Acupuncture originated thousands of years ago and involves using tiny needles to stimulate different points on the body. The Chinese talk about Qi, (Chi) as an energy or life force that flows in our bodies. When Qi is in balance and flowing freely, we are healthy. When it is out of balance or blocked, we are sick and in pain. Needling acupuncture points can move the blocked energy and help the body heal itself.
I first took an interest in acupuncture when I was a pre-vet student. My mother surprised me with a trip to the East Coast, where I witnessed acupuncture being performed on horses by the renowned Dr. Joe Haines. Pain relief and mobility improvements were evident in minutes.
Hundreds of acupuncture points exist on all species and are associated with the nervous system. These points are usually near extensive neural terminals or a vascular network. When we stimulate these points it triggers the release of many chemicals including endorphins and neurotransmitters. There are points that are proven to stimulate blood cell production, lower fevers and balance the acid secretion in the stomach. Pain perception can also be altered due to the stimulation of nerve fibers. Thus the way the body perceives pain is reprogrammed.
The majority of my patients come to me for pain relief caused by arthritis and or back problems. Acupuncture can be helpful for just about any condition including heart disease, seizures, kidney problems, and sometimes even emotional and behavioral problems.
Often acupuncture can be an incredible tool in healthcare, however there are considerations. All acupuncture is not the same. Practitioners use different styles and philosophies in their application. Find one you like! It may take several treatments before significant progress is observed. Sometimes acupuncture can be used in conjunction with other effective treatments, including herbal remedies, medications or dietary supplements. A combination of treatments can have miraculous results.
The dark side of some people can be more evident on Halloween. I cannot think of a bigger coward than the person who hurts a defenseless animal. Never give up a black cat for adoption in the month before Halloween. Keep your pets indoors on Halloween if possible. Call the authorities if you hear, see or suspect any animal mistreatment.
If your dog has begun panting during the night, it could be a sign of discomfort or arthritic pain, especially in older dogs. Be sure he has a comfy mattress, water available and does not need to use the bathroom. If the panting continues, a trip to the veterinarian may be in order. Sometimes a mild pain medication can help Fido sleep well at night.
Danish born Dr. Anette Heaslet graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and has since been certified by the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society. A real pioneer of Integrative Veterinary Medicine, her philosophy is simple. “There is no alternative medicine, there is medicine that works and medicine that does not.”