At Choice Veterinary Services in Punta Gorda, Dr. Phillip Shaw received his Certified Veterinary Acupuncture (CVA) from the Chi Institute in 2009. In 2010 he also received his advanced courses in small animal and exotic acupuncture. Dr. Shaw uses dry needle, electro-acupuncture and aquapuncture for TCVM (Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine) pathology. Patients treated are Avian , Feline , Canine, and Exotic species. In combination with acupuncture , herbal therapy is also used for longevity of effect for chronic disease.
What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to produce a healing response. Each acupuncture point has specific actions when stimulated. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for thousands of years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventative medicine. Acupuncture is used all around the world, either along or in conjunction with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of conditions in every species of animal.
How Does Veterinary Acupuncture Work?
In traditional Oriental medicine, “Chi” ran through channels called meridians, which can be thought of as rivers of energy. These rivers can become blocked like a dam, and needling releases the obstruction. Acupuncture is based upon the point selected, the method of stimulation, and the duration of stimulation. Stimulation of these points result in specific changes in the central nervous system. Acupuncture can assist the body to heal itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasm, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid).
For Which Conditions is Veterinary Acupuncture 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:
Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, or traumatic nerve injury
Respiratory problems, such as feline asthma
Skin problems such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea
Selected reproductive problems
Is Veterinary Acupuncture Painful?
For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. The larger needles necessary for large animals may cause some pain as the needle passes through the skin. In all animals, once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingles, cramps, or numbness which can occur in humans and which may be uncomfortable to some animals.
Is Veterinary Acupuncture Safe for Animals?
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. An animal’s condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals become lethargic or sleepy for 24 hours. These effects are an indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the animal’s condition.