Acupuncture is one of the oldest medical procedures in recorded history. While animal acupuncture is slightly less ancient, the original theories of traditional Chinese medicine formed the basis of animal medical acupuncture.

In traditional Chinese medicine, “Chi” ran through channels (called meridians), which can be thought of as rivers of energy. These rivers can become blocked like a dam, and needling releases the obstruction. In modern scientific terms, needling specific points leads to the release of chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These chemical mediators can change the perception of pain and lead to release of other chemical mediators that influence organ function. This improved “chemical communication” stimulates healing. There are many approaches to treatment, but veterinarians are the only acupuncture professionals trained to understand both the traditional Oriental as well as the scientific aspects of acupuncture therapy in animals.

Acupuncture treatments are usually well tolerated by animals. Acupuncture needles are very thin, solid, sterile needles. Needle insertion is usually not painful, however, certain points can be sensitive. Multiple acupuncture needles will be placed, depending on the point prescription. Some animals will become very quiet and even fall asleep during a treatment. Treatment time will vary depending on the animal, the acupuncture technique and the condition being treated. Acupuncture effects are cumulative so several treatments are usually necessary for chronic medical conditions, then tapered down as needed for maintenance. Acute conditions usually need fewer treatments.

In people and animals, there is good evidence that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary, skin, reproductive, neurologic, behavioral disorders, as well as for stress. In cancer patients, acupuncture can be extremely effective for the alleviation of pain, fatigue, treatment of gastrointestinal disorders such as nausea, vomiting, inappetence, and improving the quality of life.

Dr Ogunyemi has undergone extensive training in medical acupuncture at the CuraCore Integrative Medicine Center, the only comprehensive scientific acupuncture training available for veterinarians. Dr Ogunyemi is a Certified Veterinary Medical Acupuncturist.