How long does an Acupuncture treatment take?
The first acupuncture treatment takes about an hour, as a full medical history and physical exam of your pet are completed prior to performing the acupuncture. Subsequent treatments take about 30 to 40 minutes.
How soon will I see a response to Acupuncture?
Again, this will vary with the individual, but most animals will respond within the first three to four treatments. Chronic diseases generally take longer to improve than acute diseases. The general guideline is that if a patient hasn’t responded after the fourth treatment, a different therapy should be implemented.
How long will the response to Acupuncture last?
The effects of acupuncture are cumulative, so the initial response may last only hours or a few days. Later treatments result in much longer responses, up to several weeks or months. Again, this varies in individual animals depending on the severity of disease.
How often will my pet need Acupuncture treatments?
Pets generally receive acupuncture treatments weekly until improvement is seen. Then the treatments are stretched out to every other week, then every three weeks, and so on. Most pets end up on monthly maintenance therapy. For acute conditions, acupuncture may be discontinued once the symptoms are resolved.
Is Acupuncture safe?
Acupuncture is considered very safe, especially when compared with the side effects of most pharmaceuticals. However, there are a few potential complications:
- Infection at the site of needle placement. Because of the needles’ very small size, this is a very rare occurrence.
- Broken needles. Again, because the needles are flexible they tend to bend rather than break, but broken needles have been reported, especially in horses.
- Ingestion of a needle. The occasional patient will mistake a needle for food and eat it. Usually the needle passes without incident. However, we can also retrieve the needle if necessary.
- Worsening of symptoms. While acupuncture is supposed to make animals better, a treatment can occasionally make a patient’s symptoms worse. This is because the acupuncture treatment is opening blood flow and energy flow to an area that has been deprived for a period of time. The perception of pain increases in response to this new flow, but the effect is transient, usually only lasting 24 to 48 hours before improvement is noted.
Can I stop the medications my pet is currently taking?
Without a doubt, one of the goals of acupuncture is to minimize or discontinue use of potentially harmful drugs. However, you should never stop medications your pet is currently taking without consulting your veterinarian. Suddenly stopping medication can result in new, serious problems. You should discuss all medications and supplements with your regular veterinarian as well as with your veterinary acupuncturist. In many cases, only a combination of therapies, such as acupuncture, anti-inflammatory drugs, and rehabilitation will keep the patient comfortable.