Acupuncture has evolved from the ancient art of placing needles into special locations on the body to alleviate pain, improve recovery rates and increase resistance to disease. It has been practiced by the Chinese and other Eastern cultures for thousands of years and may be used to treat a wide variety of illnesses.
We're delighted that at Hillside, both Keith Moore and Jade Douglas, use acupuncture to complement more conventional medical treatments when it is thought this might aid recovery.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
The Chinese approach to disease is very holistic. Emotional, hereditary and environmental factors are considered important elements in disease patterns. The philosophy and aim of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is to restore the balance between physical, emotional and spiritual factors – thus restoring and maintaining health.
Scientific Approach (Western Acupuncture)
Scientific research into acupuncture has made enormous progress over the past 50 years and now explains much of acupuncture’s actions which had previously only been understood in the ancient concepts of health described in Chinese Medicine. This has brought about the greater recognition and acceptance of acupuncture within the scientific community. Early research focused mainly on pain relief and the body's chemical responses to acupuncture, however, further advances have revealed potent normalizing effects to the brain and nervous system. This has opened the understanding of its use in all manner of internal medical disorders including respiratory, digestive, and reproductive problems.
By combining these two approaches, acupuncture may be particularly effective in the treatment of chronic disease states – either to complement normal treatments or when normal medicine fails.
The goal of acupuncture is to promote the body to heal itself. From a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective, veterinary acupuncture encourages healing by correcting energy imbalances in the body. Acupuncture enhances blood circulation, nervous system stimulation, and the release of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving hormones.
Acupuncture involves the insertion of needles into body tissue where bundles and blood vessels come together. These collections of nervous and vascular tissue are termed acupuncture points.
Veterinary acupuncture can be used to treat a variety of conditions, particularly those that involve inflammation and pain and is probably most commonly used for osteoarthritis. We probably expect a 60-70% percent success with treatment performed on dogs and cats. Other conditions that have classically responded well to acupuncture include:
- soft tissue sprains/strains
- back pain
- allergic conditions
- respiratory problems
- some skin conditions
- non-specific vomiting/diarrhoea
- paralysis/paresis (weakness)
The good news is that dogs and cats accept the very fine needles well and these are left in place for approximately 10 minutes. That time is then spent reassuring the animal so that he/she does not move.
As the pet is made a fuss of during the treatment some animals even come to enjoy it and often they will become quite relaxed. The number of treatments varies according to the severity of the condition and the length of time the problem has already been present. In rare circumstances, just one treatment may be needed, although on average 4-6 treatments are carried out. This is then followed up by maintenance treatments as deemed necessary by the vet.
Keith has written a short blog post (dated 7 March 2017) which you can read here, where he was treating 17 year old Savannah.
Disclaimer: Hillside Vets’ website is intended to be used only as a guide and information resource, not as an alternative to a veterinary consultation and advice. Nothing contained in this website should be construed as medical advice or diagnosis. For specific healthcare advice please discuss the particular symptoms and circumstances of your pet with your vet.