Acupuncture for your Pets

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insertion of needles in a specific point to increase blood flow and produce a healing response via the central nervous system. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in China as both preventative medicine and to treat illnesses.

It is used widely around the world in human and animal medicine to treat a variety of conditions, and with an increase of high quality scientific studies demonstrating the effects of acupuncture, the use of acupuncture is increasing. The American Veterinary

Medical Association considers acupuncture a valid treatment modality within the practice of veterinary medicine and surgery.

For what conditions is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture can be used alone or in conjunction with conventional or integrative medicine to treat a variety of problems. For dogs and cats, the following are general conditions for which acupuncture can be useful:

-Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis, intervertebral disk disease, injuries, and inflammation

-Respiratory problems such as asthma

-Skin problems such as allergic dermatitis and lick granulomas

-Gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea and lack of appetite

-Neurological problems such as epilepsy

-Preventative medicine for canine athletes

Does it hurt?

For small animals, acupuncture is virtually painless and once the needles are inserted, there should be no pain. Acupuncture treatment may cause sensation such as tingling and numbness at the acupuncture point and many times the animal does not seem to feel the insertion of the needle. Most animals become sleepy and relaxed during treatment.

Acupuncture is safe for animals and side effects are extremely rare, especially when performed by a trained veterinarian. Some animals may be lethargic for 24 hours after treatment, which is an indication of physiological changes, and this is generally followed by an improvement in the animal’s health.

How do I choose an acupuncturist for my cat or dog?

Acupuncture should be performed by a licensed veterinarian with formal training in veterinary acupuncture. The dog or cat should have proper medical diagnosis and ongoing monitoring of the patient by a licensed veterinarian. The more your veterinarian knows about the scientific basis of acupuncture as well as traditional Chinese philosophies, the more that you can rest assured that your animal will get the proper care.

Dr. Lindsay Church is a graduate of Atlantic Veterinary College in Prince Edward Island, Canada. Dr. Church believes in an integrative approach to veterinary medicine that considers environment, diet and lifestyle to be crucial aspects of pet wellbeing and health. She practices conventional medicine and surgery as well as holistic modalities with a special interest in acupuncture and nutrition. She has completed extensive post-doctoral training in veterinary acupuncture through the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. On the personal side, Lindsay is very happy to be living in the mid-coast, enjoying skiing, hiking, and paddle boarding with her partner Christine.

PenBay Veterinary Associates is a proud member of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). For more information please visit or call 594-8300.

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