Acupuncture has been practiced in both animals and humans and has been a regular part of the veterinary medical system in China for thousands of years. It is considered an integral part of healing, balance, and pain relief. As such, acupuncture has grown increasingly popular within the Western veterinary community over the last few decades. As of 2019, Pine Bluff Animal Hospital is proud to offer acupuncture with our Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, Dr. Lisa Coder! She has successfully used this modality with many of the pets we see at Pine Bluff, and has greatly improved their quality of life. 

Acupuncture causes a therapeutic effect by inserting sterile, thin needles into specific and discrete points on your pet’s body. Within the broad definition of acupuncture, other therapies including electrical stimulation, moxibustion, and aquapuncture are used with good results. Studies have shown acupuncture releases endorphins and natural pain relievers in order to block various pathways within the pain cycle. 

Acupuncture is known for its many benefits and treatment of both chronic and acute medical conditions. If your pet suffers from anxiety, pain, or stress, acupuncture may be a helpful treatment option. Pets also suffering from Cushing’s disease, arthritis, chronic kidney disease, and other diseases that cause inflammation may also benefit from veterinary acupuncture. 

An initial acupuncture treatment can be as long as an hour, which includes a physical exam, discussion of your pet’s health history and the acupuncture treatment. During an acupuncture treatment, your pet’s body will respond through a series of interactions among the endocrine system, nervous system, and immune system. Acupuncture decreases pain while opening the flow of energy through your pet’s natural meridians in the body. This allows your pet to function better as a whole while restoring normal energy flow and balance. 

Although we may see noticeable results immediately, follow-up appointments are important, both to identify how many treatments your pet will require and to allow for best results. Follow up appointments are typically between 20-30 minutes, and are usually spaced between 1-2 weeks apart depending on your pet’s condition and response. 

It is important to note that when administered by a qualified and certified practitioner, acupuncture is considered to be a safe and effective pain treatment for pets. Also, acupuncture for pets also does not hurt! Generally, pets are very comfortable with the acupuncture treatment and often become sleepy or lay down during this relaxing form of therapy. Sedation is rarely needed.