Veterinary Medical Acupuncture
Dr. Amy Jundt completed intensive continuing education coursework to become certified in Veterinary Medical Acupuncture through the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University. We are committed to continuing education as veterinarians and providing you, our clients, with the most truly integrative approach to modern, quality veterinary medicine possible. We are excited and proud to offer acupuncture for pets!
What is it?
Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body through the insertion and gentle manipulation of very fine sterile needles. Medical Acupuncture is practiced at the intersection of ancient Chinese tradition and modern neuroscience, giving us a treatment modality that is extremely powerful and complementary to other therapies.
Does it hurt?
Because we use extremely fine needles, they cause minimal to no pain and are generally well tolerated by most patients. The most important part of the first visit is to ensure that your pet is comfortable and not anxious. We do treatments in our comfort room on a soft pad. The room is very quiet and calm, nutritious treats are given where appropriate, and you will stay with your pet for the entire visit. We never force treatment on a patient. The goal is that they enjoy their visits so much that not only are they relaxed, but actually excited to come for their treatment.
So how does it work?
The basis of medical acupuncture is research, anatomy, and physiology. We know that acupuncture causes the release of intrinsic opioid peptides (morphine-like compounds found naturally in the body), as well as endorphins. It has widespread effects: locally by increasing blood and lymph flow, systemically by modulating traffic in the nerves, brain, and spinal cord, and by providing balance between the sympathetic (stimulatory response) and parasympathetic (rest response) nervous systems.
What conditions are treated with acupuncture?
Most often in small animals it is used to treat pain: muscle spasm/pain, back pain, neck pain, and arthritis to name a few. Other indications for acupuncture are as follows: incontinence, post-operative recovery, kidney disease, nausea/decreased appetite, gastrointestinal problems such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, diarrhea, constipation, and it can be a great supportive therapy for animals undergoing chemotherapy as well as during anesthesia for painful procedures like tooth extractions.
What can I expect?
On the first visit, Dr. Jundt will review your pet's medical history and perform a thorough physical examination, including a musculoskeletal and neurologic assessment. Using this information Dr. Jundt will work with you to formulate an individualized treatment plan for your pet. Please allow 60 minutes for this first consultation. Each subsequent visit will start with a muscle exam and evaluation for areas of pain and tenderness. Since the most important thing is that this be a positive experience for your pet, we give treat rewards with your permission, and most importantly a ton of love and praise.
Sterile, single use needles will be used for treatment. In addition to being very thin, these needles are quite flexible which allows them to move with your pet should he/she change position during treatment. The needles are placed gently and will be left in place for 10-15 minutes. Occasionally during this time Dr. Jundt may manipulate them (by slightly rotating them) to achieve continued activation of the nerves at these points. During this time we continue with the love and treats, of course!
How often will my pet need treatment?
Typically, we do twice weekly treatments in the beginning, and then taper the frequency as appropriate to each case. While this does depend on the condition being treated, it is more based on their individual response to treatment. This may be once weekly, once per month or two, or simply as needed.
Does acupuncture always help?
Not always. Like any treatment modality, we expect a few patients to be robust responders, and a few to be non-responders. The rest of the population will fall comfortably in the middle. In our experience, most (about 90%) will experience a beneficial response to acupuncture. While it is not a cure-all, or a replacement for regular veterinary care, it can be a powerful adjunctive therapy in many conditions and can often reduce dependency on more invasive or side effect prone treatments.
What are the side effects?
When acupuncture is performed by a certified Veterinary professional, it is extremely safe. Side effects are rare but can occur. You may notice your pet is more sleepy/lethargic after treatment, or they may seem more stiff for 24-48h hours after treatment.
If you have any questions or want to talk about the possible benefits of veterinary medical acupuncture for your pet, please call me or email me anytime! We are excited to be able to offer this treatment option for our patients and we love to talk about it with clients.