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Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine
Acupuncture, Therapy Laser and Canine Massage
Cambridge Valley Vet Hospital is now offering consultations with treatment in the integrative medicine techniques of Acupuncture, Therapy Laser and Canine Massage. By utilizing these modalities, either along with conventional medical options or on their own, the results are often remarkably beneficial in the health and wellness of our patients.
What is Veterinary Acupuncture?
Veterinary Acupuncture is the insertion of needles at very specific points on the body to produce a healing response. According to Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) perspective, acupuncture works to correct underlying imbalances within the body to encourage healing. Conventional Western medicine shows us that healing occurs through acupuncture by the enhancement blood circulation, the stimulation of the nervous system with the release of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving substances such as cortisol and endorphins.
When is Acupuncture indicated?
Acupuncture is indicated for a number of common canine and feline medical conditions, both acute and chronic. Acupuncture is commonly used for treatment of the following conditions:
Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, soft tissue injuries such as muscle sprains and ligament damage, and post surgical rehabilitation
Gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea (both in acute disease and chronic inflammatory conditions such as Irritable Bowel Disease)
Skin issues such as allergic dermatitis (generalized skin inflammation) and lick granulomas (chronic localized self trauma to the skin)
Respiratory problems such as feline asthma, chronic upper respiratory infections or allergic bronchitis
Internal medicine conditions such as chronic kidney disease, liver disease and generalized or localized autoimmune disorders
Cancer management, either in conjunction with chemotherapy or used with other integrative treatments as a palliative approach
Is Acupuncture Painful for my Pet?
In canine and feline patients, the placement of the acupuncture needles by a veterinarian trained in acupuncture is virtually painless. Most animals become very relaxed. The treatment, however, does produce some sensations as the patient will often breathe faster, show localized muscle contractions or look at certain areas where needles have been placed.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture is a very safe form of treatment for your pet when administered by a veterinarian with proper training. On occasion, side effects may occur. A patient may seem sleepy or lethargic for 24 hours or the condition may seem to worsen temporarily for up to 48 hours. Both of these events indicate physiologic stimulation and are often part of the healing process.
Canine Massage Therapy
CMT is a non-invasive therapy that can be used on patients of all ages, from puppies with growing pains to senior dogs with arthritis. Massage increases circulation, releases endorphins and eliminates toxins. Patients experiencing a decrease in mobility secondary to a muscle injury, orthopedic structural changes such as osteoarthritis or in recovery from orthopedic surgery can all benefit. Regular massage helps muscles to stay toned and healthy, and can prevent repeated injuries. Each CMT session consists of a full body massage, which lasts approximately forty five minutes and works a total of forty six muscle groups. Most owners report an improvement in their dog’s attitude and mobility after one or two sessions, and continuing regular massages for maintenance is recommended.
Therapy laser treatments consist of delivering light therapy of a specific wavelength into the skin and muscle of the patient in the area of an injury. The light energy, or photons, are absorbed within the mitochondria of the cells and induce chemical changes that increase production of the ATP in the cell. This increase in ATP, or cell “fuel”, results in a decrease in inflammation and often will speed healing. Additional benefits include a decrease in pain of both acute and chronic conditions, and a decrease in healing time. Laser therapy also provides an option for patients who are unable to tolerate conventional pain medications because of gastrointestinal, liver or kidney side effects.