Stillwater  Veterinary  Clinic 


Phone: 406.328.4159

Fax: 406.328.4180


PO Box 575


557 N. Montana Ave.

Absarokee, MT

59001



Veterinary Medical Acupuncture: Frequently asked questions


WHAT IS MEDICAL ACUPUN​​CTURE?

Medical acupuncture is the stimulation of specific points on the body using very thin, sterile needles.   The insertion, and manual manipulation of the needles can be augmented by electrical stimulation (“E-stim”) or by the injection of certain vitaminsand/or drugs (“aqua-puncture”).  The points selected, as well as the number and type of needles depends on the individual animal and disease process. 


HOW DOES IT WORK?

Acupuncture points are selected based on a general physical exam, myofascial palpation, and any other diagnostics relevant to the animal’s condition.  Depending on a point’s location, they may act to enhance blood and lymphatic flow, release myofascial trigger points, modulate central and peripheral nervous system activity and decrease inflammation.  For example, electro-acupuncture may be used as part as treatment plan to help a dog with spinal cord disease regain sensation and movement in his limbs.  Acupuncture techniques may also be employed to relieve muscle pain and keep a barrel racing horse at full performance. 


WHAT KINDS OF THINGS CAN ACUPUNCTURE TREAT?

Acupuncture can be a valuable tool in treating a myriad of conditions, especially in the hands of a licensed veterinarian. Acupuncture may not always be used as sole therapy, and is often combined with other physical therapy modalities and/or western medical techniques to achieve the best result possible. 


Here is a list of some of the most common conditions for which acupuncture is used:
~Arthritis: including hip and elbow dysplasia and cruciate disease
~Neurologic disorders: nerve paralysis, spinal cord disease
~Post-operative or injury rehab: incorporated into recovery and rehabilitation plan
~Performance: maintaining optimal, pain-free performance for athletes


HOW DOES AN APPOINTMENT WORK?

Our acupuncture appointments are scheduled with Dr. Tierney Olsen Monday-Friday, with some Saturday availability.  The initial visit will start very much like any other veterinary exam, allowing the doctor to gather history and vital sign information on our animal, as well as evaluating any special conditions.  From there, a full myofascial palpation exam is performed in order to identify areas of soreness, trigger points or restriction.  From there, needles are placed in appropriate points, and typically stay in place 10-15 minutes depending on the condition and the patient.


DOES ACUPUNCTURE HURT?

Our goal is to make your animal’s acupuncture session as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.  Except in rare cases, sedation is not necessary, and most animals grow to truly enjoy their acupuncture.  Acupuncture needles do evoke some sensation, and first timers typically receive smaller, and fewer needles to allow the animal to acclimate to the process.


HOW LONG DO RESULTS LAST?

The effects of acupuncture and the duration of the results depend on the condition being treated.  That being said, many animals experience very positive results after an initial course of 2-3 treatments over a 2 week period with the need for follow-up visits depending on the disease.


SO, WHY NOT ACUPUNCTURE?

There are conditions for which acupuncture is not appropriate, or must be used very cautiously, including certain cancers and pregnancy.  Talk to one of our vets if you have concerns about your animal.  When performed by a licensed healthcare professional, acupuncture is incredibly safe, has no withdrawal requirements for food animals, does not interfere with drug testing requirements, has no drug interactions, and almost no side effects.  It can substantially decrease pain medication requirements, improve quality of life and performance. So, why not?