What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture involves the insertion of very specific, thin needles into specific points in the body (just under the skin) to cause desired healing effects. Needles (dry needling), pressure alone (acupressure), needles stimulated with low–voltage electrical stimulation (electroacupuncture), and Vitamin B12 injections into acupuncture points (aquapuncture) are all methods of acupuncture.
How does acupuncture work?
There are many theories about how acupuncture works, and experimental evidence shows that acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to decrease the activity of the pain–nerve systems within the body. It also causes the release of endorphins and neurotransmitters such as serotonin as well as local healing effects.
What conditions can be treated with acupuncture?
There are many conditions that can be helped with acupuncture. Acupuncture is most often used in the treatment of pain and stiffness due to arthritis, chronic disc problems, hip dysplasia, and joint injuries. It can also be very helpful in the treatment of muscle pain or spasms. Acupuncture can be helpful in the general care of elderly pets, to keep them feeling as well and energetic as possible. There are also many other conditions that acupuncture can be used for, such as respiratory problems, intestinal problems, some neurologic diseases, or general internal organ issues. All of these conditions do best when a combination of therapies including the general medical treatments recommended our team of veterinarians.
Does acupuncture hurt?
No. Most people find that if they feel anything, it's a momentary slight "pinch" and animals seem to have similar reactions. Many people don't feel the acupuncture needles being inserted at all. They are as fine as one of your hairs, so they can slide in with little or no sensation.
- People report feelings such as a mild, dull, distending, heavy feeling around one or more of the needles or sensations moving along a limb.
- Many dogs fall asleep or become very relaxed once the needles are placed, but for the first treatment it is important to take things slowly; as some dogs can become uncomfortable with the treatments if they are pushed too far, too fast or in areas where they are already painful.
- Directly after a treatment, some animals are energized and very lively; others are sleepy and tired for several hours.
- Dogs (and people) can be a little bit sore during the first 24-48 hours after an acupuncture treatment, as you might be after a good deep tissue massage, but then often improve over the next few days.
Is acupuncture safe?
Yes. There are very few negative side effects of acupuncture itself and the needles we use are sterile and disposable. However, it is very important to know what you are treating with acupuncture, as there are many conditions that would be best treated with acupuncture as well as the general medicine recommended by our team of veterinarians. Due to possible concerns of early labor, it is not recommended to treat pregnant animals at this time.
What would the appointment be like and how long do the treatments last?
A complete physical examination is performed for every pet, including assessment of gum color, evaluation of the heart and lungs with a stethoscope, palpation of the abdomen, as well as evaluation of the eyes, ears, nose and mouth. In addition, more care is taken to evaluate the muscles and connective tissues of the body than in a general physical examination in order to determine the treatment course required for your pet.
- If your pet’s condition has not been previously diagnosed, a longer examination will be performed to determine the cause of the problem to the best of our ability.
- Diagnostic testing, such as x-rays, blood work, or advanced imaging may be recommended to determine the cause of your pet’s condition. This is important to find the best way to get your pet back to its fullest potential.
- The first examination and treatment last approximately 40-60 minutes, while follow-up treatments generally last 20 minutes.
How much does a session cost?
Initial consultation for a new condition (not previously diagnosed by us or another clinic) + treatment - $170
Initial consultation for a previously diagnosed condition + treatment - $140
Recheck treatments - $85 (if there is another medical concern to address at the same time an additional exam fee would apply)
Package of 5 treatments - $340 (20% savings)
How many sessions will it take and how often will they happen?
While it is impossible to make a general statement about how many treatments are necessary, it is important for you to be able to plan for acupuncture, both in terms of time and money.
- Acupuncture can be very effective for many ailments, but it is not wise to expect too much from a single treatment.
- It can take between 2 and 4 sessions for us to determine how your pet will respond to the treatments.
- In general, chronic conditions may benefit greatly in the short term (such as the first 2-4 treatments), but may still require long-term / continuing treatments.
- For chronic problems, treatments are usually performed 1-2 times weekly for several weeks, and then at longer intervals if/when a good response is achieved.
- Sudden / severe conditions require more frequent treatments to get the desired response.