Alternative Medicine

Acupuncture Information

At Florence Animal Hospital, we know that there are many ways to help your pet beyond modern medicine. Learn more about how acupuncture can benefit your pet below.
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Helpful Information

Pet Acupuncture in Omaha

Acupuncture is a practice of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine that has been used for animals and humans for thousands of years. Acupuncture involves inserting small thin sterile needles into specific acupuncture points on the body to cause a therapeutic effect. This practice can be used to treat many different conditions and ailments in our pets –large and small.

What conditions does acupuncture treat?

Acupuncture has been used effectively to treat many different conditions. It is most commonly used for the following conditions.

  • Musculoskeletal conditions: general pain, muscle injuries, back pain, osteoarthritis, degenerative joint disease, and other orthopedic injuries.
  • Neurological diseases: intervertebral disc disease, seizures, laryngeal hemiplegia, and nerve paralysis.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders: diarrhea, vomiting, ulcers, and constipation.
  • Quality of life, cancer, and hospice care.
  • Chronic diseases: skin conditions, asthma, cough, internal organ diseases (kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease), and more!
How does it work?
Acupuncture is a very safe medical treatment when performed by a qualified practitioner. The needles are inserted in a specific place called an acupoint, which are located on channels or meridians that run along the body. Modern research tells us that located at these acupoints are a high density of free nerve endings, mast cells, small blood, and lymphatic vessels. When the acupoint is stimulated with the needle, it causes a release of chemicals such as beta-endorphins, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that influence the brain. This can result in pain relief as well as other systemic effects in the body.

Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes a life force or vital energy called Qi (pronounced “chee”). In health, Qi flows through the body in balance, however, this balance can be disrupted in disease or pain. Pain is a sort of blockage in the flow of Qi. Acupuncture at certain acupoints can help unblock Qi and help the body heal and restore normal balance.

Types of acupuncture treatments

There are several different types of acupuncture that can be used in pets.

  • Dry needle technique –Involves the use of very small sterile needles inserted at acupoints.
  • Electro-acupuncture –Involves the use of the same needles as dry needling but includes electrical stimulation (similar to a tens unit), to provide a deeper response.
  • Aqua-acupuncture –Involves injecting a sterile liquid (often Vitamin B or the animal’s own blood) into an acupuncture point to provide a longer-lasting effect.
  • Hemo-acupuncture –Involves bleeding a small amount of blood from a specific point.
  • Laser-acupuncture –Involves using a non-surgical laser to stimulate an acupoint. This is useful in animals who don’t tolerate needles well.
How many treatments are needed?
As in much of medicine, it depends. Each acupuncture treatment plan is tailored to the specific patient and their specific condition(s). Treatments can be done daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, or as needed. Sometimes results are seen immediately, while other times (as in chronic conditions) it can take several treatments to notice a difference. We often recommend allowing 3-5 treatments before noticing a major effect
What does a typical visit look like?

At Florence Animal Hospital, a typical acupuncture visit starts with the doctor asking a series of questions or having the client fill out an intake form, and then the doctor will perform an exam. This helps with creating the treatment plan. The first acupuncture visit will be scheduled for about an hour. The doctor will place the needles and start the necessary acupuncture treatment. The needles are typically in for 10-30 minutes while the animal relaxes in a quiet room. Follow-up visits are scheduled for 20–30-minute treatments. In some cases, there will be additional treatments as needed.

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