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Veterinary Acupuncture For Cats

Cat acupuncture is a safe and effective treatment modality that allows the veterinarians here at The Drake Center to address a variety of feline health issues and reduce pain in our feline patients.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture stimulates the nervous system by inserting very fine needles into very specific points on the body. From the perspective of Western medicine, feline acupuncture decreases inflammation by stimulating nerve centers;thus causing a cat’s body to release its own pain relieving substances.

Featured Quote:

I've had some patients that actually have been able to come off medications, like Rimadyl and Tramadol, and be managed with acupuncture alone.

Video Transcript:

Many people are familiar with acupuncture used in human medicine, but they don't realize that it has amazing applications in our animals too. Acupuncture is the art of science of placing small needles in specific areas to encourage the body's own healing and function. It's been around for 2,000 years. We like to use it coupled with either Chinese herbs or in conjunction with Western medications. Acupuncture can be a wonderful complementary therapy.

At an appointment, the pet is made comfortable on a mat on the exam room floor or table, and we use fine needles of varying lengths applied to specific points. Some pets show a little discomfort as the needles are inserted, but this feeling quickly dissipates, and most of our patients find the acupuncture treatments to be quite relaxing. Some pets even get really sleepy after their treatment. The usual visit runs about 30 minutes for the first appointment and then 10 minutes on subsequent appointments.

We use acupuncture specifically to help relieve pain and inflammation. The diseases I see it benefit amazingly are hip dysplasia and arthritis, knee arthritis, intervertebral disc disease, kidney disease in cats especially, and lumbosacral disease among others. There are pets with chronic disease. We generally like to use herbs with acupuncture, but these specific pain conditions, I've had some patients that actually have been able to come off medications, like Rimadyl and tramadol, and be managed with acupuncture alone.

You almost have to try it with your pet to really know if it's going to make a difference or not, but in those that it has success, it can be pretty remarkable. We generally will recommend a treatment a week for three weeks to assess the pet's response, and then decide on a maintenance plan from there.

If it's an acute condition, sometimes one treatment is needed. If it's a chronic condition, then it could be a dozen treatments that are needed. It really just depends on what that pet's being seen for, but a lot of the clients find it very relaxing and beneficial for their pets. Anything we can do to help reduce medication use long term is always a benefit.

Eastern medicine describes the practice of acupuncture as stimulating Chi meridians and removing blockages so that energy can move freely through the body. However, perhaps the most important perspective is that of cat owners that consistently see improvement in their cat’s quality of life after receiving cat acupuncture treatments.

How Can Acupuncture Help My Cat?

Most cats tolerate acupuncture treatments very well. Acupuncture is able to effectively treat a variety of health issues that are common in the lives of cats. Often used in conjunction with Western methods of medical care ranging from diet recommendations to prescription medications to surgical procedures. Acupuncture directly addresses one of the most important and hardest to measure aspects of cat care - pain relief. Cats are incredibly adept at hiding pain. Instinctually cats downplay weaknesses. As humans, it is natural for us to talk about and seek solutions for our pain. Cats do not do this. Most cat owners overlook pain in their cats, because cats simply do not talk about it.

What Conditions Can Feline Acupuncture Treat?

It is important to understand that at The Drake Center our veterinarians use traditional methods of veterinary medicine to diagnose the condition of a feline patient. After our veterinary staff has performed any medical exams deemed necessary to reach an accurate diagnosis, acupuncture may be recommended treat conditions such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Arthritic conditions
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Gastrointestinal disease
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis in their spines, necks and lower limbs
  • Metabolic diseases such as kidney disease, thus helping to slow down the progression of the disease
  • Helping to increase an animal’s appetite which is important if they have kidney disease
  • Treating inflammatory bowel disease
  • Pain management, pain relief or muscle spasms

Where Are The Acupuncture Points For Cats?

Acupuncture points for cats exist throughout the musculo-skeletal system, along the spine, near all major joints and around the head. See the following chart for specific feline acupuncture locations: (Photo credit: http://ashland.oregon.localsguide.com/acupuncture-works)

What Will An Acupuncture Session Be Like For My Cat?

Most cats tolerate acupuncture sessions very well. Our goal is for cats to be comfortable throughout the session and cats often times fall asleep. The needles we use are very small and slide easily into the skin. Through training, our veterinarians have learned exactly how to administer acupuncture without stimulating any pain response. For some patients, it may be calming for the owner to stay with the cat. Once acupuncture needles have been inserted, they will remain in place for about 5-12 minutes depending upon the condition that is being treated. After enough time has passed, the needles are removed and the cat is free to go home.

Is Acupuncture Painful For My Cat?

No. Most cats tolerate acupuncture very well. Our veterinarians know how to administer acupuncture without stimulating any pain response. Cats often fall asleep during acupuncture sessions.

How Soon Will My Cat Experience Results?

Some cats will experience relief after their very first acupuncture session. It is very common that cat owners will report to us that their cats have returned home with a healthy appetite and seemingly rejuvenated physical abilities. However, when treating chronic conditions, it may take a number of consistent acupuncture treatments before significant progress can be easily seen.

Other Types Of Eastern Medical Practices Used To Treat Cats:

In addition to acupuncture, there are a few other eastern medical practices that are successfully used as an integrative approach to feline healthcare. Where acupuncture utilizes needles inserted into specific locations throughout the body, acupressure for cats is the practice of simply applying pressure at specific points on the body. Also, the use of herbs and food therapy are very common and beneficial in treating feline illnesses. Of course, as a cat owner, you know that cats can be finicky eaters, so food therapy may require some patience on the owner’s part and may not be plausible for some patients. For cats that are accepting of new foods, herbs and medicinal nutritional choices can make a world of difference.

How Frequently Will My Cat Need A Veterinary Acupuncture Treatment?

This depends entirely on the cat and the condition being treated. Some cats respond immediately, for others it takes a number of consistent cat acupuncture sessions for improvements to become noticeable. Prior to beginning a cat acupuncture treatment or series of treatments, one of our veterinarians will discuss their recommendation with you so that you have a complete picture of the treatment regimen that is being proposed. It is our job to accurately diagnose your cats medical condition and to make sure that you understand the prognosis and treatment recommendation. As always, we are here to help you understand what is in the best interests of your cat and to help you make an informed decision about how to proceed.

Schedule A Cat Acupuncture Session Today!



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