidney conditions, chronic or sudden onset
· Endocrine disease management
· Overall weakness, “slowing down”, and aging
· Cancer (stand alone therapy, helping with side effects of chemotherapy or in conjunction with western palliative care)
· Behavior (anxiety, cognitive dysfunction)
What can I expect from an acupuncture treatment?
· Acupuncture generally starts with a 45 minute to 1-hour initial appointment in which the veterinarian will perform a TCVM exam and evaluation, decide with you on the modality best suited for your pet, and perform the treatment.
· Following visits will range from 10-30 minutes depending on the form of acupuncture used on your pet. Frequency and number of treatments also will depend on the patient and disease being treated. Keep in mind acupuncture has a cumulative effect
o Example acute/sudden onset conditions usually respond with fewer treatments
· Not all pets respond to acupuncture. On average, it can take up to three treatments to see if this treatment modality is right for your pet
· Your pet may be more lethargic or a little sore for the first 24 hours after treatment but then should start to improve. Rarely bruising or a small bump over injected acupuncture sites may be seen for a few hours following treatment.
· With B12 injections, a pet’s urine may turn a light red for the first 24 hours as B12 is excreted in the urine
Western studies on acupuncture
There have been a variety of published studies in veterinary medical journals that now explain scientifically why acupuncture works!
For example, there are MRI studies that have shown the various methods of stimulation of points, duration, and frequency of electricity used will activate different neurological pathways and transmitters. One study shows treating a patient with a certain type of electrical acupuncture will cause pain suppressant neurotransmitters to be released, which actually causes a response similar to if the patient was given an opioids.
A recent paper was published in February 2017 that shows electroacpuncture treatments release stem cells into the body. Stems cells enhanced tissue repair, increase anti-inflammatory response, and give pronounced pain relief in patients with soft tissue injuries.
Herbal therapy combined with acupuncture can greatly increase the effects and longevity of the treatment. Some patients may only be treated with herbs if they cannot tolerate acupuncture for any reason. Herbs have a cumulative effect and are gradually introduced for each patient to make sure they can tolerate the medication. In some cases, using herbs and acupuncture, a pet may be able to be weaned off all western medications and maintained solely with these therapies! Each patient is different and herbal therapy tailored to them. Herbs are ordered directly from the Chi Institute in Florida, with a guarantee for no additives and good quality herbal ingredients.
Topical herbal medications are also available to help with skin conditions, from “hot spots” to lick granulomas to fungal infections.