Veterinary acupuncture can be used to address a variety of conditions, from pain and lameness in equine athletes to gastrointestinal and behavioral issues in companion animals. Acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other therapies to improve results, or on its own as an alternative to conventional medicine. Acupuncture is often combined with other Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) therapies, such as herbal medicine, food therapy, exercise, and Tui-na (a specific type of massage).
Acunpuncture involves the use of thin, flexible, sterile needles in specific locations to stimulate the body to heal itself. These acupuncture points have a high density of free nerve endings, arterioles, lymphatic vessels, and mast cells.
During an acupuncture appointment, we will take a detailed history and perform a physical examination to reach a TCVM diagnosis. Once the needles are placed, the acupuncture treatment itself can take up to 30 minutes, depending on what we are treating and how well the patient tolerates the treatment. Most patients tolerate acupuncture very well and will often fall asleep during treatment – sedation may be used on highly sensitive patients, if necessary.
Acupuncture treatments may include electro acupuncture, which can be very beneficial for painful or neurologic conditions, and aqua acunpuncture, which is often very helpful in weak or geriatric patients.
Results are typically seen after 1 – 3 treatments, which are typically performed 1 – 2 weeks apart.
Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy
Veterinary Spinal Manipulative Therapy (VSMT), the veterinary equivalent of human chiropractic care, involves skilled motion palpation to detect hypomobile regions in the body. These hypomobilities can result from a variety of causes including muscle spasms, scarring, or masses. This can potentially lead to pain, decreased performance, and compromised health. VSMT also involves careful assessment of the nervous system and its function.
A VSMT practitioner will use specialized techniques in order to improve motion and function of the body. They may also recommend specific exercises or therapies that can be used at home to further benefit a patient.
For patient safety and optimal results, VSMT should only be performed by certified veterinarians, or by doctors of chiropractic that have obtained certification to practice on animals. Dr. Alderman obtained her certification in VSMT at The Healing Oasis Wellness Center. This training course focuses heavily on providing a thorough understanding of neuroanatomy and functional neurology, as well as providing extensive hands-on training in techniques for motion palpation and adjustment. Dr. Alderman’s training is focused on equine and canine techniques, but most species can benefit from VSMT.