Acupuncture is by definition the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body to achieve therapy and homeostasis (balance). It is based on a holistic concept of diagnosis and treatment and the acknowledgement of the body's ability to repair itself.
What conditions can Acupuncture treat?
Acupuncture may be used either as a sole treatment or as an adjunct to conventional western management of a variety of conditions:
- Musculoskeletal, Dermatologic (skin), Urinary,
- Respiratory, Cardiovascular (heart), Neurologic,
- Gastrointestinal, Behavioural, Reproductive,
- Ocular (eye), Aural (ear) and Geriatric patients.
The most common use of Veterinary Acupuncture Treatment is for Musculoskeletal conditions, which accounts for almost 80% of all the Veterinary Acupuncture treatments. Examples include sprains, strains, arthritis, IVDD (intervertebral disc disease), back pain and stiffness and trauma.
Does Acupuncture hurt?
The needles used for acupuncture have a rounded point that separates the skin and muscle fibres, this is less painful than the cutting action of a hypodermic needle, which is the normal needle used for injections. The skin is the most sensitive part and once through the skin, there is no pain in putting the needle deeper into the muscle. It causes only a slight pricking sensation when needling acupuncture points. Once inserted, the needle is stimulated and the patient feels the sensation of "De Qi" This has been described as soreness, numbness, heaviness and distension around the needle. It is felt by the practitioner as "needle grab."
What can be expected after an Acupuncture treatment?
There are three common outcomes:
- No obvious change in the symptoms, but animal may be "brighter".
- Symptoms improve for 24- 48 hours, then slowly worsen.
- Symptoms get worse for 12 - 24 hours, then improve rapidly.
What happens now?
The vet who thought Acupuncture treatment would benefit your pet will discuss your case with Dr Kang before you have an initial Acupuncture consultation with him, so that he is up to speed with your pet’s individual problem. At the Acupuncture consultation, Dr Kang will have a full and complete Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) examination and make a diagnosis from a TCM perspective. However further western diagnostic test options such as blood tests, Xray, Myelogram, CT and MRI may be required. Any such options will be fully explained to ensure you are able to make an informed decision about your pet’s care. This initial consultation will last around 30 to 45 minutes, and will therefore cost more than a standard consult fee (ask at reception for details on cost).
Dr Kang will then talk to the referring vet again about your pet, so that they are also aware of what is happening. This ensures a consistent approach to your pet by all vets involved in their treatment.
How many Acupuncture treatments are normally required?
The number of treatments and the treatment interval depends on the individual patient. Acute conditions may be resolved with 1-3 treatments used daily. Chronic conditions may require 4-10 treatments at weekly intervals. Conditions present for months will require fewer treatments than a condition present for years. With chronic conditions such as arthritis, the patient may not return to normal but reach a plateau of improvement and then gradually deteriorate unless periodic repeat treatments are given.
The aim is always to provide the best of care to your pet. If you have any specific questions about your pet’s care, please do not hesitate to ask any of our staff.
Dr Seung Ki Kang
Seung was born in South Korea and graduated at Massey University in New Zealand. He came to Australia in 2008 and joined Vets4Pets in 2009. He is currently completing Master of Veterinary Medicine.
His professional interests include canine and feline medicine and surgery, in particular canine and feline dermatology and veterinary acupuncture.
How to Make an Appointment
We encourage owners to make appointments in advance by telephone or by visiting Vets4Pets in person. When making your appointment please let us know the name of your favourite vet, and we will do our best to make them available for you.
The initial Acupuncture consultation will take about 30-45 minutes with the owner, then the patient will be admitted into the clinic and the treatment will be carried out. The subsequent Acupuncture consultations will take about 15-30minutes, again the patient will be admitted and the treatment will be performed.