Simply put, veterinary acupuncture is the insertion of needles into specific points on the body (acupoints) to cause a desired healing effect. It is a form of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that has been used in animals for thousands of years.
TCVM is a complete system of medicine that is used to diagnose, prevent, and treat disease. It is an an Ancient Chinese medicine based on the fundamental goal of achieving balance, harmony, and wholeness in the body by enabling the body and mind to heal itself. Acupuncture is one of the five branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Acupuncture has many benefits including inhibiting nerve pain transmission, improving blood flow, relaxing muscle tension and spasms. Acupuncture also stimulates the nervous system and increases the release of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving substances to reduce a pet's discomfort. By stimulating the release of these naturally occurring pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory substances, acupuncture may decrease the amount of pain medications needed by our pets.
At Pawsitive Strides our patients receive acupuncture by our veterinarians Dr. Nancy Peterson and Dr. Kim Kendall, who have both received over 200 hours of acupuncture training and are certified in veterinary acupuncture. The initial acupuncture session will last 45 minutes to 1 hour but depending on your pet's condition, the time will vary per session. Most dogs and cats tolerate the needles very well and many will relax (and may even nap!) during the treatment.
The effects of acupuncture treatment are accumulative so your pet will typically show more improvement after a few sessions. Many pets will start with weekly sessions and will taper as your dog or cat improves. Serious conditions (such as disc disease (IVDD) treated after surgery) may start out with more frequent treatment sessions. There are a few side effects with acupuncture (occasionally a dog or cat may be sore or stiff after an acupuncture session) but most commonly your pet may be tired following treatment. Any such adverse-effects should resolve completely within 24 hours.
Acupuncture can also be very effective used in combination with other therapies to help provide the best results for our pets. Acupuncture can be safely used with traditional medical therapy when medicine alone is not able to provide enough benefit for the pet, such as in a dog with chronic osteoarthritis. Since acupuncture has no system side effects it is particularly helpful for dogs or cats in poor health or for pets that can't tolerate medications.
Acupuncture therapy is a valued alternative therapy option for our pets and can be used target conditions from pain, to gastrointestinal issues, to skin conditions! The veterinarians at Pawsitive Strides work with you and your pet's regular veterinarian to create an acupuncture treatment plan specifically designed for your pet and their health concerns.
If you are interested in acupuncture for dog or cat in the Des Moines area please give us a call today!