Acupuncture! It’s a treatment some of you may have tried for yourselves, but did you know it can be beneficial to your pets as well? Did you also know it’s a service Concord Animal Hospital offers?
Dr. Kathryn Carpenter is our resident acupuncturist. She graduated from Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in 2011, and earned her certification in veterinary acupuncture from Curacore Integrative Medicine and Education Center in Fort Collins, Colorado in 2017. She joined Concord Animal Hospital shortly after, and has been offering veterinary acupuncture ever since!
We recently sat down with Dr. Carpenter to discuss the basics of veterinary acupuncture: how it works, what it can do, and whether it might be a good fit for your pet. So without any further stalling, let’s get to the point about acupuncture!
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a non-surgical, non-pharmaceutical procedure that works by inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. These acupuncture points were originally believed to impact the flow of qi, the life essence at the focus of most traditional Chinese medicine. “These days,” Dr. Carpenter says, “we recognize acupuncture points as key points on the nervous system, such as points where nerves exit the spine or join with muscles. Targeting these areas can shift the nervous system into a relaxed state, known as a parasympathetic response.”
What are the benefits?
Lots! Acupuncture is most commonly used to treat musculoskeletal and neurological conditions: everything from arthritis to hip dysplasia to spinal cord disease. But there’s also evidence showing that acupuncture can aid in the treatment of other systemic diseases and inflammatory conditions, such as inflammatory bowel disease, asthma, skin allergies, and chronic rhinitis. If you think acupuncture might be a good fit for your pet, give us a call!
Will my pet really tolerate all those needles?
Yes! The needles used in acupuncture are much smaller than the needles used elsewhere in veterinary medicine. According to Dr. Carpenter, “pets don’t typically mind the needles even if they’re the sort to throw a fit when it comes time for vaccines or blood draws. Many pets enjoy the calming sensation the needles produce, and a few have even fallen asleep during the appointment.” When asked whether she has ever fallen asleep during an appointment, Dr. Carpenter declined to comment
I’m interested in acupuncture. How do I go about setting up an appointment?
New acupuncture patients should set up an initial one hour appointment with Dr. Carpenter. “During this appointment I’ll perform a myofascial palpation exam [a hands on exam that can help detect areas of pain, tenderness, weakness, and tension]. We’ll also discuss your pet’s medical history and set treatment goals: reducing pain, increasing mobility, or anything else you’re hoping to get out of acupuncture.” During the second half Dr. Carpenter will perform the first session of acupuncture and will help you to develop a treatment plan moving forward. Follow-up appointments are usually 30 minutes booked every week for the first one to two months, and will taper from here as needed.
I have more questions that aren’t answered here!
Well then, feel free to reach out! If you’ve got more questions about acupuncture, or are wondering whether it’s the right fit for your pet, give us a call! We’re always happy to chat, and Dr. Carpenter can’t wait to meet your pets!