The Feline Medical Clinic offers feline acupuncture for our patients. Dr. Novick provides this fantastic service through Columbia Companion Animal Acupuncture at our clinic once a week during regular business hours. Please call our cat-friendly clinic to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions or concerns about this procedure.
Understanding Veterinary Acupuncture
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points in the body which can alter various biochemical and physiological conditions. This procedure is a means of helping the body heal itself. Acupuncture has been used on both animals and humans for nearly 4,000 years. It is recognized throughout the world as a safe and effective form of medicine and requires extensive training.
How Acupuncture Works
Acupuncture is known to affect all major physiological systems. It works primarily through the central nervous system, affecting the musculoskeletal, hormonal, and cardiovascular systems. This procedure does more than relieve pain and how it works depends largely on what condition is being treated and which points are utilized. Acupuncture can increase circulation, release neurotransmitters, neurohormones, and endorphins, relieve muscle spasms, stimulate nerves, and boost the body’s defense system.
According to Chinese philosophy, disease is an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture therapy is based on rebalancing that energy and correct the flow of energy and heal the human or animal.
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Feline acupuncture is a very safe medical procedure when administered by a qualified practitioner. Very few side effects have been found in clinical cases, although occasionally, an animal’s condition may temporarily deteriorate before improving. Since acupuncture balances the body’s system of healing without the use of chemicals, very few complications have ever developed.
Does Acupuncture Hurt?
Proper acupuncture therapy may induce distension and a feeling of heaviness along with contractions of a local muscle. There is occasionally a brief moment of sensitivity as the needle penetrates the skin, then the sensation of energy or heat flowing. Once the needles are in place, most animals relax and even fall asleep. Our cat care clinic in Washington does not recommend sedation before acupuncture treatment as it may interfere with the desired effects.
Evaluation and Treatment
Traditional Chinese medicine views each animal as a unique energetic being, not a catalog of symptoms. The health of an animal is considered a landscape, with good health being a beautiful and harmonious landscape and poor health being ugly and disrupted.
Before therapy can begin, a Chinese diagnosis is made. This is accomplished through a systematic process of evaluating a patient by observing, touching, listening, and inquiring. The resulting Chinese diagnosis is the basis for planning or prescribing therapy. A simple acupuncture point or group of points is selected to correct an animal’s specific energetic excesses or deficiencies.
The acupuncture needle acts like an opener or closer of doors – similar to a lock on a waterway. The needle summons or permits energy from one pathway to another. Acupuncture intends to correct energetic disturbances and allows the body to govern and regulate itself in a healthy manner. The animal will then heal itself by naturally correcting what is fundamentally wrong.
Once the acupuncture prescription or group or points is chosen, therapy can begin. There are many ways to stimulate or depress acupuncture points, including sterile needles, pressure, laser light, solution injections, low voltage electricity, or implantation of gold or silver beads. The most commonly used technique is the use of thin, sterile, Chinese needles.
How Many Treatments are Needed?
The treatments necessary depends on the nature, severity, and duration of the condition. Each animal will heal at different rates and tolerate the therapy performed at our cat-friendly clinic differently. Treatments can last from 2 to 30 minutes in a single session. While one session at our cat care clinic in Washington may resolve an acute condition, chronic conditions may need anywhere from 3 to 10 treatments. Some degenerative conditions may require maintenance treatments overtime as well.
Acupuncture can be used to treat the following conditions:
Musculoskeletal problems - Arthritis, hip dysplasia, disk problem, geriatric weakness
Neurologic problems - Nerve paralysis, seizures
Gastrointestinal disorders - Inflammatory bowel disease, chronic constipation, vomiting, diarrhea
Respiratory problems - Asthma, chronic upper respiratory infection
Other chronic conditions - Renal insufficiency, oral inflammation, LUTD, hyperthyroidism, behavioral problems, skin problems
If you would like to download a copy of the acupuncture brochure,
please click here: CCAA Brochure
Sources: Schoen, Allen M., Veterinary Acupuncture, 2001, Mosby Xie, Huisheng, FAQ for Veterinary Acupuncture, Chi Institute Herbsmith, Inc, Understanding Canine Acupuncture, 2009.
Dr. Novick graduated from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2008 and received her Master of Public Health from the same school in 2011. She completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society’s (IVAS) Basic Veterinary Acupuncture course in 2012 and completed the IVAS requirements for veterinary acupuncture certification in August 2014.