About Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat numerous conditions. It is a safe therapy if practised by a professionally trained veterinary practitioner and is non-stressful for both animal and owner. Side effects are rare. It is a complementary treatment so it works effectively alongside existing conventional veterinary medicine. It provides pain relief and stimulates the body's natural defence system. It is effective for a wide range of problems, providing an alternative option when there is a concern that drugs may create harmful side effects. It can also be used to treat conditions which are unresponsive to medication, or when surgery is not an option.

What can acupuncture be used for?

Acupuncture can reduce inflammation, block pain and improve organ function and thus can be effective for the alleviation of pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, inappetence, and improving the quality of life. Medical conditions that can respond to acupuncture therapy include: Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, or vertebral disc disease Cardiovascular problems such as dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathies Respiratory problems such as feline asthma, sinusitis, and laryngeal paralysis Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting Urinary tract problems such as cystitis, incontinence, and urethral blockage Skin conditions such as chronic ear infections, lick granulomas, and allergies Neurological problems such as epilepsy, paralysis, and degenerative myelopathy Geriatric conditions such as kidney disease, liver disease, and cognitive disorders

Does acupuncture hurt?

Acupuncture treatments are usually well tolerated by animals. The needles used are very thin, approximately the size of a cat’s whisker. Needle insertion is usually not painful, however, certain points can be sensitive and a slight pain be be experienced as the needles are inserted, usually just as the needle penetrates the skin. Different points may elicit different sensations. Therefore, animals may respond differently with each needle inserted. Once inserted, there shouldn’t be any pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy.

Is acupuncture safe?

Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies utilized when practiced by a trained acupuncturist. Side effects are rare but they do exist. An animal's condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals may become sleepy or lethargic for 24 hours after acupuncture. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal's condition. This is temporary and indicates that the animal is indeed sensitive to the effects of acupuncture.

Aim of treatment

The aim of Kalmeren Veterinary Acupuncture is to maximize the well being of each animal treated. Emphasis is on the whole patient to allow the body to respond with its own healing. Therefore, we treat the patient, not the disease. Your pet is not the disease.

What should I expect in the first appointment?

The initial consultation involves an review of your pet's past and current medical history and a review of your pet's routine daily behavior and body functions. Some of the questions may seem strange, however, answers provide clues to a TCM diagnosis. A physical exam will be done involving both Modern Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine approaches. Needles will be placed in appropriate acupuncture points.

How often and for how long does one treat?

Actual needle placement is 20 to 30 minutes. In general, patients are treated weekly in the first month. After a positive response to initial weekly treatments, patients are then treated once every two weeks for two to three sessions. The time between sessions can be gradually lengthened based on the response to treatments. Maintenance treatments are then determined on a patient basis, anywhere from once a month to every two to three months. In some cases, treatments are suspended until reappearance of symptoms. For geriatric or weaker patients, treatments may be less frequent with fewer points needled so as not to spread their resources too thinly. Acute injuries may require more frequent treatment initially (ie. 2-3 times in the first week).

How does acupuncture work?

According to ancient Chinese medical philosophy, disease is the result of an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy and assist the body to heal disease. In Western terms, acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by causing certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body's pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of the physiological effects of acupuncture have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be done to discover all of acupuncture's effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine. While acupuncture is not a cure-all, it can work very well in up to 70-80% of cases (when it is indicated for that condition).

How long do acupuncture treatments last and how often are they given?

The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments varies with the condition of the patient. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may take as little as 10 seconds or as much as 30 minutes. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain may require only one treatment whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several or several dozen treatments. When multiple treatments are necessary, they usually begin intensively and are tapered to maximum efficiency. Patients often start with 1-3 treatments per week for 4-6 weeks. A positive response is usually seen after the first to third treatments. Once a maximum positive response is achieved (usually after 4-8 treatments), treatments are tapered so that the greatest amount of symptom free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can taper off to 2-4 treatments per year.