TREATMENT OF PETS WITH ACUPUNCTURE.
Acupuncture has been used to treat human illnesses in China for over 3,000 years. What many people may not realize however is that it has been used in animals for the same time. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) applies to all species equally, and as animals were vital to the Chinese their health was taken very seriously.
Acupuncture is only one of a number of aspects of TCM, but the one most commonly used by vets. It is difficult to alter environment and lifestyle, changes in diet are limited. Herbal formalas are the most common other forms of TCM used in conjunction with acupuncture.
According to TCM the energy (called Chi) in a living body which is essential to life, travels in specific paths called meridians. Chi is derived from food and the air we breathe. When the smooth flow of this Chi is interrupted, obstructed, blocked, in excess or deficiency, disease results.
Acupuncture points are very specific areas on the meridians on the surface of the body where we can influence the flow of Chi. There are well over 300 acupuncture points, all having different actions. The meridians are named for the organ energy they associate with, e.g. The Liver meridian etc.
As for conventional western medicine, the most important aspect in successful acupuncture is a correct diagnosis. It’s critical that the vet performing the treatment is qualified, and registered as a veterinary acupuncturist. Trying to make a western diagnosis, then using acupuncture simply won’t work, the formula must come from a TCM diagnosis. Similarly using a non-vet to give treatments is very risky, some very serious diseases are often overlooked. The International Veterinary Acupuncture Society conducts the courses that vets can take, does the rigorous testing, maintains the registrations, and provides the ongoing refresher courses to ensure maintenance of high standards of practitioners. The Australian Veterinary Association also has an acupuncture sub-group to similarly register acupuncture vets.
Once a diagnosis is made, a formula of several points is made and treatment given. This treatment usually involves placing some very fine needles into the chosen acupuncture points. Alternatively treatment may be pressure, electrical stimulation, injection of fluids, implantation of gold beads, application of laser energy etc. The time the points need to be stimulated depends on the effect required and may be from 5 to 30 minutes.
Most people these days are well aware of the treatment of problems such as arthritis, muscle & ligament injuries like torn cruciates, but they often don’t realize the wide range of diseases that will often respond to acupuncture. Since graduating with IVAS 18 years ago, Dr Clark has treated a huge variety of problems, from stroke and severe brain trauma, through reproductive, kidney, bladder, skin, ear, respiratory, and gut problems all the way to psychological disturbances such as separation anxiety.