Acupuncture is part of the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It involves insertion of needles into specific points on the body in order to bring about a desired healing effect. It is said that veterinary acupuncture was first discovered when lame battle horses were found to become sound after being hit by arrows at distinct points. There is evidence that veterinarians practiced acupuncture as far back as 2000-3000 BC. Acupuncture was used as preventive medicine as well as to treat existing illness. Today it is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjunction with other alternative modalities and/or western Medicine. Modern acupuncture techniques involve the use of fine, solid needles, bleeding needles, electricity, heat, massage and low power cold lasers to stimulate acupuncture points.
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Occasionally an animal will appear to be worse for up to 48 hours after treatment and some will be drowsy for up to 24 hours after acupuncture.
Acupuncture can be used as a sole therapy to treat many types of arthritis, degenerative joint disease and back pain. It can also be safely combined with conventional pain medications for a synergistic effect and to lower the frequency and dosage of pain relief drugs in severe cases.
Acupuncture is primarily indicated for functional problems such as paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (allergies), and pain. In animals, the following are some of the general conditions that respond well to acupuncture:
• Musculoskeletal problems… arthritis, disc problems
• Skin problems… lick granulomas
• Respiratory problems… feline asthma
• Gastrointestinal problems… vomiting, diarrhea
• Selected reproduction and hormonal problems