Acupuncture has been defined as the insertion of needles into specific anatomical locations on the body to produce a healing response. Each point has a specific action when stimulated – it may help with pain management, inflammation, and sometimes metabolic issues. While acupuncture is not indicated for all cases, it can work well in combination with traditional medicine.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a consensus statement about acupuncture and its efficacy which you can read here. The NIH believes there is “compelling evidence that acupuncture is useful in the management of osteoarthritis and musculoskeletal pain”. In traditional medical terms, acupuncture helps to heal the body by stimulating nerves, increasing blood circulation, relieving muscle spasms or releasing hormones such as endorphins (the body’s pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid).
Conditions such as musculoskeletal problems (osteoarthritis, intervertebral disk disease or traumatic nerve injuries) commonly respond best to acupuncture in combination with rehabilitation. Other conditions such as respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems may also respond to acupuncture in combination with traditional or herbal remedies.
Acupuncture is usually not painful although the initial “poke” of the needle may be slightly uncomfortable. Most of the time as the needle advances through the muscle it is not painful although the patient may experience some slight discomfort. It is not uncommon for the patient to experience mild lethargy or sleepiness over the next 12-24 hours after the treatment commonly followed by an improvement of the animal’s condition with additional treatments.
Acupuncture should only be treated by a licensed veterinarian that is certified in veterinary acupuncture. The patient should have a proper veterinary medical diagnosis and an ongoing assessment should be maintained as acupuncture may mask pain or other clinical signs. Acupuncture is not recommended for patients with cancer because acupuncture increases blood flow and can exacerbate cancer growth.
Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation (VOM)
Veterinary Orthopedic Manipulation is a healing technology that locates areas of the animal’s nervous system that has fallen out of communication and reestablishes neuronal communication and thus induces healing. The goal of an adjustment in an animal is that all the vertebral subluxations in that animal are reduced.
VOM can treat:
- Acute and non-acute lameness
- Progressive lameness
- Hip Dysplasia-like syndromes
- IV Disc disease
- Progressive myelopathies (“down in the rears” dogs)
- Urinary and fecal incontinence
- Unilateral lameness
- Wobbler’s Disease
- Diseases of the knee
- Esophageal disease
- Digestive disorders
- Performance problems
- Behavioral problems
- Agility dysfunction
- Endocrine disease
Dr. Rachel Starr is VOM-trained practitioners.
Standard Process Supplements
Here at Elk Rapids Animal Hospital, we carry nutritional supplements from Standard Process. We chose Standard Process because they make high-quality, whole food nutritional supplements to support the body through healing, to support specific organ functions, or to add nutritive value to dog food. Having the right nutrients available is important to healing and many chronic health conditions can benefit from nutritional support. If your dog has chronic or intermittent diarrhea or vomiting, thyroid disease, adrenal disease, allergies, heart disease, kidney or liver disease, or autoimmune disease, he or she may be a good candidate for nutritional support. If you are interested in whole food vitamins or augmenting your pet’s treatment with nutritional support, schedule a nutritional consultation with Dr. Rachel Starr.