What to Expect From An Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture needles are very thin. Therefore, for most animals, the needle insertion is painless. Occasionally, there may be mild, momentary discomfort, a tingling sensation or numbness. There should not be any pain once the needles are inserted. Most dogs and many cats come to love their treatments. Many will relax so much, they will fall asleep. Side effects are rare. Some animals may have worse symptoms for up to 48 hours, after which there is significant improvement. Some may be sleepy for 24 hours. The needles may be in place for a few seconds up to 30 minutes, depending on the effect needed for each patient. Acute problems frequently respond well to treatments several times a week for two to three weeks. Occasionally, one treatment will be sufficient. Chronic problems are usually treated once weekly for four to six weeks, then tapered to the lowest frequency possible to retain the improvement. With patients with arthritis, the frequency may change with the seasons (temperature), weather (barometric pressure), or based on the amount of exercise and soreness the exercise may cause. Severe conditions may require more frequent treatments or treatments for a longer period of time. Approximately 20% of patients will not respond to acupuncture. This will be evident by the fourth to sixth treatment, when most patient’s response should be peaking. If this occurs, treatment is discontinued. Another 20% will be “hyper-responders”, those patients that show remarkable improvement within the first 24 hours.
What to Expect on Your First Treatment
On the first visit, I do a thorough physical examination and this is a very important part of your pet’s medical care. All of your pet’s body systems will be examined, a thorough history taken, including your pet’s diet, lifestyle and behaviors. I am happy to work with your regular veterinarian whenever possible. If there are any diagnostic procedures that already have been done, such as bloodwork, xrays, urinalysis, etc., I would like to have them available for review. In turn, if there are tests that should be done to help diagnose any problems or to be sure no harm can be done to your pet, I will request that you have your veterinarian do those tests. If requested, I am happy to share my treatment recommendations and results with your veterinarian. I will not perform any these treatments on your pet without knowing your pet’s diagnosis and that it is safe to do so.
“Integrative Medicine is a new approach to medical care that brings patient and practitioner together in a dynamic partnership dedicated to optimizing the patient’s health and healing. This approach focuses on the whole person, recognizing that the subtle interactions of mind, body, spirit and community have a direct impact on vitality and well-being.” Duke School of Integrative Medicine
For our veterinary patients, this means providing my patients with opportunities that she or he needs to heal him or herself. This is Integrative Medicine, the joining of multiple medical techniques that have evolved from many different disciplines, and have been scientifically proven to have effect. By combining the strengths of multiple medical traditions and techniques, we can find the most gentle and most effective combination for each patient. The partnership includes your pet, you as the caregiver and interpreter, and your veterinary team, which should include your regular veterinarian and any special care providers such as myself. In choosing an acupuncturist, it is important to be sure that she or he is a licensed veterinarian and that they have extended formal training in the practice of acupuncture in animals.