Feb 24 2015

On Pins and Needles: Veterinary Acupuncture

By: Dr. Patricia Collins

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I have been practicing veterinary medicine for more than 20 years and I feel very fortunate to have chosen my profession, as I truly love what I do. With this level of experience comes the realization that sometimes there are only limited options for treatment. This can be due to the age of the patient or because the owners elect not to pursue invasive therapies due to a variety of concerns.

As soon as I explored Integrative Medicine, especially Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine and Acupuncture, I knew I had found a great new path to alternative diagnostic and treatment methods.
The history of Acupuncture dates back over 2000 years and ancient texts have been found describing acupuncture points in horses. The ancient Chinese discovered 361 acupoints in humans and 173 acupoints in animals.

Acupuncture is the stimulation of certain points on the body to achieve therapeutic effects. Acupuncture points are areas of low electrical resistance and high electrical conductivity. Furthermore the points are characterized by a high density of free nerve endings, arterioles, lymphatic vessels and mast cells. Acupuncture facilitates pain relief, stimulation of the nervous system and enhances immune regulation. The goal of acupuncture is to restore the free flow of vital energy through the body and allow balance and homeostasis to return.

A significant difference between Western Veterinary Medicine and Chinese Veterinary Medicine is that the latter focuses on the individual patient, not only the disease or disorder itself. With that I am able to address the individual disease pattern of the particular patient and therefore treat the whole patient regarding their specific needs. Western Medicine focuses more on control while Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine believes in balance. With Acupuncture the balance and health can be restored by helping the body regulate itself.

Chinese Veterinary Medicine can initially appear very foreign to Western Veterinary Medicine. It may seem that the principles are separated by a vast abyss. To combine both ways of thinking requires a challenging mental process. Both medical systems have areas that place them on opposite ends of the spectrum, however there is a huge area of common ground as well. The goal for both is to heal, prevent disease and promote health.
The integration of both schools of thought not only provides more options for my patients, but also creates better outcomes. I am very excited to have the opportunity to provide this new service and I am looking forward to seeing the positive results!


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