Acupuncture Can Play a Vital Role in Your Pet's Wellness

With the world's attention recently on the Olympic Games in Beijing, China, technology and the information age allows our fingers to be on the pulse of world events, including an in-depth look at China, old and new. The media has opened the doors and eyes of the U.S. public to The Great Wall of China and The Forbidden City where its culture and architecture are on display. The Western mindset now has full access to proven Eastern ancient traditions and beliefs in medicine and life.

Many medical communities, including veterinarians, have embraced Chinese principals of acupuncture, herbal medicine, aquapuncture, and electro-acupuncture as viable treatment options. Four thousand years of history, with a quarter of the world's population considering Chinese medicine their first choice in treatment, speaks volumes to the success of its practitioners, and the patients it has helped.

In traditional Chinese medicine the body is treated as a whole and disease is considered an imbalance in the flow of energy. Acupuncture therapy uses small stainless steel needles to correct the energy flow restoring health to the body. Acupuncture affects all of the major physiologic systems, primarily through the central nervous system, with effects on the hormonal, cardiovascular, and musculoskeletal systems. Acupuncture relieves pain and muscle spasms, increases circulation, stimulates nerves, and improves natural body defenses to restore balance to the body.

In small animal medicine, acupuncture is commonly used for musculoskeletal problems, such as hip dysplasia, arthritis, disk disease and sports injuries. Skin, digestive, and respiratory disease, along with weakened immune systems are also common arenas where acupuncture can play a vital role in your pet's wellness.

Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital has carefully developed an integrative medicine department with certified practitioners. Working together is Dr. Joanne Healey, D.V.M., C.V.A., offering acupuncture consultations and treatments and homeopathic care, and Dr. Tara Johnson, D.C., performing chiropractic evaluations and adjustments. Combining Eastern and Western medicine improves patient care and treatment success. The more "tools" we have in the "toolbox" allow greater diagnostic and treatment options for our four-legged friends.

By Joanne Healey, DVM