What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture involves the placement of very small needles at specific points on the body known as acupuncture points. Needles are inserted only into the superficial tissues of the skin and connective tissues and are rarely felt by the patient during placement. Acupuncture points are found along meridians, or channels, that run throughout the body, and work by stimulating the nervous system. In the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, acupuncture promotes health and healing by restoring balance and the free flow of energy, known as Qi, within the body. From a Western perspective, by stimulating the nervous system with this needle placement, blood flow is enhanced, inflammation is reduced and pain-relieving and relaxing compounds are released throughout the body. These effects of acupuncture occur almost immediately with needle placement and duration of results is variable based on a patient’s condition. Most patients find it to be a very relaxing treatment, with many falling asleep.

Is it safe?

Acupuncture is very safe, with minimal to no negative effects when performed by a trained individual. Mild bleeding or bruising at the acupuncture points is generally the only negative effect. Certain acupuncture points are avoided in pregnant or very weak or debilitated animals and direct placement of needles into tumors or masses are avoided.

How will my pet react?

Most pets do not mind placement of the needles and actually relax and enjoy their treatments. Some acupuncture points may be more sensitive than others, however, this is usually short lived and does not interfere with completion of the treatment. Pets may choose to walk around during their treatment, however most lie comfortably and rest. Needles remain in place for about 15-20 minutes and owners are always with their pet during the treatment.

What conditions does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture may be used for a variety of conditions, both as a primary tool as well as another tool in the toolbox to support overall health and minimize disease. Some of the common conditions Dr. Pope has treated with acupuncture include;

  • Arthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease
  • Hip or elbow dysplasia
  • Mobility issues or lameness
  • Neurologic conditions or nerve disorders
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Wobbler’s disease or cervical issues
  • Neck or back pain
  • Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Chronic pain
  • Wound healing or speeding post surgical healing
  • Kidney disease
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Gastric reflux, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Megaesophagus
  • Hepatopathy/Hepatitis
  • Endocrine disorders such as dysfunctional thyroid or adrenal gland
  • Breeding/Fertility issues
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Immune system support
  • Conventional cancer treatment (chemotherapy or radiation) support
  • Overall health, well-being and balance
How many treatments will my pet need?

Special acupuncture techniques, such as eletro-acupuncture or aqua-puncture may be utilized in your pet’s treatment plan for maximal benefit and effectiveness. Most patients require 3 treatments, 1-2 weeks apart initially to have the best response. The frequency of treatments thereafter is based on your pet’s condition and response, ranging from once every 4-6 weeks to a few times a year. A specific treatment plan will always be tailored to your pet and family’s specific needs.