Dr. Donato palpates her happy Golden Retriever patient                                    Tovi, an Abyssinian cat relaxing during his
Gus for active acupuncture points along his spine                                               acupuncture treatment with Dr. Donato

Veterinary Acupuncture 
& Healing Arts™,

Veterinary Acupuncture Questions and Answers:

1.      Q:  What is Acupuncture and how does it work?

         A:  Acupuncture is a healing method first used by the ancient Chinese over 4000 years ago. Acupuncture ("acus" means needle and "pungare" means to pierce) is the insertion of needles into specific points on the body, which in turn produce certain effects. Each point is called an Acupuncture point and is located on a specific "channel" of the body. These channels appear to follow the pathways of the vast connective tissue network of the body. The ancients described "Qi" or vital energy flowing through the channels. This energy is most likely due to the biochemical-electrical energy created by water molecules that are fashioned in a liquid crystalline matrix in the collagen fibers that create the connective tissues. When the flow of this energy is disrupted or becomes unbalanced, disease can occur.   

        It has been discovered that there is a decreased electrical resistance and increased electrical conductivity at Acupuncture points.  Moreover, there is a high density of free nerve endings, arterioles, lymphatic vessels and mast cells (a type of white blood cell) found at Acupuncture points.  Thus, Acupuncture points have special qualities and are not just mere random areas on the body.  

        When the Acupuncture point is stimulated, there is a release of endorphins (the body's natural narcotics), cortisol (the body's natural steroid), histamine and other neurotransmitters and hormones.  These chemicals help decrease pain and muscle spasms, increase blood flow, stimulate nerves, and often promote a sense of calmness.

2.     Q:  Is Acupuncture painful? 

        A: Acupuncture is usually performed with very thin, sterile, stainless steel needles. The patient only feels the needle as it quickly passes through the skin. Once the needle is passed through the skin, the patient does not feel the needle per se. What the patient does feel is often a tingling, numbness or warm feeling. Most patients relax once the needles are in place and some will often fall asleep.

3.     Q: Is Acupuncture safe?

         A: Yes, Acupuncture is one of the safest therapies available to our animal friends when performed by a properly trained veterinarian. Serious side effects are rare.

4.     Q: What conditions respond to Acupuncture?

        A: Acupuncture is known to have a therapeutic effect for a wide variety of conditions. Acupuncture can be used for:

  • Musculoskeletal disorders such as arthritis, hip dysplasia, and muscle spasms.
  • Neurological disorders including seizures, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), "pinched" nerves, traumatic nerve injury and certain types of paralysis.
  • Urinary disorders such as incontinence, chronic urinary infections, and kidney disease (chronic and acute).
  • Respiratory disorders such as sinusitis, asthma and coughing.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders including vomiting, inflammatory bowel disease, liver disease, rectal prolapses and diarrhea.
  • Dermatological disorders such as allergic dermatitis and chronic skin disease.
  • Cardiovascular diseases which include valvular disease and cardiomyopathy.
  • Pre and post-surgically to manage pain and hasten healing.
  • Dr. Donato has used Acupuncture treatments to treat practically any ailment. She has also successfully treated patients for behavioral problems, and treats many cancer patients. Acupuncture helps these patients by modulating their immune system, providing pain relief, when needed, reducing side effects like decreased appetite, vomiting and diarrhea caused by the cancer itself or by necessary treatment methods. Cancer patients who receive Acupuncture treatment generally have a better quality of life and often can live longer than they would have without the treatments.

    5.     Q:  How often are treatment sessions and how long do they last?

            A:  Each patient is an individual, and therefore, the treatment protocol is tailored to the patient's needs.  Certain Acupuncture points may only need 10 seconds of stimulation, whereas others may need up to 30 minutes or more.  On the average, the needles are kept in 15 to 20 minutes.  In general, acute conditions need fewer treatments than chronic conditions.  Most patients are treated weekly for about five treatments in order to see a positive effect.  Some patients will show a positive response after the first treatment while others may need five full treatments (neurological and dermatological conditions respond slower and often need eight treatments) before showing any response.  If the patient ultimately does not show a positive response, then other therapies such as herbal medicine may be needed.  If the patient responds but is not fully healed, then the treatment sessions are continued but at less frequent intervals.  Many patients with chronic conditions can be tapered off to a few treatments per year.

    6.      Q:  Can Acupuncture be combined with conventional veterinary medicine?

             A:  Yes, Acupuncture provides another mode of treatment that can be used solely or in combination with Herbal Medicine (Western, Chinese, etc), Tui Na massage, chiropractic and/or conventional veterinary medicine. This can include conventional medical therapies, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and physical therapy. Often with integrative therapy, the patient can improve and heal quicker than they would have with one therapy alone.  Even if Acupuncture is used as a single therapy, it will usually improve the overall condition of the patient and his or her quality of life.





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