What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the placement of very small/thin needles into the skin at specific points. These specific points are called acupuncture points and have been mapped along the body of many animal species. Acupuncture points are often at locations that have a high density of nerve fibers, vessels, or fascia. Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and has been used since to treat many different conditions.
What conditions can acupuncture help?
Acupuncture provides benefits for many conditions in animals. Some of the most common conditions that acupuncture is used for are pain, arthritis, and soreness especially in aging pets. However, acupuncture can be helpful for so many more conditions. Some examples include, but are not limited to, neurological disorders such as intervertebral disc disease, gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, and stimulating wound healing. Acupuncture has also been shown to have beneficial effects on certain reproductive, cardiovascular, respiratory, and skin conditions.
What animals can receive acupuncture?
Any! Acupuncture points have been mapped out on most domestic animal species. The first animals to have the acupuncture points mapped were horses and dogs. From there acupuncture maps were made for most other species.
How does acupuncture work?
Acupuncture works with the body to heal itself using its natural physiological processes. Acupuncture works to return the body to a balanced state. From our Western medicine standpoint, acupuncture stimulates nerves, increases blood flow and circulation, relieves muscle spasms, and stimulates hormone release to help the body perform a variety of natural functions. Many of the effects of acupuncture have been studied and shown beneficial results, however, acupuncture has been used to treat so many conditions for so long that there are many effects that are still unknown and research will continually be performed.
Is it painful, how well do animals tolerate acupuncture?
Most animals tolerate acupuncture well and it is typically not painful. However, some acupuncture points are sensitive and animals can occasionally respond to this sensitivity. Also, uncommonly there can be sensitivity when the needle goes through the skin, after the needle is in place there should be virtually no pain.
If, for whatever reason, a specific animal does not tolerate acupuncture needles well, a therapeutic laser can be used to stimulate the acupuncture points instead. This is termed laser acupuncture, and is also a service that we offer at Potlatch Veterinary Clinic.
Meet our Acupuncturist!
Dr. Lillian McKinley is our certified veterinary acupuncturist at Potlatch Vet Clinic. She is a graduate of Washington State University, and is a certified veterinary acupuncturist. Dr. McKinley did her acupuncture training with the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society and is certified in both small and large animal acupuncture.
How do I get started?
If you are interested in pursuing acupuncture treatment for your animal, please contact Potlatch Veterinary Clinic at 208-875-4838. First, we will schedule you an initial acupuncture consultation/treatment with our acupuncturist, Dr. Lillian McKinley. This initial acupuncture appointment includes a full history and examination of your pet; as well as a full Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) history and examination for Dr. McKinley to fully evaluate your animal from both a Western and Eastern medicine perspective. Next during this initial acupuncture appointment, Dr. McKinley will see how your animal reacts to acupuncture needle placement and do the first acupuncture treatment session.
Following the initial acupuncture consultation/treatment, if acupuncture is right for your pet, additional acupuncture treatments can be scheduled based on your animal’s unique needs. Most commonly, weekly acupuncture treatments are recommended for 4-6 weeks. This is because acupuncture is thought to have cumulative effects and sessions build on each other. After the first 4-6 weeks of treatment, the treatment frequency is adjusted to best fit your pet’s unique needs. At Potlatch Veterinary Clinic we offer acupuncture packages or individual session pricing to fit your needs and your schedule. Give us a call if you think acupuncture can help your animal, 208-875-4838.