I have been practicing acupuncture for approximately two years now. It has been a wonderful tool to add to general veterinary practice to help my patients. The most successful cases I have treated are neurological cases that have pinched nerves or a compressed disk in their back affecting their ability to walk. With weekly or twice weekly acupuncture treatments for the first few weeks, the majority of the cases show improvement quickly and are slowly returning to normal activity in a few weeks to months. Acupuncture not only helps these cases by providing additional pain relief but also helps stimulate the nervous system to heal and return to normal function.
The second most common reason for acupuncture is to treat chronic pain such as osteoarthritis. While these cases do not seem to show the dramatic improvement that the neurological cases do, I do see improvement in their comfort level over a few months. Some of them have been able to decrease the number of prescription pain relievers they use, and many of them can go on longer walks than they did before. Finally, we have also started offering acupuncture treatments to dogs going under anesthesia for dental cleanings and teeth extractions. While we cannot say for sure, we do feel that these patients do seem to wake up more comfortable and relaxed.
Here is a refresher on how acupuncture works:
Acupuncture involves placing tiny needles in specific points on the body. It has evolved from Chinese medicine into Western medicine. There is now scientific research showing that stimulating certain acupuncture points can bring pain relief, encourage healing and get better control of chronic diseases. A simple way of thinking of acupuncture is that it encourages the body to heal itself.
Written by: Dr. Jessica Wilson, DVM