Your family's pet specialist.
South Coast Veterinary Hospital also provides services with veterinary acupuncture and herbal medicine.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture may be defined as the insertion of needles into specific points on the body to cause a desired healing effect. This technique has been used in veterinary practice in China for at least 3,000 years to treat many ailments. The Chinese also use acupuncture as preventive medicine against such problems as founder and colic in horses. Acupuncture is used all over the world, either by itself or in conjuncture with Western medicine, to treat a wide variety of maladies in every species of domestic animals and in exotic animals. Modern veterinary acupuncturists use solid needles, hypodermic needles, bleeding needles, electricity, heat, massage, and low power lasers to stimulate acupuncture points. Acupuncture is not a cure-all, but can work very well when indicated.
Benefits of acupuncture: Watch another video-2 on youtube.com
- Relieves pain
- Stimulates the body's natural defense systems
- Is effective for a wide range of problems, including chronic diseases
- Is an alternative option when harmful side effects from a drug are a concern
- Can be used for conditions unresponsive to medications
- Can be used when surgery is not a feasible option
- Usually produces a response within the first 2 sessions & often immediately
For which conditions is acupuncture indicated?
Acupuncture is indicated mainly for functional problems such as those that involve paralysis, noninfectious inflammation (such as allergies), and pain. For small animals, the following are some of the general conditions which may be treated with acupuncture:
- Musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, tendonitis, or vertebral disc pathology
- Auto-immune disease
- Skin problems, such as lick granulomas and allergic dermatitis
- Respiratory problems, such as asthma, rhinitis, chronic coughing, or pneumonia
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea or vomiting
- Neurological disorders, such as nystagmus, vestibular syndrome, torticollis, nondegenerative myelopathies, and seizure disorders
- Certain reproductive and endocrine disorders
- Urinary disorders including kidney failure, incontinence, and cystitis
- Emergency situations, such as cardiac or respiratory arrest
In addition, regular acupuncture treatments can treat minor sports injuries as they occur and help to keep muscles and tendons resistant to injury. If your animals are involved in any athletic endeavor, such as racing, jumping, or showing, acupuncture can help keep them in top physical condition.
Q: How does acupuncture work?
According to ancient Chinese medical philosophy, disease is the result of an imbalance of energy in the body. Acupuncture is believed to balance this energy and, thereby, assist the body to heal disease. In Western terms, acupuncture can assist the body in healing itself by affecting certain physiological changes. For example, acupuncture can stimulate nerves, increase blood circulation, and relieve muscle spasms, and cause the release of hormones, such as endorphins (one of the body's pain control chemicals) and cortisol (a natural steroid). Although many of acupuncture's physiological effects have been studied, many more are still unknown. Further research must be done to discover all of acupuncture's effects and its proper uses in veterinary medicine.
Q: Is acupuncture painful?
For small animals, the insertion of acupuncture needles is virtually painless. Once the needles are in place, there should be no pain. Most animals become very relaxed and may even become sleepy. Nevertheless, acupuncture treatment may cause some sensation, presumed to be those such as tingles, cramps, or numbness which can occur in humans and may be uncomfortable to some animals.
Q: Is acupuncture safe for animals?
Acupuncture is one of the safest forms of medical treatment when it is administered by a properly trained veterinarian. Although it is possible with acupuncture to physically damage the patient through improper needling of a few points, it is almost unheard of with a competent practitioner. Side effects of acupuncture are rare, but they do exist. An animal's condition may seem worse for up to 48 hours after a treatment. Other animals may become sleepy or lethargic for 24 hours after acupuncture. These effects are the indication that some physiological changes are developing, and they are most often followed by improvement in the animal's condition. The worst thing that may happen is nothing. That is, no change in the patient's status as a result of the acupuncture treatment.
Q: What to expect during a treatment ?
Acupuncture treatments are generally soothing to the animal. During a session, needles are inserted into specific places (acupuncture points) and are left in for 10 - 20 minutes. Most animals don't have any outward reactions to this and many get very sleepy or relaxed. In some cases Dr. Songuses electro-acupuncture to increase the stimulation to the needles with mild electrical stimulation. It may take multiple treatments to see the effects of acupuncture, and anyone interested in testing it's efficacy should commit to at least 3 - 4 sessions. Since treatments are often calming, it is normal for most patients to be sleepy for several hours after a session of acupuncture. Studies show that acupuncture works well in about 75% of patients.
Q: How long do acupuncture treatments last and how often are they given?
The length and frequency of acupuncture treatments depends on the condition of the patient and the method of stimulation that is used by the veterinary acupuncturist. Stimulation of an individual acupuncture point may take as little as 10 seconds or as much as 30 minutes. A simple acute problem, such as a sprain, may require only one treatment, whereas more severe or chronic ailments may need several or several dozen treatments.
There is no rigid set schedule for treatment intervals and this will vary with different conditions treated. Routinely we treat once weekly until results are observed (usually 2-6 weeks) then start increasing the time interval by double with each return visit until we find how long your pets' condition can go between treatments. The maximum intensity of treatments would be 2-3 times per week in acute severe conditions. On the average you can expect anywhere from 2 months to 4 months between treatments once results have been achieved. The severity of the condition and what the condition is will be determining factors. Animals undergoing athletic training can benefit from acupuncture as often as twice a week to once a month. The frequency depends on the intensity of the training and the condition of the athlete
Q: Who can perform the acupuncture on my pet?
Dr. Song is a certified veterinary acupuncturist (CVA) with many years of experience. Dr. Song uses the Chinese approach to acupuncture and has an interest in the holistic health and well-being of all pets. He is a member of the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture and holds a Certificate in Veterinary Acupuncture.
Q: Can I try ONLY acupuncture on my pet? Making Appointment?
Acupuncture is not a replacement for conventional medicine. Dr. Song uses acupuncture in conjunction with conventional medicine offered by your usual vet to maintain your pet's health and well-being. 2000 years ago, unfortunately, there was no x-ray, blood test, ultrasound, etc. They did not know what they were treating according to western veterinary medicine. We are living in the modern era, therefore we need to utilize those modalities for the best possible outcome for the pet. As we said it may take multiple treatments to see the effects of acupuncture, and anyone interested in testing it's efficacy should commit to at least 3 - 4 sessions. Dr. Song is currently seeing patients at South Coast Veterinary Hospital, Laguna Niguel, CA. To make an appointment, please call the South Coast Veterinary Hospital on: (949) 249-7777.