Contemporary Veterinary Acupuncture
Today in the United States, practicing veterinarians utilize acupuncture in a wide variety of clinical settings. Some accept only cases referred by other veterinarians, i.e. equine lameness. Most utilize acupuncture as a part of their otherwise day to day practice - both traditional and holistic. This includes not only small animals (dogs and cats), but horses, cattle, sheep, swine, and avian species.
Except for a few select treatments, a considerable ammount of specialized knowledge is required in order to practice veterinary acupuncture satisfactorily. Of the approximately 300 veterinary acupuncturists in the U.S. today, half have received post graduate training and have been certified by the International Society of Veterinary Acupuncturists. Certification requires a sound understanding of the principles and practice of TCM as well as integration of current scientific theories with knowledge of acupuncture into Western clinical veterinary medicine. The IVAS emphasizes the importance of acupuncturists making both a Western and TCM diagnosis for each patient.
There are several different approaches and methodologies for treating animals with acupuncture. instead of inserting fine sterile metallic needles into acupuncture points, there are occasions where heat may be more appropriate
(moxibustion). Manual pressure (acupressure), low voltage electricity (electroacupuncture) and sound (sonopuncture) also have particular applications. In some circumstances, very small sterile gold or silver beads are surgically implanted in the precise site of acupuncture points. The use of light as in the case of lasers can be very effective. ID the case of a small volume of a sterile liquid, such as vitamin B12 is infected into acupuncture points, particularly when a period of prolonged stimulation is indicated.
Simply stated, veterinary acupuncture today involves combining the principles of classical Chinese medicine into a western scientific and clinical background. This integration process has had numerous positive consequences including the stimulation of a dynamic and rapidly progressing clinical discipline. It has contributed to the depth and perspective of the veterinary profession as a whole as well as producing alternatives and choices available to the animal owning public.
Most states in the U.S. require a license to practice veterinary medicine as a prerequisite to practicing veterinary acupuncture. Some states require further evidence of post graduate training and/or certification.
Some Recent Innovations
During recent decades, two of the more significant applications of acupuncture in animals are auricular therapy, and EAV. Auricular therapy involves the use of a rather extensive pattern of acupuncture points located specifically on animal's ears. These auricular points are used for both diagnosis and treatment. For example, in cattle, disorders involving the rumen, small intestines, liver, uterus, ovaries, and udder can be treated by using auricular points.
EAV or Electroacupuncture According to Voll was developed by Rhinhart Voll, a German physician. This very useful clinical tool is based on the knowledge that the electrical properties of acupuncture points change in rather predictable ways in response to various disease conditions. By measuring the electrical skin resistance over acupuncture points, several kinds of useful information can be obtained concerning the condition and function of each individual acupuncture meridian - information that quantifies, qualifies, and localizes a patient's energetic disturbances.
This methodology can also provide information which can strongly suggest what specific substanccs (environmental, medicinal, and nutritional) offend or benefit the body's effort to restore harmony and balance to its acupuncture meridian system. In effect, it permits the veterinarian to ask an animal's body what substances it will accept as being capable of helping it become well.
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