Dr. Chelsea Lohmer is a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture stimulates specific points on your pet’s body to produce a healing response. Acupuncture helps the body heal itself by stimulating local nerves to release chemicals that effect nearby muscles, nerves, vessels and the entire nervous system to cause physiologic changes. This can be seen through relieving muscle spasms and knots, decreasing inflammation, improving circulation, stimulating nerves, accelerating the healing process, improving mobility, and releasing endorphins and internal opioids to provide natural pain relief. Stimulating specific points is achieved through pressure using small needles alone or electroacupunture (electrical stimulation of needles) can also be used to enhance nerve stimulation.
How can my pet benefit from acupuncture?
Most commonly, acupuncture is used as a primary or added treatment for pain in animals. However, it can be used for almost any condition to help restore the body to normal function. Some examples of conditions that can benefit from acupuncture include: gastrointestinal (nausea, chronic constipation, poor appetite), musculoskeletal (arthritis, hip/elbow dysplasia, trauma, muscle strain, peak performance for agility/herding/dock diving), pain management after surgery, neurologic (nerve disorders, ataxia [lack of muscle coordination], intervertebral disease, epilepsy, urologic (inappropriate urination, urinary incontinence), respiratory (asthma), cardiovascular (high blood pressure, congestive heart failure), skin (allergies, dermatitis, wounds), and eye (dry eye)
How often does my pet need acupuncture?
Every pet responds differently to their acupuncture treatments. Some will respond after the first treatment and some need between three to six treatments to see a positive response. Treatment plans will be customized to your pet’s condition and response to acupuncture therapy. Most pets are treated once to twice weekly for 4 to 6 treatments, then a treatment every three weeks to months as needed.
What can I expect?
Your pet will be treated with specific points based on your pet’s condition, history, diagnostic acupuncture exam, and your pet’s tolerance to needles. There will be a reevaluation before and after each acupuncture session. Acupuncture is very safe and most patients do not notice the insertion of the needles. Some will have mild reactions and can be distracted with treats to make it a positive experience. Occasionally, your pet’s condition may worsen temporarily before showing improvement. Ultimately, most patients relax, enjoy their treatments, and even fall asleep!