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Acupuncture may be an ancient art, but there is abundant modern science that demonstrates how it works. Acupuncture stimulates the body to release its own pain relieving chemicals, reduces inflammation, and balances the signals of the "fight or flight" system with the "rest and digest" system. The process involves insertion of very thin needles just under the skin in specific points to access the nervous system. The needles are left in place for about 10 minutes and then removed. Risks and side effects are rare and temporary and most dogs (and even cats!) accept the needle placement easily. Good candidates for acupuncture include dogs with neurologic injury, chronic pain/slowing down, recent injury, urinary or fecal incontinence problems, digestive issues or poor appetite, and performance/sporting animals looking to maximize their comfort and strength. Every patient will get a customized treatment plan based on the first evaluation, but many patients do best with weekly treatments for 2-4 weeks, then less frequent treatments for maintenance.
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