Acupuncture is one part of a 3000 year old system of Traditional Chinese Medicine believing that life force, or Qi (prounounced chee) moves through the body along specific pathways called meridians. By inserting very small needles into specific points, this energy can be improved or altered. Our more familiar western medicine explains some of the benefit of acupuncture by its effect on nerves, hormones and other chemicals in the body.
Acupuncture can be used to treat a vast number of conditions, including musculoskeletal disease, allergies, cancer, organ dysfunction, seizures and much more! The benefits of treatment are profound and far-reaching, and there are virtually no side effects. It is safe for dogs and cats of any age and health status.
Acupuncture needles differ greatly from hypodermic needles used to draw blood or administer injections. Acupuncture needles are very fine and thin with a blunt tip. Because they do not cut their way into the skin, they are placed with little to no discomfort. Human patients most often report feeling slight pressure and we extrapolate that pets feel a similar sensation.
The number of needles used for a treatment depends on the patient and their condition. They are typically left in place for 10-20 minutes. It's not necessary for pets to stay still while receiving a treatment, and many cats and dogs walk calmly around the room, sit or lay down!
The use of acupuncture needles may be inappropriate for certain conditions, and some pets are objectionable to needle placement. In these cases, Dr. Sivula instead uses a specialized laser to stimulate necessary points. On occasion, dogs and cats will receive treatment with both the laser and traditional needles, as the laser allows sensitive points to be treated without discomfort to the patient.
It takes time for this therapy to build up effect in your pet's body, so undertaking an acupuncture regimen requires commitment on your part. We must give these treatments time to work! The positive effects of acupuncture may not be evident after a single visit, but the benefits will increase and last longer after each subsequent appointment.