The use of many holistic treatments now compliments conventional medicine available for your pet. Acupuncture and related therapies used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine have not only become routinely used by western physicians but veterinary practitioners as well. Acupuncture is being used more frequently to help manage chronic pain and illnesses in dogs and cats. A variety of conditions may respond to the use of acupuncture either as a primary treatment or in combination with conventional medicine.
How Acupuncture Works
The use of acupuncture is based on the belief that a vital life force, called qi (pronounced chee) flows through the body through a series of pathways known as meridians. Stimulation of points along these pathways causes the body to release natural pain relief chemicals called endorphins. Other effects produced may involve the release of anti-inflammatory and euphoric substances, increased circulation and decreased inflammation. Neurotransmitters, serotonin and prostaglandins are other substances that have physiologic effects and may be influenced under the stimulation of acupuncture. The precise mechanisms are unknown, but the goal in acupuncture is to balance chi, to increase it in some meridians and decrease it in others. Unbalanced qi is thought to be the cause of disease.
The insertion of tiny needles, sometimes as fine as a hair, is made at specific points. The process is barely perceptible and many pets feel nothing at all. A mild electrical current is sometimes applied, or the needles may be rotated in place or moved up and down to achieve the desired effect. Where the needles are placed is dependant upon what is being treated. The average treatment takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Relief may be evident as soon as the first treatment is completed; however, results may not be noticeable for 2 to 6 weeks depending on the severity of the problem. In some cases, the pet may not show any improvement at all. A typical regimen would start with 1 treatment per week. Once the condition is managed, sessions may be scheduled at less frequent intervals. Not all patients are helped by acupuncture. There is debate in human medicine as to whether the resultant pain relief experienced in people is due to a placebo effect. Since pets have no psychological or emotional expectations of the treatments, improvements can be interpreted as successes.
Common Reasons for Acupuncture
The single most common reason to perform acupuncture on a dog or cat is pain management. Due to arthritis and degenerative joint diseases, such as hip dysplasia or disc disease, your aging pet may experience pain in the elbows, knees, hips, and spine. This pain can make it difficult for your pet to stand, sit, walk, or even lie down comfortably, and in some cases can affect urination and defecation, if squatting or posturing becomes painful. A few of the many other conditions that may be successfully treated with acupuncture include digestive disorders, chronic kidney disease, allergies, and some skin problems.
Herbal Remedies & Whole Food Supplements
Nature and nutrition provide the building blocks for your pet's health. Providing your dog and cat with good nutrition can be a complicated matter, as the canine and feline wild diet is markedly different from today's convenient but less-than-nutritious kibble. In addition to offering raw diets that most closely mimic the natural diet of your dog or cat, we also offer herbal supplements to aid with general health or specific deficiencies.