Veterinary acupuncture, based on similar principles to human acupuncture, has been in use for thousands of years. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, of which it is a part, are still first-line medicine for a large proportion of the world's population.
The AVMC has been offering veterinary acupuncture since 1987 but acupuncture vet Christopher Day, founder and practice principal, has used it for more than thirty years.
Acupuncture is usually well-tolerated and even enjoyed by most patients, including horses, ponies, dogs and cats. During treatment, patients usually enter a state of profound relaxation or even apparent deep sleep.
Acupuncture is, of course, a system of medicine which does not leave drug residues in the body. It is therefore well-suited to the treatment of food animals and sporting animals. It is most commonly called upon to treat horses, ponies, dogs and cats [equine acupuncture, canine acupuncture and feline acupuncture].
Acupuncture is, strictly speaking, the art of inserting needles into specific 'acupuncture points' on the body's surface, to correct balance and rhythm of the energy flows within the body. It is a form of energy medicine.
Acupuncture points may be stimulated by means other than needles, e.g. LASER, finger pressure ('acupressure'), heat (moxibustion), electrical charge (electro-acupuncture).
The almost immediate effect is usually of profound relaxation. This can last for more than a day. Immediate pain relief is also a pleasant sequel of treatment, leading to its use in pain clinics for humans and in painful animal conditions. It can even be used to induce anaesthesia.
Clinical conditions that veterinary acupuncture is commonly called upon to treat are: back problems, neck problems, aortic embolism, pain, arthritis, CDRM, lameness, weakness, paralysis, spondylosis (spondylitis), disc disease (prolapsed intervertebral disc - PID), chorea, shaker, shiverer (shivering), periodic ophthalmia (moonblindness, moon blindness, recurrent ophthalmia or recurrent uveitis), OCD, DJD, spavin, stringhalt, ringbone, cruciate ligament injury (anterior cruciate), sinusitis, incontinence, head shaking (head-shaking or headshaking), laminitis, wobbler syndrome and hip dysplasia.
The general approach is to offer a course of three treatments. Experience has shown us that patients who show no positive response in that time will usually not respond to more sessions. The classical response pattern in successful cases is to show liitle or no change after the first, some improvement after the second and large, more obvious improvement after the third. Further treatments, according to each patients requirements may or may not be necessary.
In the West, acupuncture tends to be used in isolation. That is not the best way to obtain results. Acupuncture should be part of an integrated and holistic approach, which includes chiropractic manipulation, internal medicine, dietary correction and lifestyle changes.
For more information, visit the AVMC's major website: http://www.alternativevet.org/acupuncture.htm
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