At Montrose Animal Hospital and Pet Hotel, we believe that dogs and cats can benefit from acupuncture similarly the way humans benefit from this treatment. Acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. Acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). And, most important, by providing veterinary acupuncture, we are enhancing the human animal bond by providing your pet with the best medicine available.
Acupuncture treatments are performed by Dr. Agda Tamassia. Dr. Tamassia graduated with honors from the University of Florida, where she acquired a strong foundation in Western medicine. Her interest in acupuncture and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine started while she studied under the guidance of Dr. Xie, who has been practicing veterinary acupuncture for over 25 years and is considered one of the most renowned veterinary acupuncturists in the United States.
Acupuncture is defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for at least 3000 years to treat many ailments. Acupuncture is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of maladies in every species of domestic and exotic animals. Acupuncture is not a cure-all, but can work very well when it is indicated.
Acupuncture is indicated for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies) and pain. For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:
Most dogs and cats feel very relaxed simply because of the release of endorphins soon after the first acupuncture needle is inserted—just like humans. They may experience a brief moment of sensitivity as the needle penetrates the skin in certain sensitive areas. Once the needles are in place, however, most animals relax and, often times, the fall asleep during treatment. Some pets with high levels of anxiety or fear may take longer to reach a relaxed state but often become more relaxes with subsequent treatments.
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment for animals when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Side effects of acupuncture are rare but they do exist. Your pet’s condition may seem to worsen 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 your pet’s condition.
It usually takes at least 3-4 acupuncture treatments before resolution or improvement of clinical signs. Acupuncture usually does not work alone. A combination of acupuncture techniques, herbal supplements, diet change and massage is necessary to achieve the desired goal.
The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation that is used by us. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may take as little as 10 seconds or as much as 30 minutes.
Animals undergoing athletic training can benefit from acupuncture as often as twice a week to once a month. The frequency depends on the intensity of the training and the condition of the athlete.