Acupuncture in Utah, Salt Lake & Cache CountyFirst, what is veterinary acupuncture?

Acupuncture is the insert of needles into specific locations on the body to cause a desired healing effect.This technique has been used in China for over 3000 years to treat many ailments. It is also used as a preventative measure. Acupuncture is now used all over the world in conjunction with Western medicine to treat a wide variety of conditions. Modern veterinary acupuncture uses solid needles, hypodermic needles, electricity, heat, massage, and laser therapy to stimulate acupuncture points. Acupuncture is certainly not a cure all but can work very well when it is indicated.

For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?

Acupuncture is indicated for conditions mainly involving non-infectious inflammation such as allergies, musculoskeletal pain, and some neurologic cases involving paralysis. For large animals the following are some general conditions where acupuncture can be useful:

  1. Musculoskeletal problems; including sore backs or downer cow syndrome.
  2. Nervous system problems; such as facial nerve paralysis.
  3. Skin problems; such as allergic dermatitis
  4. Respiratory problems; such as inflammatory airway disease, or “Bleeders”
  5. Gastrointestinal problems, such as non-surgical colic.
  6. Selected reproductive disorders

Regular acupuncture treatment can help to treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. If your animal is involved in any athletic endeavor, such as reining, endurance, jumping, dressage, or showing, acupuncture can help keep them in top physical condition.

For our small animal friends, acupuncture can be useful for the following conditions:

  1. Musculoskeletal problems; such as arthritis pain, or vertebral disc disease.
  2. Skin problems; such as lick granulomas or allergies
  3. Respiratory problems; such as feline asthma
  4. Gastrointestinal problems; such as chronic diarrhea
  5. Selected reproductive problems.

Again, acupuncture can be used in small animals to help keep them healthy and active.

How does acupuncture work?

​In ancient China, disease was believed to be caused by an imbalance of energy within the body. Acupuncture is believed to help balance this energy assisting the body to come back to a state of health. In modern times, studies have shown that acupuncture helps the body by bringing about a series of physiologic changes. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, relieve muscle spasms, and cause a release of hormones including endorphins (the bodies natural pain control chemical) and cortisol (natural steroid). Further studies are necessary to show all of the benefits acupuncture, and all of its recommended uses in veterinary medicine.

Acupuncture in Utah, Salt Lake & Cache CountyIs acupuncture painful?

​For most procedures, insertion of needles appears to be well tolerated especially in small animals. Larger needles are used in large animals, and can cause more reaction as they pass through the skin. Most animals become very relaxed and even sleepy during an acupuncture treatment. In people, acupuncture treatments have been noted to cause some sensation including tingles, cramps, or numbness which could be uncomfortable to some animals.

How long do acupuncture treatments last and how often are they given?

​Duration of a single session and length of treatment course is dependent on the condition. A single treatment may last 10 seconds or 30 minutes depending on the condition of the animal and disease being treated. A simple strain may require only one treatment, while severe or chronic conditions may require several dozen treatments.

When multiple treatments are necessary they typically are started as frequently as possible (every few days to once a week) and tapered based on effect. Small animal patients will typically respond to acupuncture treatments within the first 4-6 treatments, horses respond much faster within the first 1-2 treatments. Once a maximum positive result is achieved, the treatments are tapered off so that the greatest amount of symptom free time elapses between them. Many animals with chronic conditions can taper off to 2-4 treatments per year.

Athletes can benefit from acupuncture treatments as often as twice a week to once a month, depending on intensity of training and the condition of the animal. I have found that animals in moderate training do well with 3-4 treatments a year.

How do you choose a veterinary acupuncturist?

There are two important criteria in choosing an acupuncturist for animals:

  1. The acupuncturist is a licensed veterinarian. This is important as we want a diagnosis of the condition before treatment is instituted.
  2. Your veterinary acupuncturist should have formal training in the practice of acupuncture for animals.

If you are interested in any other additional services, please call (801) 598-3110.