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Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific locations along the body. It originated in China thousands of years ago and is still practiced there today.

How does it work?

Acupuncture is based on neurophysiology. The points are located over areas rich in vessels and nerves. The needles stimulate the underlying tissues and activate the endogenous pain inhibitory system. Messages are sent up to the brain resulting in the body’s release of neurotransmitters, which temporarily block pain. The main neurotransmitters are endorphins. These bind to the same receptors that bind exogenous opioids like morphine. Additionally, changes in blood flow occur, which regulates circulation, and the body’s immune function is enhanced. In summary, acupuncture stimulates the body to heal itself and achieve a state of homeostasis.

Does it hurt?

Occasionally animals may respond to the initial prick through the skin, but in general, animals will not respond at all to the insertion of the needles, and become very relaxed during the treatments.

Is it safe?

When performed correctly, acupuncture has very minimal risk and complications are easily avoided when a trained veterinarian is performing the treatments.

Are there any contraindications?

Yes. Animals with a history of bleeding disorders or severe immune compromise are not good candidates for acupuncture.

What conditions might benefit from acupuncture treatment?

  • Arthritis (hips, shoulders, elbows, back)
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Seizure disorders
  • Soft tissue injuries such as sprains, muscle strains, and neck pain
  • Lick granulomas
  • Neurological conditions
  • Pain and nausea related to cancer
  • Chronic digestive disorders (IBD, diarrhea, constipation)
  • Spinal cord disorders
  • Other medical conditions such as immune-mediated diseases and chronic liver or kidney diseases.

How does acupuncture complement western medicine?

Just as with homeopathy and other forms of complementary medicine, acupuncture focuses on the whole animal. It is a type of holistic medicine where the subject is perceived not merely as a sum of all the parts, but as a whole. Thus, all aspects of the animal, including the physical and emotional environment, are considered. Treatment is aimed at alleviating the animal’s primary condition and improving their quality of life. In no way does it replace western medicine. Rather, it complements it, offering clients and their pets another option for treatment.