Acupuncture

Dr, Kris Abbey has received extensive training and certification in Veterinary Acupuncture.  She is the only veterinarian who performs this specialized treatment at Hampden Family Pet Hospital. Acupuncture has been proven to increase endorphins (the body’s natural analgesia and pain relievers), boost the immune system, increase blood circulation to the areas needed, relieve muscle spasms, and stimulate nerves. Many animals become relaxed or will even sleep during the treatment session.

What is acupuncture?

  • Acupuncture is the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to correlate with a desired healing effect.

There are different acupuncture techniques: Manual or dry needling is the most common, where needles are inserted for 10-30 minutes.Electropuncture is the process of hooking electrodes to some of the inserted needles to pass low levels of electrical energy through acupuncture points. This is not painful and produces a mild tingling sensation under the skin. Other techniques include aquapuncture, where small amounts of saline or vitamins are injected into a site ormoxibustion which involves warming the needle.

How does acupuncture work?

  • On average, 65-85% of animals will show moderate to marked improvement with treatments.

Acupuncture has been proven to increase endorphins (the body’s natural analgesia and pain relievers), boost the immune system, increase blood circulation to the areas needed, relieve muscle spasms, and stimulate nerves. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, disease is the result of an imbalance of energy in the body. Specific acupuncture points will help redirect the body’s energy (chi) back into harmony. In western medical terms, acupuncture assists the body by causing physiologic changes.

What are some of the uses of acupuncture?

Acupuncture can have an effect on a variety of illnesses. It is often used in conjunction with Western medicine and surgical treatment. The most common conditions where veterinary acupuncture is used include:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders (arthritis, back pain).
  • Neurological disorders
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Respiratory disorders

Is acupuncture painful?

  • Many animals become relaxed or will even sleep during treatment sessions.

Most pets are very tolerant of the needles. Because acupuncture needles are much smaler than needles used for vaccinations and injections, needle insertion is usually painless. It is important for owners to relax during treatments because pets are very sensitive to their owner’s anxieties.

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

  • The length and frequency of treatments depends on the problem and condition of your pet.

Effectiveness of acupuncture will vary depending on the disease and the individual pet. Initially we recommend 4-6 treatments about one week apart. If the problem is acute (occurring suddenly), such as back pain, we may not need to do any follow-up visit. If the disease is chronic, such as arthritis, treatments may be needed for 1-4 months. We are usually able to see improvement by the 4th or 5th treatment.

Are all veterinarans qualified to do acupuncture?

  • No, acupuncture is not usually part of veterinary school training.

A vet who wants to become certfied in acupuncture takes a 5-month course after vet school. After this course, certification is completed by passing written and practical exams, writing a scientific paper, and completing externship hours.

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