VCA Canada Birchmount Animal Hospital is proud to offer Veterinary Acupuncture.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, life force (ch'i) flows through the body via 14 invisible channels known as meridians, regulating all physical and mental processes. The meridians run deep within the body's tissues and organs, surfacing at roughly 360 places identified as acupuncture points. Research has shown that these meridians also strongly correlate to neurologic pathways - stimulating these points is said to balance and restore the flow of ch'i as well as stimulating local nerve channels. Acupuncture point stimulation has been shown to modulate signals within the nervous system and cause endorphin release. 

Acupuncture can be used to promote tissue healing processes, pain relief, regulate gastrointestinal mobility, reduce swelling and fevers, hormone control, and reproductive regulation.

Ask your veterinarian if acupuncture is right for your pet! 

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is medical acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body via the insertion and manipulation of very fine, sterile needles in the superficial tissues of the body. Each treatment is tailored to your pet's unique needs based on a thorough medical history review, careful physical examination, and assessment of your pets neurological and musculoskeletal systems. Our practice builds on the tradition of ancient Chinese acupuncturists by incorporating modern scientific understandings of anatomy and neuroscience to yield a method of treatment that is powerful, safe, and complementary to other therapeutic modalities.

How does acupuncture work?

Acupuncture enhances the flow of blood and lymph, relieves myofascial (muscle and connective tissue) trigger points, modulates conduction in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves and causes the release of anti-pain and anti-inflammatory molecules, and improves the balance between the sympathetic (stress response) and parasympathetic (rest response) nervous systems.

When can acupuncture be used?

 Acupuncture is frequently used for the management of:

  1. Acute or chronic pain (from injury, surgery, or other disease processes)
  2. Arthritis
  3. Hip dysplasia
  4. Cruciate ligament injury
  5. Back and neck pain/lameness
  6. Rehabilitation and physical therapy (i.e., post-operative and post-trauma recovery)
  7. Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, nausea, and vomiting)
  8. Skin problems (lick granulomas, wound healing)
  9. Urinary tract disorders (night-time leaking, incontinence, kidney disease, feline lower urinary tract disease)
  10. Behavioral issues (general anxiety, separation anxiety, storm phobias, obsessive/compulsive disorders, etc.)
  11. Respiratory disorders (asthma, sinusitis)

Are there any side effects? 
Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years as a safe treatment for a wide range of diverse health problems in people and pets. In the hands of a qualified and appropriately trained medical professional, acupuncture is incredibly safe. On occasion, some patient's symptoms may seem a little worse the day after treatment but usually resolve in a day or two.

Is acupuncture painful?

Acupuncture patients rarely experience pain or discomfort. For most pets, needle insertion is virtually painless. Placement is fast, and a small gauge needle (similar to the thickness of a human hair) is used. Due to the relaxation effect of acupuncture, some pets may even fall asleep during treatment.  

Will my pet need to be sedated?
We generally do not sedate pets for acupuncture. Your pet can stand or lie down in a position that is most comfortable for them. 

What can I expect at an acupuncture appointment? 
A first-time acupuncture appointment is usually one hour long and includes a number of steps to create a successful acupuncture plan for your pet. First, you and your veterinarian will have a detailed discussion about your pet’s current healthcare needs and medical history; followed by a complete physical examination and careful evaluation of your pet's musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Finally, the doctor will design a treatment plan specific to your pet's needs and proceed with treatment. During subsequent appointments, some parts of the initial visit may be repeated, but usually, follow-up treatments are booked for 20 - 45 minutes of time.

How many treatments will my pet need?
On average, patients receive 3 - 5 treatments,1 - 2 weeks apart, however, your pet’s treatment plan will be determined by their specific needs. More visits may be necessary for chronic conditions.

How soon will I see improvement?
Some patients see improvement with the first treatment, others require several visits for improvements to be seen. Visible improvements are dependent on the condition that is being treated.

To learn more about acupuncture and how it can help improve your pet's health, please contact the hospital or schedule an appointment with Dr. Tong.

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