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Dog Acupuncture

Dr. Anna LandryDog acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment modality that allows Dr. Anna, here at Metairie Small Animal Hospital, to address a variety of feline health issues and reduce pain in our canine patients. Dr. Anna Landry (pictured here on the far right) received her certification as a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist (CVA) in 2017 from the Chi Institute of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine located in Reddick, Florida. Here are some questions she's often asked by clients:

What Is Veterinary Acupuncture For Dogs?

Acupuncture is a component of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine that originated more than 2,000 years ago. In Eastern medicine, the practice of acupuncture is based on the theory that all living beings have an energy force called “Qi" that circulates along invisible lines known as “meridians” in the body. Each meridian is directly tied to a different organ system within the body. Wherever blockages develop that restrict the flow of energy, illness and disease begin to develop. By stimulating certain points on the meridians using thin needles, these energy blockages are cleared, the natural flow of energy is restored, and in this way the body is able to heal itself.

From the perspective of Western medicine, these same meridians trace points in the body that correspond with high concentrations of nerve endings that trigger the release of naturally occurring substances to alleviate pain and induce healing. Regardless of an individual's view of Western or Eastern medicine, perhaps the most important perspective is that of patients who have experienced improvements in quality of life after receiving acupuncture treatments.

How Can Acupuncture Help My Dog?

While acupuncture may not be appropriate for every dog or every situation, it can safely be used to treat dogs with a variety of health conditions, especially those suffering from pain or inflammation. Dogs with arthritis, digestive problems, kidney disease, hip dysplasia, epilepsy, asthma, and certain neurological disorders can all benefit from acupuncture.

How Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture targets specific areas of a dog’s body that contain bundles of nerves. This works to release pain-relieving hormones (endorphins) in the brain, stimulate nerve regeneration, and create the immune healing process in the body.

What Will An Acupuncture Session Be Like For My Dog?

Canine acupuncture sessions generally last between 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the dog’s particular needs. Thin, flexible gauge needles are inserted at points along the dog’s body. This is often then followed by connecting the needles to an electrical impulse machine that sends soothing impulses through the needles to stimulate the nerves and muscle tissue. Sometimes aquapuncture (vitamin B12) and hemoacupuncture (making the acupuncture points bleed) is also used. No anesthesia is required and the dog remains conscious during the entire process.

Dog AcupunctureWhere Are The Acupuncture Points On Dogs?

Dog acupuncture points are located on areas of the body where nerve endings and blood vessels come together. These can be found all along the musculo-skeletal system.

Is Dog Acupuncture Painful?

When performed properly, acupuncture is a painless experience. A tiny prick may be felt when needles are inserted, and sometimes a duller, deeper sensation when the needles hit the acupuncture points. Most dogs relax and actually seem to enjoy their acupuncture experience after needles are placed. In fact, many dogs are so relaxed during their sessions that they will drift off to sleep. Hemoacupuncture is mainly used at the tips of the ear, tail, or nail beds when there is an excess of heat. This is usually done at the end of a session and does not hurt when performed.

How Soon Will My Dog Experience Results?

It depends! We encourage patients to give acupuncture time. Some patients may not start to show improvement until 3-5 weeks after beginning sessions. Positive improvement is sometimes seen within a matter of hours or days, but some dogs may appear to feel worse for a day or two after treatment. Others may be lethargic or sleepy the day of a session, which is normal. These effects are an indication that physiological changes are occurring, and they are most often followed by an improvement in the dog’s condition, which differs depending on the condition being treated.

How Frequently Will My Dog Need A Veterinary Acupuncture Treatment?

The recommended veterinary acupuncture therapy frequency will depend on your dog’s condition. Dogs usually start out receiving one weekly session, but may require more than one a week. Once the problem is under control, the number and frequency of sessions typically tapers off to the minimum necessary to maintain quality of life.

Are there other types of Eastern medicine used to treat dogs?

In many cases, canine acupuncture is used in conjunction with traditional, Western medicine (i.e. medication, antibiotics and surgery) and other holistic approaches such as herbal supplements, massage, and dietary changes.

Schedule A Veterinary Appointment For Your Dog

At Metairie Small Animal Hospital, our veterinary staff is here to help ensure that you and your dog are able to enjoy a long, healthy and happy relationship and we believe that starts with compassionate health care. Make an appointment today to discuss how veterinary acupuncture may be able to improve the quality of life for your dog. One of our caring staff members is available to take your call now at (504) 290-0025.

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