Veterinary acupuncture can be indicated for many reasons, but generally the main goals are to improve blood flow to targeted areas and reduce pain and inflammation. Acupuncture involves very thin needles being gently inserted into superficial tissues, usually skin and muscles. Specific points are chosen based on physical examination and observations, as well as neurovascular anatomy. When enacted appropriately, these points enhance the body’s natural healing processes by encouraging blood flow to certain areas and allowing for endogenous opioid release.
Acupuncture sessions generally last for about 30 minutes, and most pets do amazingly well. While they might be a bit nervous at first, they usually realize that it’s more like a relaxing spa experience than a regular vet visit, and after a few sessions, they usually require minimal or no restraint. Since the effects of acupuncture are cumulative, we typically start with weekly or biweekly sessions for 3-4 weeks, then taper off to the longest effective interval, which may be anywhere from continued weekly sessions to every two months.
Acupuncture should not be considered as a replacement for traditional/routine medical care, but rather as a complementary modality, oftentimes allowing for fewer or smaller doses of medications. Please feel free to reach out if you think your pet might benefit from this type of therapy.