Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points that are located over areas rich in vessels and nerves on the body. The needles stimulate the underlying tissues and activate the pain inhibitory system. Messages are sent up to the brain resulting in the body's release of neurotransmitters, which temporarily block pain. Changes in blood flow occur, which regulates circulation and so the body's immune function is enhanced.
Occasionally, animals may react to the small jab of the needle, but in general they do not respond at all and actually become relaxed during the treatment.
Acupuncture has minimal risk and complications are easily avoided when a trained veterinarian is performing the treatments.
Acupuncture can treat:
Arthritis (hips, shoulders, elbows, back)
Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, and neck pain
Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca (KCS or "dry eye")
Pain and nausea related to cancer
Chronic digestive disorders (IBD, diarrhea, constipation)
Spinal cord disorders
Other medical conditions, such as: immune-mediated diseases and chronic liver or kidney diseases.
An acupuncture exam often involves an in-depth health history analysis, including a discussion of what environmental and emotional situations may be affecting your pet's condition and overall personality. The physical exam involves palpation of certain acupuncture points and can include evaluation of tongue color and pulse quality.
Since it is a complement to western medicine, all animals should have a complete and thorough workup and be treated medically or surgically, as appropriate, before seeking acupuncture.