Acupuncture is the insertion of sterile needles into precise points on the body to provide neurologic stimulation and a desired healing effect. Acupuncture emerged as a treatment for animals in the 1970s in the United States, but is presumed to have been used for hundreds of years in China in both people and animals.  Today, veterinary acupuncture is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjunction with Western therapies to complement treatment for a wide variety of medical problems in many different species of animal, both large and small.  Dr. Wallace provides acupuncture as a complement to traditional veterinary care.  Acupuncture may be indicated for functional problems such as paralysis, arthritis or vertebral disc pathology, hip dysplasia or hind limb weakness, non-infectious inflammation, pain, skin problems (such as lick granuloma), respiratory problems, gastrointestinal problems (such as diarrhea), and selected reproductive problems.  It can also be useful in athletic animals, such as performance horses and agility dogs, to keep them performing optimally.
 
Acupuncture Treatment and Safety
After an initial consultation about your pet’s condition as well as a physical exam, Dr. Wallace will insert small needles into the points, which for most animals is virtually painless.  The needles then remain in place for a length of time while your animal rests. While inserted, the needles are also painless although may cause a tingling sensation which may be uncomfortable for some pets. Most pets become very relaxed and may even sleep.
Acupuncture is one of the safest treatments in veterinary medicine when administered by a trained veterinarian. Side effects are rare, but may occur. Effects are usually indicative that physiological changes are happening, and are normally followed by an improvement in the pet’s condition.
The length and frequency of treatments depends upon the pet’s condition and the method of stimulation by the acupuncturist. Some points may be stimulated in seconds, others may take up to 20 minutes.  When multiple treatments are indicated, frequency will usually begin intensively and then taper off to achieve maximum effectiveness.  Frequency is normally 1-2 visits per week for the first 3-6 weeks, and may eventually taper off to once monthly and even to 2-4 visits per year for maintenance.  This varies with the animal and the condition or reason for treatment.
 
The Medical Acupuncture for Veterinarians course at Colorado State University focuses on a science and evidence-based approach to acupuncture.  Evidence-based guidance enables clients to make decisions based on concrete information regarding benefits and risks of treatment. 
 
What To Expect
For the initial appointment, you and your pet will both be present for evaluation and treatment. Please allow 60-75 minutes for this initial consultation. We will gather a complete history of your pet’s condition, and will ask many questions about her lifestyle. If you have medical records or x-rays from your veterinarian, please bring them with you to your appointment, as a diagnosis is recommended prior to treatment with acupuncture. Also please bring with you any medications and supplements/ natural remedies as we would like to assess how they may interact with acupuncture. After a complete physical exam, we will recommend treatment options, unless a referral or further work up is needed.
 
If we can help you to determine whether acupuncture can benefit your pet, or if you have questions about what to expect, please call us at 831-515-5657 or email granitecreekvet@gmail.com.