What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the placement of sterile needles in specific locations on the body. Many of these locations are where muscle knots develop and cause pain (trigger points), or where abundant nerve endings exist that can provide input to the nervous system to modulate pain and body functions.
Who can benefit?
Acupuncture can benefit dogs, cats and exotic pets with painful conditions such as arthritis, back or neck pain, post-operative pain, and soft tissue pain or muscle spasm. It can be helpful in managing other medical conditions such as nausea or a poor appetite, nerve injury and can be used during anesthesia to lessen the amount of anesthetic drugs needed and help regulate blood pressure.
What happens during an acupuncture appointment?
The first session typically takes a bit longer than follow-up visits, so plan on spending an hour for your first visit. Dr. Paster will perform a physical exam, including a through myofascial palpation. You will discuss your pet’s medical conditions and come up with a treatment plan. Feel free to ask any questions you have about acupuncture and express any concerns. Acupuncture will be done during the initial consult. The acupuncture needles are very thin, and most pets tolerate them very well. Some areas may be more sensitive and cause a slight twitch or brief sensation when the needle is inserted. Feel free to bring some of your pet’s favorite treats to distract them. The needles will remain in place for about 10 to 15 minutes; some may fall out on their own.
How many treatments are needed?
Most conditions are initially treated twice a week, and then the frequency of acupuncture is tapered to suit the individual patient.
If your pet is being hospitalized for a medical condition or for anesthesia, acupuncture may be used as a single treatment while in-hospital.
Are there side-effects?
Side effects are rare, but some owners may notice that their pet is a bit sleepy after the treatment. If tight muscles are treated, some cool-packing may be recommended afterward to prevent soreness. Some pets will lick at the needles, so we will need to make sure that none are ingested. Very rarely, a pet may bleed briefly where a needle is inserted.
Our goal is to make acupuncture as relaxing and enjoyable as possible for your pets. Some pets do not mind, others may need to be offered a tasty treat as a distraction. Cats may prefer to remain in a bed or their carrier with the lid open. Feel free to bring your pet’s favorite treats/bed to their acupuncture sessions.
Additional care and services:
Physical rehabilitation, long accepted as common in human health care, has recently become common in the veterinary world. A variety of patients can benefit from physical rehabilitation. Patients with neurologic injury or arthritis, overweight patients, and those recovering from surgery or a soft tissue injury will all benefit from physical rehabilitation. Patients with chronic pain can benefit from rehabilitation and may be able to reduce their dependence on pharmaceuticals.
Therapeutic exercise is the cornerstone of a physical rehabilitation program. Therapeutic exercise will address strength, flexibility, balance and proprioception. Therapeutic exercises will be done during your pet’s rehabilitation appointment. Also, a home exercise program for your pet will be prescribed, and you will be educated on how to supervise your pets home program. You will be very involved in your pet’s recovery and you will likely find the extra interaction with your pet rewarding and fun.
Learn more about Dr. Diane Paster, DVM, DAVBP, CCRT, CVPP, cVMA