What is acupuncture?
You’ve probably heard of acupuncture for humans, but did you know that veterinary acupuncture can help treat your pet’s chronic diseases? This form of Chinese medicine involved the insertion of very thin needles into the skin at specific points called acupoints. When the needles are placed in these acupoints, the body and self-healing begin to balance the energy’s (chi) to treat whatever your pet’s needs may be. When the needles are inserted into the acupoints correctly, this allows the energy flow to rebalance. Acupuncture is commonly used to address chronic pain, enhance blood circulation, and reduce inflammation by releasing the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals.
Acupuncture is used around the world for ongoing treatments and preventative care. Combined with Western medicine, acupuncture can help treat a wide variety of different injuries and medical conditions.
Veterinary acupuncture requires a certification after completing the course requirements. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Kelsey Stover, DVM practicing at Lazy 5 Vets. Dr. Stover has completed her acupuncture certification requirements. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology with Chemistry and Music Minors at Western Carolina University. She studied Veterinary Medicine at NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in 2017 with a focus on Small Animal Medicine with an Exotics Emphasis. During her time in veterinary school, Dr. Stover took opportunities to study different aspects of veterinary medicine in countries such as China, Tanzania, and Ecuador; it was in China where she first started learning about and studying veterinary acupuncture. She went on to complete her training with Chi University (formerly the Chi Institute) for veterinary acupuncture and received her Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist certification in September 2019. Her other professional interests include companion animal medicine with a special interest in feline medicine and physical rehabilitation. She is currently working toward becoming a feline-friendly certified veterinarian through the American Association of Feline Practitioners.
What conditions are most often treated with Veterinary Acupuncture?
As mentioned before, acupuncture can treat a variety of different health needs that your pet may be experiencing like:
- Chronic diseases (kidney, heart, and liver)
- Degenerative Joint Disease or IVDD (Intervertebral Disc Disease)
- Skin allergies
- Seizure patients
- Neurological issues
- Gastrointestinal disease
In situations where your pet’s condition may be more serious, multiple treatments may be required until full relief is experienced. If your pet has a chronic condition, they may need to follow a treatment regime to manage their symptoms until they start experiencing decreased symptoms.
Before starting acupuncture for your pet, Dr. Stover will schedule a consultation to determine their needs, medical history, and to physically feel your pet to truly understand how to properly treat them.
Can my pet be treated with acupuncture?
All species can use acupuncture as a form of treatment for their medical needs. This treatment originally started with larger animals like cattle or horses, but now is available for cats, dogs, birds, raptors, and sea mammals. It is very common for animals like dogs and horses that may be involved in sporting events and races to use acupuncture for their athletic injuries. Your pet does not have to be an “athlete” to receive this treatment because it is commonly used for household pets. To determine if acupuncture is the correct course of treatment for your pet, schedule a consultation at our office first so that our team of professionals can determine how to best treat the needs of your furry friend.
Will acupuncture hurt my pet?
The needles used for veterinary acupuncture are so thin, that this is a virtually painless process for small animals like cats and dogs. During acupuncture, it is common for the muscle to twitch but this is a positive sign. When the muscle begins to twitch, this means that the body is responding positively to the site of injection. There is even a possibility that your pet may fall asleep during the process because it is so painless. For larger animals, larger needles are used which may lead to some pain as the needle is penetrating the skin. Once injected, there is no pain.
Overall, the risks of veterinary acupuncture are very low but it is crucial that acupuncture is only administered by a trained professional like Dr. Stover here at Lazy 5 Vets. If your pet is not properly diagnosed before acupuncture is performed, it could cause more harm than good and leave your pet in more pain than before. There is a possibility of side effects, but these cases are very rare. Occasionally, there is a reaction at the injection site, but this is a rare occasion because the needles are so thin.
If you would like more information to help determine if veterinary acupuncture is right for your pet, you can also watch a video here where Dr. Stover herself explains how she treats each pet differently based on their needs. If you are interested in scheduling an initial consultation for your pet with Dr. Stover please visit our website here or call our office at 704-636-1100.